The Conservancy

In the late 60s, the Swaleh Nguru family was involved in construction work on the Malindi-Garsen road. This provided an opportunity to enter in livestock trade in the area. The business expanded following a partnership between the family and a stock trader based in Witu through the purchasing of young immature steers and the fattening at the Witu Bujra farm. By the mid 70s, the stock trade was growing to such a magnitude that the family decided to look for a larger farm. In the late 70s, the family was approached by the owners of the Nairobi Ranching Company Limited who wanted to sell the company. An agreement was reached by the end of 1979 bringing the ranch to the family.

Over the years, the family suffered great losses of livestock (~11,000 head) due to diseases, in particular from tsetse flies, as well as banditry and marauding lions attacking bomas from time to time.

In 1987-89, research on tsetse flies was carried out with support from the European Commission and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), but no permanent solution was identified. In the early 90s, GTZ approached the family to setup a private settlement scheme on parts of the ranch. The project, being private, was rejected by the relevant Government department which, however, expressed interest in purchasing that land to settle people. At the request of that Government, the family sold the land at half of its estimated value. However, the settlement scheme did not take off. And no further development took place in the ranch.

The family was then looking at alternative uses for the ranch and realized that one of the best options is to give the land back to nature.