‘Gamewatchers Safaris pioneered the development of wildlife conservancies on land leased from local communities adjacent to the parks, starting with Selenkay Conservancy in the Amboseli eco-system and then moving on to a similar model in the Mara with Ol Kinyei, Olare Orok, Motorogi and Naboisho conservancies. This has expanded the area of wildlife habitat and offers a more exclusive safari experience while providing income and livelihoods for the communities which own the land.’
Jake firmly believes that the conservancies model will safeguard the future and biodiversity of the major reserves across Kenya.
Jake Grieves-Cook is a Kenyan citizen who grew up and went to school in Kenya followed by university in U.K. He has been involved in tourism and wildlife conservation in Kenya for over 40 years. He started his career in the Mara in 1972 at Keekorok Lodge and worked with the Block Hotels group for 10 years ultimately as Managing Director. Subsequently he was based for a period in UK as Marketing Director of Kuoni Travel before founding Tropical Places in 1987 which became the UK’s largest “direct-sell” longhaul tour operator.1989 he set up the Nairobi-based Gamewatchers Safaris, later returning to live in Kenya. He has been involved along with others in developing the conservancy concept which seeks to protect wildlife habitat in co-operation with local communities who are able to earn an income and gain opportunities for jobs from low-impact sustainable tourism.
Back then the ‘eco-camp’ was merely a twinkle in most tourists’ eye, but Jake knew it was the only way for the future). He thought ahead when he converted over-grazed pastures into wildlife sanctuaries, and when he partnered with the local Maasia communities in developing safari tourism (he continues to work with the Maasai to try to conserve the Mara and combat their land segregation). He thought ahead for the Kenya Wildlife Service when he sat on their board and championed efforts to preserve the land and protect the wildlife, and he continued to use that safari-tuned brain as chairman of the Kenya Tourism Board.Never resting on his laurels he is also the founder of the Eco Tourism Society of Kenya which continues to serve the nation and think ahead- as does Jake.
Jake has served in recent years as Chairman of the Ecotourism Society of Kenya, Chairman of the Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF), as a board member of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), as a trustee and Vice-Chairman of the EU/ Kenya Government Tourism Trust Fund (TTF), as a council member and Vice-Chairman of the East African Wildlife Society and over a six year period as Chairman of the Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) from 2004 to 2007 and again from 2008 to 2011.
Courtesy: The Good Safari Guide