Occupying an important wildlife-dispersal area northwest of Tarangire National Park, the privately run, 140-sq-km Manyara Ranch Conservancy is a critical cog in the ecosystem of Northern Tanzania's Maasai Steppe.
The conservancy began life as a colonial cattle ranch, which later fell into disuse. Thanks to the African Wildlife Foundation, which runs the conservancy, vegetation is recovering and wildlife is returning to the area.
Already there are fairly reliable year-round populations of elephants, lions (two small resident prides), leopards, hyenas (striped and spotted), giraffes, zebras and other herbivores. More than 300 bird species have also been recorded here.
True to the conservancy model, the project is not just about protecting wildlife: the AWF works closely with neighbouring Maasai communities to ensure that they receive some benefits from the wildlife that lives in their midst.