The SFS Center for Wildlife and Water Studies


In the shadow of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, lies Kenya. Grassy savannas, Rift Valley lakes, and mountain highlands provide habitats for an astounding diversity of flora and fauna, including the Big Five – lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo, and rhinos. The Maasai and other pastoralist tribal communities call this region home. Kenya’s famed national parks attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

Kenya’s biodiversity and traditional cultures are under threat. Ecosystem fragmentation and human development are taking their toll on wildlife populations and depleting the region’s natural resources. Our research here focuses on the impacts of these threats and explores conservation approaches that will benefit humans and wildlife alike.



Wildlife, Water, and Community

Spend your semester in the world-famous national parks and stunning landscapes of Kenya, studying the country’s diverse wildlife – from colossal elephants to the endangered black rhinoceros – and approaches to conservation. In the Great Rift Valley, climate change and natural resource availability are affecting Kenya’s ecosystems and those living in them. Research the root causes of these changes and how different conservation strategies can benefit both humans and wildlife.
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15 Weeks
18 Credits
Spring 2019

Jan 30 - May 10

In The Field

Fall 2019

Aug 29 - Dec 7


Spring 2020

Jan 27 - May 6


summer session I

Primates of the African Savanna

Spend your summer researching primate behavior and ecology in Kenya’s national parks and ranching communities. Observe different species such as baboons, vervet monkeys, and patas monkeys in the field, and collect data on their individual activities and patterns of social behavior – data which helps inform the efforts of local conservation managers and policymakers.
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04 Weeks
04 Credits
Summer 2019

Jun 5 - Jul 5


Life In The Field

The Center lies in the heart of Kenya’s Rift Valley, nestled between three world-famous national parks. The snow-capped peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro towers over miles of savanna, replete with a diversity of wildlife. Students and staff live on a sprawling, grassy campus made up of traditional thatched bandas (cabins) and a central chumba (main building), just down the road from the small town of Kimana.

  • Dorm living with 4-person bandas
  • Chumba contains classroom, computer lab, and study spaces
  • Kitchen and dining hall, on-site cooking staff
  • Outdoor porch with views of Mt. Kilimanjaro
  • One-mile running trail on campus
  • Volleyball, soccer, Frisbee, and fire pit
Click here to read stories from students, staff and faculty in the field

The Center is absolutely stunning and beyond exceeds my expectations! My banda (room) is spacious and comfortable. On a simple trip to the bathroom, I have a clear view of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The vervet monkeys and duikers glide between the trees surrounding the campus.

Makenna Kull
Clemson University


Research at the SFS Center for Wildlife and Water Studies focuses on one of Earth’s most essential natural resources – water. We explore how Kenya’s wildlife, ecosystems, and communities face environmental threats like climate change and resource depletion. Students and faculty engage with national park staff and conservation experts, Maasai and other local communities, NGOs, and landowners.

Our research focuses primarily on the following themes:

  • Human-wildlife conflicts
  • Natural resource management
  • Water quality and use
  • Climate change resilience
  • Community wildlife sanctuaries
  • National parks administration

Environmental Issues

Our Centers are strategically located in regions facing critical environmental issues. Students and faculty study these issues and collect data to help facilitate sustainable responses. In Kenya, we’re currently investigating the following issues:

Climate Change
Biodiversity Conservation
Land Use Change
Tourism Impacts
Natural Resource & Water Management
Sustainable Livelihoods
Learn More About the Issues


The Local Community

SFS is an active member of the Kimana community. Students have the opportunity to visit local markets and a neighboring boma (Maasai homestead), participate in traditional Maasai celebrations, take part in outreach and community service in local schools and villages, and join in local sports. SFS research data is made available to the local community, national parks and conservation areas, and the Kenyan government.

Meet Our Team

John Kioko Masila, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in Natural Resource Management
Meet Kioko

John Warui Kiringe, Ph.D.

Resident Lecturer in Wildlife Ecology
Meet Kiringe

Kendi Borona, Ph.D.

Resident Lecturer in Human Dimensions of Conservation
Meet Kendi

Becky Gottlieb

Student Affairs Manager
Meet Becky

Merceline Emali Owino

Program Assistant & Swahili Instructor
Meet Merceline

Moses Waema

Program Assistant
Meet Moses