About Us

Eburru Rafiki (ER) is a focused initiative playing a pivotal role in the rejuvenation of the Eburru Forest State Reserve and the biodiversity within it. As a registered Community Based Organisation (CBO), we are a key member of the Eburru Community Forest Association (ECFA) and also regularly participate in the management of the forest as a member of the Eburru Forest Level Management Committee (EFLMC).


Eburru Rafiki board seat was by invitation of the Head of Conservancy Mau, Kenya Forest Service. ER is fully conversant with the key role that is played by the forest adjacent communities living along the forest border.


Eburru Forest has been fully fenced by Rhino Ark since 2015.

Our History

Located at the heart of Kenya’s lake-studded Rift Valley, Mt Eburru occupies a special place in African prehistory. The lakes created ideal habitats for humankind and even one of the defining periods of the New Stone Age – the Eburran – is named after the mountain.

Evidence of human activity, such as tools, burial sites, pottery and beads, has been found in the region over one million years to 35,000 years ago. Eburru’s inhabitants, based in caves and rock shelters, were living settled hunter-gather lives.

Around 3,000 years ago, when conditions were far drier than today, newcomers from Ethiopia with herds of cattle arrived, soon to be followed by others with goats and sheep. The arrivals, known as the Southern Cushites, would go on to dominate the Rift Valley for more than 1,000 years. Preliminary pastoralists, the newcomers cleared the landscape into open grassland and introduced food crops such as sorghum and finger millet.

Another wave of immigrants arrived 2,000 years ago, this time from South Sudan, the north-west. These were the Southern Nilote pastoralists, and through interaction with the population, are now collectively known as the Kalenjin.

The Maasai pastoralists arrived in the early 18th Century and displaced the resident Kalenjin, forcing them into settling instead in adjacent highlands areas west of the Rift. Maasai expansion was curtailed by the arrival of the first Europeans in the 19th Century. Livestock plagues followed – rinderpest and bovine pleuro-pneumonia – killing nearly 90 percent of the cattle in the region. Outbreaks of smallpox ravaged East Africa’s populations.

At the time of the arrival of the Europeans in the 1890’s, the land around Eburru was largely unsettled. Maasai communities used the lower slopes for grazing particularly in the dry weather as their cattle could always secure water from Lake Naivasha.

European settlers established large farms and ranches around Mt Eburru. After independence, most of the area’s European settler farmers left and many sold the farms to the Government. Other farms were subdivided under the land state-managed settler redistribution program.

Today, the people represent a variety of cultures living side by side on farmland. Communities from the Eastern Rift and Western Rift who worked on the original European farms stayed and bought land. Small Okiek communities still live on the Forest borders. They have developed a thriving bee-keeping enterprise in the forest. Their forest honey, from 400 well-dispersed beehives, is in much demand.