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3.0 Overview

This chapter discusses the methodology, the research design and data collection methods, sampling techniques, the target population, the validity and reliability of data, and how the data was analyzed.

3.1 Study Area

3.1.1 Map of the study area

Figure 3: map of the study area

3.1.2 Location

The Mara Triangle is situated within the Great Rift Valley in the southern part of Kenya. Measuring approximately 510sq. kilometers in size, this unfenced savannah grassland is roughly 180 miles southeast of Nairobi. The Mara Triangle is part of the larger Maasai Mara and is bounded by the Mara River on the east, Oloololo Escarpment to the west, and border with Tanzania to the south. It is famously known as the seventh wonder of the world for its wildebeest migration to and from the Serengeti Park southwards to Tanzania, and for its exceptional population of game and the annual migration of zebra.

3.1.3 Climate

The Triangle is located at an altitude of between 4,875 and 7,052 feet above sea level, giving it a damp climate and more moderate temperature than most of Kenya. Daytime temperatures run at a maximum of 85°F (30°C) and night temperatures can drop to around 60°F (15°C). Most rain falls between March and May and during the short rainy season in November and December. Between July and October, the weather is dry, the vegetation is lush and the daytime temperatures are pleasant, making it the best time to see the park's wildlife (Kenya Metrological Centers, 2010).

3.1.4 Topography

The reserve's topography is mainly open savannah (grassland) with clusters of acacia trees along the southwest area of the park below the escarpment slope. The Mara and Talek rivers grace the rolling plains of the reserve. Numerous seasonal rivers appear during the rainy season but dry out once the rains are gone. Thickets east of the Mara River are the largest remaining thickets in Maasai Mara. The riverine forests the only eco-zone with continuous stands of tall trees, originally extensive, but now mainly confined to the banks of the Mara and Talek rivers, due to fire and elephant encroachment (Kenya Metrological Center, 2010).

3.1.5. Management of the Reserve

In 1994, management of the Maasai Mara National Reserve was divided into the eastern side managed by the Narok County Council, and the northwestern sector (the Mara Triangle), then managed by the Trans Mara County Council. The Mara Triangle is 510 km2, representing about a third of the entire Reserve.

3.1.6 Access

By Road: The Maasai Mara Reserve is about 300 km (180 miles) from Nairobi and takes about 4-5 hours by road. The main routes are sealed, all-weather roads. By car you can enter the game reserve through these gates: Purungat and Oloololo Gate.

By air: two airstrips serve the Mara triangle –Serena and Kichwa tembo airstrips. It is accessible by flight from Nairobi Wilson Airport and from Samburu, Lewa Downs, or Mombasa. The aircraft will land on one of the small Mara airstrips, and from here, you need to be transferred by car to your particular lodge or camp.

3.1.7 Economic Background

Agriculture is main economic activity carried out in Narok County. Most of the residents are either livestock farmers or all grow the various crops on large scale or small scale depending on the size of land available for a particular activity. Some of the crops grown are wheat, maize, and barley, which are processed and used to make food products such as flour and beer. In addition, the economy of the region is greatly dependent on the earnings from the tourists visiting all year around. Since the most human population in the region is the Maasai tribesmen, who hardly bother or need economy to take care of them, the Maasai Mara reserve is self-sufficient.

3.1.8 Tourism Attractions/Activities


There are numerous wildlife which include the big five i.e. Elephant, Buffalo, lion, leopard, Rhinoceros. There are several antelopes, which include Thomson's and Grant's gazelles, Roan Antelope, Impalas, Topis and Coke's hartebeests. Large herds of zebra are found in the reserve. The plains are also home to the distinctive Maasai giraffe as well as the common giraffe. The large Roan antelope and the nocturnal bat-eared fox, rarely present elsewhere in Kenya, can be seen within the reserve borders. The Maasai Mara is a major research Centre for the spotted hyena. Additionally, over 450 species of birdlife have been identified in the park, including vultures, marabou storks, secretary birds, hornbills, crowned cranes, ostriches.

Wildebeest Migration

Over 1.5 million wildebeest, zebras and several species of antelope crossing the Mara is a big attraction in Kenya, which makes it an annual circular tour between the Serengeti in Tanzania and Maasai Mara in Kenya in search of greener pastures. The trek happens with a fair share of animal drama as the migrating herds attract the attention of hungry predators - the hyenas and lions that prey on the lame and sick animals along the way. The animals trek for four months (July-October) towards the Mara. The months of July and August are the best times to see what are truly the world's most spectacular wildebeest migration and the dramatic sights that occur during the mass crossing of the swollen Mara River.

Bird Watching

Little bee- eater Bird can be viewed in Maasai Mara Kenya for bird lovers and the Mara birds come in every color and size. More than 400 bird species have already been recorded, including birds of prey. You can enjoy a colorful view of birds such as vultures, ostriches, long-crested eagles, pygmy falcons, secretary birds, marabous, red-winged Schalow's turacos, white-tipped crests, Ross turacos, orange buffs, Pel's fishing owls, Wary guinea fowl, Jackson's bustards, black-bellied Hartlaubs bustards and many others.

Hot Air Balloon rides

Balloon Safari is available in Mara triangle for the adventurous tourist who wants a sky-high view of wildlife from the air. Hot air balloon rides and safaris are the best way to travel over the massive Park. Hot air balloon rides last approximately an hour and a half and often take place at dawn.

Cultural tours

The Maasai village tourism experiences have been developed for visitors at villages based on genuine cultural exchange. These villages provide the quality and scope of the interpretation of Maasai life provided to visitors to the village along with making the tours more participatory. There is cultural interaction for those tourists who are culture minded. The tourist can have a drink while being entertain by cultural dancers or visit the local cultural Manyattas where they practice ornament making and jewelry making. If lucky, you can participate in cultural ceremonies such as initiation ceremonies, crowning of the elders.

Curio shops

The Maasai sit aside the market stalls and show visitors how to carry out bead work the Maasai way. Also at the entrance gates to the reserve e.g. Sekenani gate, one can get an opportunity to purchase traditional Maasai souvenirs and art.

Community-based tourism projects

There are several community based tourism projects working in the Maasai Mara Ecosystem. Some of these were started by NGO’s, but now-a-days a lot of camps and lodges are working closely with the Maasai people on projects that benefit the Maasai directly.

3.2 Research Design

The study adopted a case study design in establishing contribution of a tourism development in Mara Triangle to community livelihoods. This is because a case study focuses on a small number of cases that are expected to provide insight into a causal relationship across a larger population of cases. The system is structured with clearly stated questions to investigate the area of study

3.3.Target Population

A population is the entire group of persons who have at least one thing in common (Kombo & Tromp, 2006). The study targeted approximately 300 local communities living adjacent to Mara Triangle. (Narok County Management Plan 2014).  They were selected because of their involvement directly and indirectly in tourism activities in Mara Triangle; hence, they increased the research reliability and credibility.

3.4 Sampling Procedures and Sample Selection

According to Orodho & Kombo (2002), sampling is the procedure a researcher uses to gather people to study. It is the process of selecting a number of individuals from a population such that the selected group contains elements representative of the characteristics found in the entire group. The study used simple random sampling technique to identify the respondents for this study. Simple random sampling was used to avoid biasness and to give every individual to have an equal chance to participate in the study.

3.4.1 Sample Size

Since it was not possible to collect data from all the local community in Mara Triangle an appropriate sample size was determined. According to Schaller (1992), large sample size enables a researcher to draw conclusions that are more accurate and make more accurate predictions. Mugenda & Mugenda (2003) stated that if the target population is less than 10,000 the required sample size will be smaller. In this case the final sample was calculated using the following formula:

Where nf stand for the desired sample size (when the population is less than 10,000)

n stand for the desired sample size

N stand for the estimate of the population size

Estimated population size of people living adjacent to Mara Triangle = 300 (Narok County Management Plan 2014)

Therefore the final sample = 384/ (1+384/300)   = 100

Thus, 100 respondents comprising of 51 males and 49 females were randomly selected and interviewed in the study.

3.5. Data Collection Procedures

Both the secondary and primary sources were used in data collection for the study. Secondary data collection involved gathering data from sources which had already been documented by other researchers. Through the use of secondary data, the study borrowed heavily from internet research, articles, journals and library research. The study relied mainly on primary data which was collected through questionnaires and one focus group discussion.

3.6. Instruments for data collection

3.6.1 Questionnaires

Questionnaires were designed to collect data from respondents. This is because they are usually cheaper to administer compared to other research instruments, and they require very little training to develop and they can be easily analyzed once completed. The questionnaire was composed of closed-ended questions and the target population was the local community living adjacent to Mara Triangle. The questionnaire was composed of five sections; the first section dealt with personal information, section two was on tourism activities undertaken by the local communities in Mara Triangle. The third section was on contribution of tourism development to physical and financial capital, the fourth section was on contribution of tourism development to social capital and the last section was on contribution of tourism development to natural capital. The questionnaires were self-administered by the researcher and the research assistant.

3.6.2 Focus group discussions

A focus group discussion was conducted with 6 respondents (3 men and 3 women) of varied ages who lived adjacent to Mara Triangle and were engaged in tourism activities. The researcher sought to use one focus group discussion since the population had similar characteristics. The discussion lasted for 45 minutes and it enabled members to freely speak on how tourism development has enable them to sell their cultural products, establish community projects and developments of schools etc.

3.7 Reliability

Reliability is a measure of the degree to which a research yields consistent results or data after repeated trials. (Orodho, 2005). The level of an instrument's reliability is dependent on its ability to produce the same score when used repeatedly. Test retest reliability technique was also employed where questionnaires were issued to five (15) respondents. After 5 days, the questionnaires were administered to the same group. Minor corrections to the wording of some questions were made following the feedback from this trial. Cronbach’s alpha technique of measuring internal consistency or reliability was used .The reliability of the scales used was assessed for reliability with a target reliability alpha of 0.7. All scales had reliability between 0.82 and 0.86 which was above the 0.7 required. This therefore indicated that the items in the questionnaire were reliable.

3.8 Data Analysis and Presentation

The data collected was analyzed using descriptive statistics (measures of central tendency and measures of variations). This method of analysis is most desirable, as it enable the researcher to have an insight on contribution of tourism development to community livelihoods in Mara triangle. Once the data was collected, the questionnaires were edited for accuracy, consistency and completeness. The response was coded into numerical form to facilitate statistical analysis. Data was analyzed using SPSS. Descriptive statistics: Regression analysis was used to determine the tourism livelihood activities from the information contained in Section B. Standard deviation, range and coefficient of variation was used to determine the contribution of tourism development to physical and financial capital contained in Section C, contribution of tourism development to social capital contained in Section D and contribution of tourism development to natural capital contained in Section E of the questionnaire. In addition, content analysis was used to analyze qualitative information collected in the survey and focus group discussion. This supports the results of quantitative analysis in drawing conclusions and recommendations.

3.9 Ethical considerations

The researcher has the responsibility to ensure that in whatever the research paradigm she/he works, research is conducted in an ethical manner that allows the respondents to have trust in its outcome. In line with this, the researcher obtained informed consent from each respondent through introductory letter and oral consents as appropriate. On this aspect of informed consent, the researcher informed the participants on their right to withdraw from the research if need arises. Participation of the respondents in the study was voluntarily.

The researcher also guaranteed anonymity of the study participants from the beginning of the study to the end. Private and personal information that can lead to the participants being known by the public were not divulged. According to Bell & Burgess (2007), getting into a setting usually involves some sort of bargain-explicit or implicit assurances that you will not violate informants’ privacy or confidentiality, expose them to harm, or interfere in their activities. During research the researcher created rapport with respondents, to gain certain level of trust and openness and to be accepted as a non –judgmental and non-threatening person.

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