Course structure

DATES: 28 July – 24 August 2020

THEME: Savanna

LOCATION: Mpala Reserve, Laikipia County, Kenya

DURATION: 28 days

COHORT SIZE: 24 participants



– completed 3 years of a biological degree

– proficient in spoken and written English


We are a skills training NGO that puts young people at the heart of conservation, giving them the skills and support they need to be effective and make a real impact. No other field course is as multi-cultural, we bring together equal numbers of participants from Africa and the rest of the World – this creates a diverse and inclusive forum for sharing experiences and future collaboration. Our course graduates use what they have learned to make a tangible difference on the ground for both nature and people.


We are privileged to work with so many inspiring teachers from around the world and within Kenya, and the course is uniquely tailored to the expertise of these international and local teachers. You will learn about the local flora and flora and topical conservation issues, practice survey methodologies and ways to analyse and interpret your data. Throughout the course there will be lectures and discussions that cover a host of topics based on savanna ecosystems. You will design your own project, seeing it all the way through from implementation, analysis, to writing this up as a scientific paper. Throughout this process you will be personally supervised to ensure you get the most from this experience. With years of experience we ensure that all our teaching is not only engaging but fun and interactive.

“I learned a whole range of new research skills and was able to practice these in a fully supportive and encouraging environment.”

Marion Risse, Switzerland


Course graduates will join an active network of over 2500 alumni in 86 countries. We are on the frontline creating a new generation of conservation researchers, project managers and leaders with the skills they need to have an immediate impact. A remarkable 95% of our alumni are working in conservation from research institutions, to government departments and NGO’s.

“It has been inspiring to learn alongside students
from so many different nationalities.”

Jemima Scrase, UK


Taught by experts from around the world, you will gain hands-on experience of field research, project design, and conservation case studies. Our field courses are taught outside the classroom, and enable young, early career scientists with ambitions of working to conserve wildlife and the natural environment to make a difference and have a tangible impact.

“Within the period of just one month I learnt more than during my four undergraduate years at my university. Without any exaggeration, the TBA training is the cradle of my success in academia and in life.”

Gilbert Adum, Ghana


Savanna rangeland ecology and conservationStudents surveying vegetation using a pinframe

Small and large mammal behaviour and interactions

Ornithological research techniques

Community involvement for successful conservation

Human-wildlife coexistence

Research project design

About the site


The Mpala Research Centre receives hundreds of students, educators, and scientists from around the world, conducting research on everything from parasites to elephants. The unique set up of Mpala allows for researchers to use the land as a ‘living laboratory’ in which to conduct experiments and answer pressing questions on conservation and wildlife. Mpala lies beneath the shadow of Mount Kenya, within Laikipia County, 50 km north of the equator and 50 km from Nanyuki town. Mpala reserve stretches over 48,000 acres of semi-arid savanna, acacia bushland, wooded grassland, rocky escarpments and riverine habitats along the Ewaso Nyiro and Ewaso Narok rivers.

Mpala is home to the full diversity of Africa’s wildlife, from the famous Big 5 mammals to unique endangered species including the Grevy’s zebra, the reticulated giraffe, the patas monkey. Laikipia also boasts an expanding population of African wild dog.


We will be based at the River Campsite, away from main research station which gives us our own exclusive TBA learning environment. There is the full range of wildlife you would expect in Kenya at Mpala, so the River Camp is enclosed with an electric fence for our safety. There will be some incredible fauna and flora viewing opportunities the whole month, and when outside of the River Camp and involved with our field exercises, we will be accompanied by Mpala scouts. You will be accommodated in shared comfortable tents, with shower and washroom facilities nearby. There is power, sustainably supplied by solar energy with a back-up generator. Meals, lectures and meetings will be convened in the spacious main tent. There is a large welcoming fireplace where we can sit around to socialise and enjoy a campfire in the evening.

“What we are able to deliver on a TBA field course really does change lives. We equip young scientists with relevant skills and knowledge, so they can develop into really effective conservationists, able to make good decisions, and to inspire others to find solutions.”

 Dr Rosie Trevelyan, Director Tropical Biology Association