Laikipia Wildlife Conservancy

Converted from a cattle ranch to a community-based ecotourism destination in 1983, the 100-square-mile Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is among the largest and most ecologically diverse private reserves on the Laikipia Plateau. Set below the majestic snow-capped peaks of Mount Kenya, it is home to all the Big Five, and forms an important refuge for both African species of rhinos along with dry-country specials such as the reticulated giraffe and Grevy’s zebra. 

Discover Lewa

Because it is a private conservancy, Lewa offers guests an exclusive away-from-the-crowds safari experience. Lodges are small, luxurious and service-oriented, and game drives in comfortable 4x4s are led by expert local guides.

The catalyst for the foundation of Lewa was rhino conservation. Today, the reserve is home to around 170 black and white rhinos, almost 15% of the entire Kenyan population, and sightings of both species are all but guaranteed.

Lewa is home to 20% of the estimated global population of 2,500 Grevy’s zebra. This endangered equid is much larger than the more widespread plains zebra, and it has narrower stripes and an elegant gait. It is now practically confined to northern Kenya, though a few stragglers still survive in southern Ethiopia.

When it comes to the rest of the Big Five, around 400 elephants are seasonally present in Lewa, along with healthy resident populations of lion and buffalo. Leopards are around, but sightings are relatively unusual. 

Other wildlife includes cheetah, spotted hyena, reticulated giraffe, a population of the localized sitatunga antelope translocated from Saiwa Swamp in the 1980s, and a transient pack of African wild dog.

Lewa is a non-profit organization; all proceeds are pumped back into conservation or used to support healthcare, education and other local community projects.

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