• Wild dog close up, Kenya

Highlights and main attractions of the Laikipia Plateau

Highlights and main attractions of the Laikipia Plateau

An idyllic and lesser-visited area that is often referred to as the gateway to Northern Kenya, the Laikipia Plateau is an undiscovered ecosystem of wilderness terrain that covers over two million acres and is home to indigenous Samburu, Kikuyu and Boran tribes. The unique and varied habitats here create stunningly scenic landscapes, from arid plains to icy mountains and sweeping hills, making it an excellent choice for the discerning safari enthusiast looking for something authentic, away from the tourist trails. It is estimated that 10% of Kenya’s black rhino community are found here in Lewa, so it is also a good place for Big Five game sighting, whilst avoiding the crowds. 

Many northern game species are found here, such as gerenuk, Grevy’s Zebra, Jackson’s hartebeest and the reticulated giraffe. It is also the only area to have a growing population of wild dogs, and there are burgeoning numbers of leopard, lion, rhino, elephant and many other game species. This is in many ways thanks to the pioneering commitment of the Laikipia community and the Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF), established to promote conservation across the district’s private reserves. Separated into larger conservancies, below are those areas of Laikipia that contain our selection of luxurious lodges, individually chosen to complete your safari experience. 

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Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

Located South of Laikipia and North of Mount Kenya, this conservancy was established in 1995 by the Craig family and is renowned for its exemplary research and commitment to conservation activities on private land. Spread across 58,000 acres of private land and 14,000 acres of national forest, this is an area of open savannah, gently rolling acacia hills and semi-arid desert, in which common game viewing can be enjoyed, including Beisa Oryx, reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra (an estimated 20% of the world’s population) and greater Kudu. There is a healthy but sometimes reclusive lion family, a trio of male cheetah and leopard; in total some 70 mammal species and over 350 species of birds.

The conservancy involves its visitors in the regular ongoing projects and a raft of game drives, night drives, guided bushwalks, trips to prehistoric sites, riding and fishing trips. Lewa Safari Camp combines hospitality with stunning scenery and abundant wildlife, whilst Lewa Wilderness Lodge, boasts spectacular views toward Mt. Kenya to the south and arid lowlands to the north. 

Loisaba Ranch

Covering 150 square kilometres, Loisaba was the creator of the inventive ‘star bed’ (great for honeymooners!), another private conservancy within the Laikipia area. Habitats and wildlife vary according to location, with the north enjoying open savannah plains and the south giving rise to escarpments, cliffs, valleys and areas of riverine fig and palm forest. With over 50 mammal species, wildlife sightings can be excellent, including elephant, buffalo, cheetah, impala, waterbuck, reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, oryx and kudu. The healthy lion family here have been collared for Laikipia’s Predator Project and can be traced via radio tracker, leopards can be elusive here and wild dog sightings, whilst increasing, depend on the location of the packs and come in spates. Why not consider some night drives to witness the nocturnal activities or also a balloon safari to gain a completely different perspective on this beautiful location. The fantastic and sustainably constructed Loisaba Lodge, perched on an escarpment edge, will organise all your exciting safari activities whilst providing sustainable accommodation.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy

A 90,000-acre conservancy set between the foothills of the Aberdares and Mount Kenya, this area offers strong Big Five game viewing as well as the popular Chimpanzee sanctuary within the Sweetwaters Game Reserve - established as a refuge for rescued chimps from Burundi, escaping the civil war. Established in 1998 the conservancy was once a cattle ranch owned by multi-millionaire Adnan Kashoggi. It is just a three hour journey from Nairobi, making it the closest place to experience Big Five game. Here there is the fastest growing number of black rhinos, now standing at nearly 90, and you may have the opportunity to get face-to-face with these prehistoric looking creatures, finding out about the lives and history after their crucial translocation. The beautiful open plains can be explored by either game drives, night drives, bush walks or horse rides and the small, luxurious Kicheche Laikipia or the secluded Porini Rhino Camp are our recommended lodges within the conservancy. 


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