Laikipia

The Laikipia plateau’s magnificent escarpments, striking plains, isolated hills and cedar forests are home to ethnically diverse communities. Laikipia’s conservancies combine cattle ranching, wildlife conservation and community development, and offer a plethora of activities such as camel riding, marathon running, mountain biking, trekking and fishing.


Overview

Laikipia straddles the equator, lying between the ice-capped peaks of Mt Kenya, the arid lowlands of Samburu and dazzling Lake Baringo. The region’s appeal is its startling contrasts, in wildlife, landscape, people and climate. It is traversed by the Ewaso Nyiro and Ewaso Narok Rivers. The Laikipia Maasai, Kikuyu, Meru, Turkana, Samburu, Borana and Pokot all inhabit the region.

Nanyuki airport has daily scheduled flights from destinations in Kenya. Many of the ranches, sanctuaries and conservancies have airstrips suitable for charter flights. The area is accessible by road from Nanyuki, Baringo, Nyahururu, Isiolo and Maralal.

There are no national parks in Laikipia. The region is made up of private game ranches, sanctuaries and conservancies, most of whom are members of the Laikipia Wildlife Forum, LWF. The forum, established in 1992, is a broad based conservation organisation dedicated to preserving and managing wildlife populations and wilderness habitats in Laikipia. It also aims to better the lives of people in the area through supporting and generating livelihoods and expanding access to essential natural resources. Mpala Research Centre studies and monitors Laikipia’s environment and wildlife, helping to ensure that its people and wildlife coexist in harmony.

The Ewaso ecosystem is home to the highest populations of endangered species in Kenya. There are eight protected rhino sanctuaries, which together hold over half of Kenya’s black rhino population. The area is also a safe haven for the endangered Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe and Lelwel hartebeest. It has significant numbers of predators, including wild dog, and the second largest elephant population in Kenya.

Salama Ngororo Caves are called Daraja ya Mungu, or God’s Bridge, by the local people because of their incredible views. Traditionally, the caves were used for religious ceremonies, and it is said that in the 1950s the Mau Mau used them as hideouts during their fight for independence from the British Colonial Government. Ngano-ini Ngororo Caves and adjacent gorge run alongside a seasonal river. During the rainy season, water flows over the caves and gorge in a frothing waterfall. Both cave sites are suitable for hiking, rock climbing, camping and picnicking.

The region offers a wealth of unusual activities. Camel safaris are an exotic way to explore the bush, and can be single-day trips, or multiday camping safaris. Mountain biking and horse riding trips are offered in many places. Fishing in local rivers and dams is available. Game bird shooting and clay pigeon shooting are offered on some ranches. Guided game walks immerse visitors in the sheer vastness of Laikipia.

The Safaricom Lewa Marathon takes place annually in June. For the occasion, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy opens its gates and its campsites to runners and their supporters, and provides a colourful and entertaining weekend. Profits support education, health, community development and wildlife conservation projects across Kenya.


Listings In The Laikipia Region

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Sirikoi is a luxury tented camp on the northern slopes of Mt Kenya. The camp, on private land surrounded by Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, looks out on a waterhole that attracts a variety of game. There are 4 elegant en-suite tents and a private cottage with 2 en-suite bedrooms, sitting room, dining room ...

Named after the rhino for which Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is famed, Kifaru House is a stylish private villa located in the conservancy. The 65,000-acre conservancy is home to several endangered species including black rhino, Grevy’s zebra and sitatunga. All profit from Kifaru House is directly reinvested in Lewa’s ...

Lewa Safari Camp has a striking location in Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Spectacular views of Mt Kenya lie to the south and of arid lowlands to the north. This private 65,000-acre wildlife conservancy is home to about 61 species of mammal and 440 species of birds, including about 10 percent of Kenya’s black ...

Borana, on the edge of the Samangua Valley, has panoramic views of Mt Kenya, across the Lewa Plains to the Ngare Ndare Forest. Built in 1992 by local artisans using only local building materials, the lodge is comfortable, luxurious and totally in keeping with its surroundings. Both the lodge and a ...

On a rocky outcrop on the northeastern edge of the 16,000-acre Il Ngwesi Group Ranch, Il Ngwesi has panoramic views across northern Kenya. The lodge is managed by the Il Ngwesi Group Ranch Maasai community, and was constructed entirely from local materials. There are 6 en-suite bandas, made up of 3 triples, 1 ...

On the edge of the Lolldaiga Hills in a private game sanctuary, Enasoit is a stylish bush camp. The camp can only be taken exclusively. Its striking location offers excellent game viewing in an important wildlife corridor between east and west Laikipia. The camp overlooks 2 saltlicks and a dam which ...

On the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River, El Karama Eco Lodge looks out on a riverside saltlick that attracts plentiful game. The lodge, which has been in the hands of the Grant family since the 1970s, is in 15,000 acres of private land. It was refurbished in 2010. There are 4 en-suite ...

Lolldaiga Hills include the highest peak in Laikipia and provide stunning views and diverse scenery. The 50,000-acre Lolldaiga Hills Ranch has a wide variety of vegetation, including dry savannah, open woodlands and high altitude forest. The ranch is a working cattle ranch, in which people, livestock and wildlife coexist. The ...

The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille is a collection of luxury houses in an exclusive conservancy. The 25,000-acre conservancy is a progressive conservation and tourism partnership between the Maasai community, donors and private investors. There are 4 houses, each architecturally individual, and each representing a Voice of Africa. The Chief’s House, ...

Sosian’s original ranch house was built in the 1940s by Italian artisans. After elegant restoration, it opened as Sosian Lodge. The garden, dominated by succulents, has a backdrop of Mt Kenya. Sosian is a 24,000-acre private wildlife conservancy combining tourism, conservation and traditional cattle ranching. There are 7 en-suite double ...

Lemarti’s Camp, on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River, is a striking vision of arid wilderness. The local Samburu community own the land; the camp was built and is run by Samburu guide, Loyapan Lemarti, and his fashion designer wife, Anna Trzebinski. This chic camp opened in 2008 and ...

The vast game ranch of Loisaba combines adventure with serenity. For those with an appetite for adventure, Loisaba offers camel trekking, mountain biking, quad biking, rafting and ballooning, while for those with a love of peace, Loisaba provides pampering in the spa and the famed starbeds, raised en-suite platforms under ...

Perched on a cliff overlooking the Ewaso Nyiro River, Sabuk is an exclusive wilderness haven on the edge of the northern Laikipia Plateau. This raised location grants dramatic views of the Laikipia plains, the Karisia Hills and Matthews Mountains. Sabuk has 6 spacious en-suite open-fronted stone cottages with thatched roofs and ...

On the northern edge of the Laikipia plateau, Ol Malo sits high on an escarpment looking down on northern Kenya. Ol Malo, or place of the greater kudu, is a wilderness area that is both remote and beautiful. Ol Malo has 4 luxury cottages, each with en-suite double bedroom and veranda ...

Mutamaiyu House is located on the 22,000-acre Mugie Wildlife Conservancy. The conservancy was formed in 2004, and has contributed to the campaign for the preservation of the endangered black rhino. It is also one of the core study areas of the Laikipia Predator Project, a project aimed at promoting coexistence between ...

Ol ari Nyiro, meaning place of springs, is a 100,000-acre private wildlife sanctuary on the western edge of the Laikipia plateau. The sanctuary was initiated by Kuki Gallmann, the author of I dreamed of Africa and African Nights. The Gallmann Memorial Foundation is dedicated to creative, sustainable conservation: people and ...

Ol ari Nyiro, meaning place of springs, is a 100,000-acre private wildlife sanctuary on the western edge of the Laikipia plateau. The sanctuary was initiated by Kuki Gallmann, the author of I dreamed of Africa and African Nights. The Gallmann Memorial Foundation is dedicated to creative, sustainable conservation: people and ...

Tassia, perched on the edge of the Mokogodo Escarpment, offers spectacular views across northern Kenya and the scared Lolokwe Mountain. The lodge was built for the Mokogodo Maasai, and aims for a symbiotic relationship between community and conservation. It combines tranquil beauty with adventure and excitement. Tassia has distinctive Maasai ...

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