Laikipia and the central highlands
Laikipia and the central highlands
Start planning your dream trip today
On the high plains below Mount Kenya, and dominated by stunning views of its peaks, is the exceptionally beautiful region known as Laikipia. A tapestry of some 50 private ranches, which still rear livestock, this is the new frontier of Kenyan tourism. Laikipia is a stronghold of protection for such endangered species as rhino, Grevy’s zebra and reticulated giraffe.
An intimate wildlife safari
The Laikipia region in Kenya’s central highlands includes world-famous wildlife conservancies such as Lewa, Borana, Ol Pejeta, Ol Jogi, Sosian, and Mugie. The conservancies are managed in partnership with the community landowners.
Second only to the Masai Mara in terms of its wealth and diversity of wildlife, Laikipia is also a showcase for endemic species such as gerenuk and Somali ostrich. Home to all the members of the Big Five, it provides an invaluable migration corridor for some 6,000 elephants, which travel annually between Mount Kenya and Samburu in the north. The region also promises 542 species of birds, 48% of Kenya’s entire avian diversity.
As well as providing a more intimate game-watching experience, Laikipia offers horse riding, camel-trekking, guided walking, night game drives, and biking. The ranches also provide an exceptionally family-friendly experience while their close working relationship with the local Masai, Pokot, Samburu, and Turkana people allows them to offer authentic cultural visits.
The Laikipia region is at the forefront of Kenya’s wildlife conservation. Endangered species such as the Grevy’s zebra and the reticulated giraffe, and threatened species such as the swamp-dwelling sitatunga antelope and African Wild Dog, are monitored and protected across the conservancies. Many of these conservancies have also led the field in rhino protection and some offer the incredible experience of tracking radio-collared rhino on foot.
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is a pioneer in the preservation of the Northern White Rhino, the last two of which graze peaceably on its plains.
Laikipia is also home to one of the world’s most famous marathons, the Lewa Safari Marathon which is run through the wilderness of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. All the funds raised are invested directly into conservation projects in Kenya.
Location: Laikipia straddles the equator while its major city, Nanyuki, is 147km north of Nairobi. Laikipia is the gateway to Kenya’s wild northern frontier and reserves such as Samburu, Buffalo Springs, and Shaba. It also borders the Mathews Range of mountains and the hot and arid lands that lead up to the shores of Lake Turkana.
Accommodation: ranges from exclusive lodges and hosted cottages to nomadic fly camps; and from eco-lodges to homestays.
Getting there: The region as three airstrips: Nanyuki, Loisaba and Lewa Downs.
Laikipia & Central Highlands tours
Simba Safari – KS8A
‘Simba’ means ‘lion’ in Swahili. A budget safari that delivers optimum variety in the minimum time without…
Masai Mara Safari – KS4
For those with limited time looking for a value-added safari that highlights Kenya’s most famous sights, this…
SkySafari Kenya Classic – SSKC
This exclusive flying safari showcases some of Kenya’s most famous and most diverse wilderness areas, while travelling…
Laikipia & Central Higlands features
Sundowners on Pride Rock
Pride Rock is not easy to reach. But the road to triumph is always tough, especially in the world of Walt Disney where many a frog must be kissed to reveal a prince. In this case, we’re in the wilderness lands of Laikipia, Kenya’s heartland, following a tortuous path through thick khaki-coloured grass. It’s wide…
How Kenya is saving the African Wild Dog
African wild dogs, also known as painted wolves or Cape hunting dogs, have seen drastic population declines over recent decades. In this article from 2017, we looked at Kenya’s efforts to save the African wild dog from extinction, and discovered how these endangered animals are beginning to recover here. Painted wolves in the morning The…
Friends with benefits: taking a ride with an oxpecker
It’s a common sight: a small bird with a bright red beak is taking a ride on a zebra. It might be perched on its neck or riding between its ears. The zebra doesn’t seem to mind and the bird seems to be having fun. With good reason. Bed and breakfast The bird, which is…
Born Free – an interview with Virginia McKenna
In this article, actress and activist Virginia McKenna OBE, who played Joy Adamson in the 1966 film, Born Free, tells us how her time spent in Kenya whilst filming Born Free changed her life. Virginia McKenna is a British stage and screen actress, author and wildlife campaigner, best known for such films as A Town…
Saving the Grevy’s zebra
Magical, majestic and beautiful, the Grevy’s zebra is about as close as you’ll get to a unicorn on planet earth. And it’s SO rare that it is classified as ‘endangered’ on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List. This means that the magnificent Grevy’s zebra will shortly join the unicorn in the…
Kenya’s conservancies, the new safari experience
Ask any motorcyclist why they prefer a bike to a car and they’ll probably tell you that they prefer to be IN the moment rather than looking at life through a window. It’s the same with the safari experience and that’s where Kenya’s conservancies come in. The majority of visitors explore Kenya’s globally-renowned national parks…
Reteti Elephant Sanctuary
‘My human family is at home,’ says the young Samburu mother, ‘but I’m also mother to another set of babies.’ She points to a herd of around a dozen young elephants. Some are tiny tots and others stand as high as a man. A softly probing elephant trunk wraps itself around Josephine’s waist. She laughs…
The destiny of mankind is painted in the stars. Or so they say. But this is not news to the people of Loisaba. They’ve known it all along. In this part of the world, the local Samburu warriors have always lain beneath the stars. They use them to divine the nature of the coming seasons….
Kenya is a microcosm of Africa. People have migrated here from all over the African continent for centuries, and each incoming group has added to the cultural weave with a distinctive ethnic thread of their own. More brilliant than most, are the strands contributed by the Samburu, who live in the painted deserts of the…
Samburu National Reserve – the painted desert
Hot and arid, Samburu National Reserve lies on the fringes of the vast desert that was once known as the ‘Northern Frontier District’, whose heat-scorched scrublands extend all the way to the jade-green waters of Lake Turkana and beyond. The Reserve is an evocative cocktail of uniquely contrasting habitats. The landscape veers from stark cliffs…
Want Inspiration in your Inbox?
Sign up for FREE to receive our monthly e-newsletter with features
and ideas to help you plan your Kenyan adventure
© 2023 Kenya Holidays