Laikipia and the central highlands
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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 Higlands features
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