LEWA WILDLIFE CONSERVANCY
The Largest Refuge for Rhinos
Lions? Leopards? And Chimps
The situation was dire – Kenya’s rhino population had been systematically decimated by poachers. By 1980, only 500 of these majestic creatures remained from a high of 20,000, just twenty years before. Something had to be done.
Fortunately, in 1983, a cattle ranch in central Kenya was converted into a sanctuary to protect these black rhinos and nurture them back to sustainability. With its success a few years later, the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy was formed, and the project continued to expand. Today Lewa’s 61,000 acres is one of the largest conservancies in Africa, protecting not only rhinos and elephants but other endangered species as well.
All of Africa’s ‘Big Five’ roam Lewa’s broad fields and predators include lions, leopards, cheetahs, and wild dogs. The conservancy also hosts a group of animals known as the ‘Northern Specialty Species’ – the endangered Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, Somali ostrich, Beisa oryx, and the gerenuk.
While here, don’t forget to keep an eye out for Lewa’s very busy birdlife including pelicans, cormorants, herons, storks, flamingoes, egrets, and quails.
A Special Conservancy
Lewa’s diverse eco-systems present visitors with a rewarding variety of landscapes and vistas. Because of its natural beauty and success as a wildlife habitat, the conservancy was awarded the honor of being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Renowned in elite circles, the conservancy has attracted such rarified tourists as Britain’s Prince William. It was here on a safari in 2010 the Prince proposed to his future wife, Kate Middleton.
An Early Success
Regarded as a conservancy success story, Lewa has been a model for sustainable tourism, preserving the land, the wildlife, and investing in its local population. The Lewa organization invests in healthcare, education, sustainable agriculture and water usage, women’s micro-enterprises, and mentoring programs for young people.
Sharing this land flocked with distinctive acacia trees are the Maasai people, nomadic herders from whom the park takes its name. They construct traditional villages surrounding the reserve and live as they have for eons, herding their cattle and pushing back at an ever-encroaching modern world.
Known for their brightly colored shukas and deft beadwork, the Maasai are a living link to a past that stretches back beyond colonial Africa, to an era when the entire continent was wild and untouched.
Safari on Foot – See the conservancy closeup and personal. A guided walking safari is the best way to get intimate with the land, the plants, and the birdlife all around you.
Safari on Horseback – For a slightly elevated vantage point of the conservancy, try a game drive from the saddle. A horseback safari will afford a closer look at the grazing herds as you sidle alongside giraffe, zebra, and impala.
Safari on Camelback – A decidedly different approach to the safari experience. You’ll softly stroll through the Lewa plains on these exotic animals.
Local Villages – Enjoy a cultural excursion to the local villages and meet the people, learn about their lifestyle, and how the conservancy helps their community.
Go Behind The Scenes – You can observe and help with the area’s many conservation and community programs like their health outreach initiative.
Lewa Safari Marathon – An annual internationally acclaimed fundraising event, participants run for their best times through the inspiring African landscape of Lewa. Known as one of the world’s top ten ‘must do’ marathons, runners from around the world take part in this major sporting event.
These reserve-based projects help the livelihoods of the nearby rural communities.
- Education for local students, including computer skills training
- Healthcare – providing medical supplies to the local health centers and mobile clinic
- Energy – providing hundreds of local families with energy-efficient stoves – reducing the need for firewood.
Ol Pejeta Eco-Facts
- Sanctuaries to protect endangered chimpanzees, oryx, hartebeest, Grevy’s zebra, and bat-eared fox
- Home to the world’s last remaining northern white rhinos
- The largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa – the rhino population has increased by over 100 in the last 25 years.
Lewa hosts five exclusive lodges located throughout the grounds of the conservancy. The accommodations offer their guests authentic and very unique safari experiences. Integral to the conservancy model, all the profits generated from tourism are directed back to Lewa’s conservation and community programs.
- Borana Lodge
- Lewa Wilderness
- Kifaru House
- Sirikoi Lodge
- Lewa Safari Camp
Getting there: You can Book a tour with Africa Kenya Safaris. And you’ll go in style – a specially outfitted 4 x 4 safari Jeep.
This is Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
One of the oldest, largest, and most successful conservancies in Africa, Lewa has become a model for conserving the land, the wildlife and funding the aspirations of its local communities. A harbor for endangered species, this outstanding conservancy is an unforgettable stop on your safari tour through Kenya.
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