Laikipia

Conserving wildlife and the traditional way of life, wide open spaces mean more adventurous game-viewing.

Overview

The Laikipia region is in central Kenya, to the north-west of Mount Kenya. It’s a 9,500 km² plateau with plains stretching from the magnificent escarpment bordering the Northern Frontier District all the way down to the Great Rift Valley.

Game-viewing on a Laikipia safari

Though this area of Kenya is generally hot and arid, two rivers, the Ewaso Nyiro and the Ewaso Narok give much needed water. The plateau habitat include grasslands, basalt hills, acacia bush and even cedar forests.  Naturally this diversity of habitat leads to a diversity of wildlife. Which in turn guarantees good predator populations. Thus lion, leopard and cheetah sightings are common on a Laikipia safari. There’s also plenty of plains game including some dry land “specials”. These include the Somali ostrich, the long-necked gerenuk, Grevy’s zebra and the reticulated giraffe.

Laikipia is on one distinct National Park but rather a patchwork of wildlife conservancies, privately owned ranches and bush homes. These all work together to conserve wildlife. Back in the 1990’s farmers, ranches and local tribes partnered together to create wildlife conservation areas. So in consequence, Laikipia is the only area in East Africa where wildlife numbers are actually increasing!

Lions in Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy

Laikipia Safari Camps

Safari camps in Laikipia are personal, intimate, often luxurious and relaxed. As so many of the camps are privately run and outside national wildlife reserves, they offer a wider range of safari activities alongside game drives. Bush walks, camel trekking, mountain biking and horse riding are all on offer. The key attribute of the Laikipia safari camps is exclusivity. Loisaba is a classic example.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy

This is a superb wildlife conservancy in the south of Laikipia with excellent wildlife sightings. Bush camps include Ol Pejeta Bush CampPorini Rhino Camp and Kicheche Laikipia Camp.

The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is famous for its large population of black and white rhino. And you have an excellent chance of seeing both. Ol Pejeta also boasts reticulated giraffe, the rare Grevy’s zebra, plenty of plains game and a healthy complement of predators. In fact Ol Pejeta Conservancy has the highest resident game-to-area ratio of any park or reserve in Kenya.

Ranches of Laikipia

Further to the north are large private ranches and Samburu tribal lands. Loisaba is a 61,000 acre private game conservancy in the heart of Laikipia. It has the Ewaso Nyiro River on its southern boundary. And dramatic escarpments and wildlife plains in the north. Recommended ranches and bush homes include Sabuk Lodge, Sosian Lodge and Ol Malo House.

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

Wildlife is also concentrated in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Lewa is one of Africa’s conservation success stories with all of the Big Five on offer. It offers a refuge for a number of endangered species including about 10-15% of Kenya’s black and white rhino population. And it is home to the largest single population of critically endangered Grevy’s zebra.

The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (LWC) developed this huge tract of land (60,000 acres) as a wildlife conservancy. LWC researchers and staff are available to share their information with lodge guests, either during informal evening discussions, or in the field. Sitatunga, a water-loving antelope is another rare species to be found here. With 350 bird species, Lewa is also one of Kenya’s best birding areas. There are several safari options including Lewa Safari Camp and Lewa House.

Features

Why you may love it

  • One of the most rewarding safari areas to visit in Kenya
  • Richly scenic region with a wide diversity of game
  • Its game-viewing is probably only topped by the Masai Mara, but it has the distinct advantage of being off the main wildlife circuit
  • Has one of the largest elephant populations in East Africa and is also one of the best places to see wild dog
  • Laikipia has over 50% of Kenya’s heavily endangered white and black rhino population
  • Unique in that it’s a series of wildlife conservancies, privately owned ranches and bush homes and not just one National Park

Explore the Laikipia map

When to visit Laikipia

Mid-December to March

Summer in Laikipia

The broad Laikipia area (which encompasses the Lewa Conservancy, Ol Pejeta Game Reserve and the Highlands Conservancies) are at a high altitude, often over 2,000m (6,500ft). So this makes the days pleasant and the nights quite cool (10-11C) with only occasional afternoon showers.
AVG RAINFALL 45 mm
MAX TEMP 26 ℃ / 79 ℉
MIN TEMP 10 ℃ / 50 ℉

April to May

Autumn in Laikipia

The long rains here take the form of afternoon hard showers so there is still plenty of sunshine. April is the wettest month.
AVG RAINFALL 155 mm
MAX TEMP 24 ℃ / 75 ℉
MIN TEMP 12 ℃ / 54 ℉

June to October

Winter in Laikipia

Interestingly it continues to rain here through the winter months, though not as much as in April. Indeed rain can be as frequent as every 2-3 days in July and August. The temperatures are cooler but remain a pleasant 22-24C whilst nights can dip down to 9C.
AVG RAINFALL 128 mm
MAX TEMP 22 ℃ / 72 ℉
MIN TEMP 10 ℃ / 50 ℉

November to mid-December

Spring in Laikipia

Unlike further south, there is no real short rain period. In fact it tends to be very similar to the later summer months with a gradual rise to warmer temperatures but nothing hectic.
AVG RAINFALL 50 mm
MAX TEMP 23 ℃ / 73 ℉
MIN TEMP 11 ℃ / 52 ℉

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Did you know
  • LocationFrom Mount Kenya to the Great Rift Valley
  • ConservationHome to half of Kenya's black rhino population

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