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What we love

Home to the largest numbers of black rhino in East Africa, Lewa is renowned for its excellent conservation work and is a fantastic place to spot some of these endangered animals.

Laikipia and Lewa


The destination

Rivalling the Maasai Mara for an unforgettable safari experience, Laikipia harbours large numbers of wildlife across its high grassy plains. Stretching from Mount Kenya to the Great Rift Valley, Laikipia is made up of former ranches and farms which are now part of some of Kenya’s most successful conservation projects. Endangered species are well looked after in Laikipia, with approximately half of the country’s black rhino population being closely monitored by expert wildlife rangers. Unlike the Maasai Mara, Laikipia has only a fraction of the number of visitors that travel each year, and there are plenty of open spaces and opportunities for excellent game viewing without the large numbers of tourists.

Perhaps the best-known region of Laikipia is the Lewa Downs Conservancy, which is also made up of former ranches and farms but is now a dedicated black rhino sanctuary and home to the highest population of black and white rhino in East Africa. Set over 60,000 acres of open grasslands, the Conservancy sits within dense forests and rolling hills, with the towering Mount Kenya providing an impressive backdrop. The swamp at the Lewa Downs Conservancy is also a sanctuary in its own right, home to leopards, antelopes, aardvarks and bush babies as well as excellent bird life. If you’re looking for a traditional Kenyan safari that has a strong focus on animal conservation, Lewa is not to be missed.

Where to stay

There are several luxury tented camps and lodges available to stay in, all of which are in excellent locations in Laikipia and Lewa. A selection of our favourite camps and lodges are listed below, however, this is just a sample, so please don't hesitate to give us a call on 01993 899430, or email inspire@oxfordprivatetravel.com if you would like to find out more and we will be delighted to craft your own tailor-made trip. 

Who should visit?

We believe that Laikipia and Lewa are great places for families, small groups or couples wanting to enjoy a quieter part of Kenya whilst on safari. You’ll enjoy excellent game viewing and get the chance to see some of the country’s most endangered species up close.

When to visit?

July – September, during the country’s dry season, is one of the best times to visit Kenya, particularly because of the Great Migration that occurs every year during these months. Although game drives during this time can be crowded in the more popular areas, we know all the best places to escape the crowds, so it’s a fantastic time of year to visit Kenya. Outside of the peak period, and outside the ‘long rain’ season (April-May) you can find excellent wildlife viewing all year round, with a fraction of the visitor numbers and many bargains to be had.

Passports and visas 

A passport with at least six months validity is necessary as well as at least 2 blank pages when you present it at immigration. A visa is required for all visits to Kenya, and you can either apply upon arrival at the airport, or online before you travel to minimise queuing time at the airport.


Top tips

  • Get the chance to see some of Kenya’s most endangered species being monitored by expert wildlife rangers in Laikipia
  • Learn all about the fantastic conservation work that takes place in Laikipia year after year
  • Go on safari in the Lewa Downs conservancy and enjoy excellent chances to see the Big Five
  • Lewa is a great place for spotting rhinos as it has become a dedicated black rhino sanctuary, home to the largest numbers in East Africa


Local currency: Kenyan Shilling

Accepted credit cards: Visa and Mastercard (most places)           

Time zone: GMT +3 hours

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