It’s a spectacular view as you step off the plane and look across Lewa’s 65,000 acres of grassland, acacia woodland, natural springs and forested slopes that lead to snow-topped Mount Kenya. Lewa is a privately run, non-profit organisation, set up by dedicated ranch owners to protect Kenya’s black rhinos from extinction. Lewa is now one of the world’s leading examples of sustainable tourism, re-investing all profits back into projects that support wildlife and community development.
Lewa is so much more than a memorable luxury safari. You can really make a difference to conservation just by staying in one of their exquisite lodges and taking part in their unique range of activities. Game viewing is sensational, accommodation is high-end, activities on offer are exceptional...and it’s all for a good cause. What’s not to love?!
In the 1970’s, the black rhino population in Kenya dropped from 20,000 to just 300. The only way to stop poachers causing black rhino extinction was for private land owners to establish high security sanctuaries. David and Delia Craig, with the instrumental support of Halvor Astrup, dedicated their ranch to rhino protection and spent several years rounding up all the remaining wild rhinos in northern Kenya, founding Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in 1995. Assisted by conservationist Anna Merez as well as a team of 150 highly trained staff, this non-profit conservation and education program has been an enormous success, now covering 251 sqkm of protected, fenced land. Lewa is now home to 11% of Kenya’s black rhinos, 14% of Kenya’s white rhinos and the world’s largest single population of Grevy’s zebra. In 2013, Lewa was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its natural beauty and diverse ecosystems.
70 mammal species have been sighted in Lewa, including the Big 5. Some species are in their infancy, whilst others are prolific. As well as Lewa’s infamous rhinos, look out for lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, a pack of African wild dogs, elephants, reticulated giraffes, Somali ostrich, oryx, gerenuks and Grevy’s zebras as well as colourful birdlife. Lewa’s experienced local staff are always available to share their incredible knowledge of the land and wildlife.
Your choice of activities in Lewa is diverse and all are of a very high standard. Here are some of the activities on offer:
Day and night game drives are unforgettably exciting, hosted by highly trained and knowledgeable guides who take you to the best places to catch sight of the Big 5 and an abundance of other wild animals. A bush walk is also an extraordinary experience as you get up close and on a level with the wildlife, accompanied by local armed guides. Try game viewing from the blind, where you can see many large mammals drinking at the marsh. Bird watching is excellent, with around 350 bird species in the conservancy.
Take a trip to spot colobus monkeys in Ngare Ndare Forest, or try fly-fishing in Lake Rutundu. Fly in an open cockpit biplane around northern Kenya for a bird’s-eye view of how Lewa is supporting wildlife and local communities. You can also go horse riding or on a camel safari across Lewa. If you’re feeling fit, how about jogging through the bush with a Maasai warrior?!
Walk, drive or ride into the bush for a mouth-watering meal set around a roaring fire, entertained by enchanting Maasai dancers. Or simply sit back on your veranda in the evening with a cocktail and watch the beautiful African sun go down. Swimming is divine, due to the location of each pool – for example, you could choose an infinity pool with panoramic views of the grassland plains or a saltwater pool overlooking a waterhole. For a spot of pampering, the lodges offer professional massages, manicures and pedicures. Bush yoga is also a unique experience.
There are 5 unique and exclusive lodges on Lewa, offering privacy, delicious authentic meals, swimming pools and exceptional hospitality. 4 of the lodges are privately run, and one – Lewa Safari Camp - is owned by the conservancy with all profits put back into conservation projects. This is a vital income to the conservancy. To get the most out of your Lewa experience, we suggest you stay in more than one lodge – choose from heavenly thatched cottages or luxurious tented rooms with private verandas and en suite bathrooms. Each lodge rests in its own beautiful and unique setting, with no compromise on quality or service.
January to March and June to September are the dry months. The days are hot and dry and the nights are quite cool. During the rains, Lewa’s camps and lodges are closed (April to May and October to December).
The easiest way to get to Lewa is to fly. From Wilson Airport, Nairobi, take a daily scheduled flight direct to Lewa’s airstrip. You can also book a chartered or private plane. If you prefer to go by road, it’s a 270 km or c.5 hours drive from Nairobi.