Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

As part of the sanctuaries on the Laikipia Plateau, Lewa Conservancy was established as a colonial cattle ranch in the 1920s. A portion was set aside as a wildlife sanctuary in 1983, and the remainder of the 263-sq-km (102-sq-mile) ranch followed 10 years later. Since then, the wildlife sanctuary has also been awarded guardianship of the contigu ous state-owned Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve. As well as another Laikipia refuge for both black and white rhino, Lewa Conservancy is also one of the most important strongholds for the endangered Grevy’s zebra, with an estimated 380 individuals representing some 20 per cent of the global wild population.

The Conservancy a good place to see the very localized sitatunga antelope, which has thrived since being trans located from Saiwa Swamp National Park to a permanent swamp in Lewa in the 1980s. Aside from these specials, Lewa Consevancy offers good general game viewing, with high wildlife densities and is home to the Big Five and more than 400 species of birds. Lewa has a fluctuating population of 100 to 400 elephant which have traditionally used the conservancy as a dry-season feeding ground as they migrate between the ecosystems of Lewa, Ngare Ndare and Mount Kenya

There are five accommodation options and expertly guided day and night game drives are available, along with guided bush walks. Lewa Conservancy also houses an important Acheulean hand-axe site, where an abundance of hand tools made from volcanic rocks have been found, dating to around 800,000 years ago. Some of these are on display in the Meru Museum (see p333). Lewa is run as a non-profit?making organization, with proceeds going to conservation, local community projects and economic development.