Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Description

The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy works as a catalyst and model for the conservation of wildlife and its habitat. It does this through the protection and management of species, the initiation and support of community conservation and development programmes, and the education of neighbouring areas in the value of wildlife.

The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is an award-winning catalyst and model for community conservation, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Green List of successful protected areas.

Lewa is the heart of wildlife conservation, sustainable development and responsible tourism in northern Kenya and our successful working model has provided the framework on which many conservation organisations in the region are based. 

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Animals Under Conservation


The black rhino
Starting out with 15 black rhinos in 1984 as the Ngare Sergoi Rhino Sanctuary, Lewa’s rhino population has since risen steadily, making the Conservancy the pioneer rhino conservation success story in Kenya and East Africa.

Over the years, 20 others have been moved to restock previously inhabited areas as well as introduce the species to new suitable and secure habitats.

Rhinos in the country are managed as a metapopulation distributed in parks, reserves and private conservancies. Today, these prehistoric pachyderms are facing two enormous challenges – new horrifying poaching levels and the availability of adequate habitats, with poaching obviously being the most detrimental. The hefty price paid for rhino horn in the black market today has attracted international criminal gangs, turning poaching into a well-funded and sophisticated activity.

In response to these challenges, there are six strategic objectives in the Kenya Black Rhino Strategic and Management Plan, with security and expansion of their habitat receiving the greatest priority. In line with these strategies, Lewa moved 11 black rhinos in 2013 to the contiguous Borana Conservancy to introduce the species where it had long been absent, and in 2014, 10 rhinos were moved to the Northern Rangelands Trust’s Sera Community Conservancy.

In September 2014, Lewa and Borana took another bold move and begun to remove the fence separating the two areas to create one conservation landscape for the benefit of the rhino. With the fence removed, this landscape now tops 93,000 acres and is one of the biggest private rhino reserves in Kenya. By January 2017, the landscape had a combined black rhino population of 83 as well as 74 white rhinos, which constitute 15% of Kenya’s entire rhino population.

This unprecedented step by Lewa and Borana was the first time in Kenya that two privately owned and run organisations had undertaken such a move for the benefit of one of the country’s most threatened species.


Rhinos return to Samburu

In 2015, critically endangered black rhino were reintroduced to a native land that they had last inhabited over 30 years ago. The move of the rhino to NRT’s Sera Community Conservancy signalled a shift in Kenyan conservation, with the people of Sera becoming the first community to be responsible for the care and protection of an endangered species.

The white rhino
74 southern white rhinos also live on the Conservancy.

The white rhino’s name is said to be a mistranslation between the Dutch and Afrikaans words meaning wide. As opposed to the hooked lip of the black rhino (used to pluck leaves and fruit from trees), the white rhino has a wide, squared-off lip for grazing along the ground like a lawnmower.

The white rhino was introduced in Kenya after the decimation of the native black rhino population as a result of poaching. Even though not a native species, it has thrived in Kenya, and the country currently hosts about 400 individuals.

Lewa’s success in anti-poaching
Sadly the illegal killing of wildlife continues to plague the continent, putting immense pressure on conservancies and other wildlife areas with rhino and elephant populations. As an exception however, Lewa’s efforts in gathering of intelligence, increased use of technology, staff motivation and most importantly, greater investment to our neighbouring communities paid off and in the past three years, the Conservancy has not lost any rhinos to poachers.

What next for the rhino?
To ensure the survival of this iconic species, many agree the following steps should be taken:

  • Concerted stakeholder involvement to help reduce the illegal demand for rhino horn through awareness creation to the consumers
  • Elevated protection and security
  • Maintenance and expansion of suitable and secure habitats.

 The Grevy’s Zebra

Lewa’s more than 300 resident Grevy’s zebra represent a significant proportion of the remaining global population.
Grevy’s zebra are taller than the plains zebra with large, rounded ears and thin, elegant stripes. They have a wide black stripe running the length of their back and a conspicuously white belly and rump – giving rise to their Kiswahili name “Punda kanga” or white rumped zebra. The plains zebra live in close family groups or herdstaking for safety in numbers. Conversely, Grevy’s stallions are solitary and territorial, and there is little cohesion between the female and bachelor herds.

Lewa currently hosts 11% of the global wild population remaining in East Africa. The Lewa Grevy’s zebra population, unlike the rest found in the wilds of northern Kenya, is lucky to not face problems such as competition for resources, mainly water and pasture, from livestock. This sub-population is critical in the global context as it is one of the populations surviving inside a protected area. It is not faced with negative anthropogenic factors that threaten other populations that survive outside protected areas in northern Kenya.

The threat from predation
Lewa’s population main threat is however from predation. The Grevy’s rangeland often overlaps that of the lion and the Research Department monitors lion kills carefully to ensure that the Grevy’s are not suffering disproportionate losses. Using faecal analysis it has been shown that Grevy’s zebra are selected in greater proportion to their availability – meaning that the percentage of Grevy’s zebra in lion diet was higher than the percentage of Grevy’s zebra as a proportion of the prey base.

With our partners – Marwell Wildlife, The Grevy’s Zebra Trust and Al Ain Zoo – the Research Department continues to carry out a monitoring programme for this endangered species with key focus on reduction of mortality rates, survival, recruitment rates of foals and range improvement.

The future
Grevy’s zebra are important environmentally, economically and politically for Lewa and Kenya alike. They perform environmental services in dry rangelands that ensure healthy grazing for both livestock and wildlife. They are part of Kenya’s tourism product, offering a unique wildlife sighting. They are an iconic emblem of peace in areas where communities look to them culturally as an indicator of health and prosperity. As an endangered species, Lewa’s Grevy’s zebra will continue to be a focus of attention and a source of information guiding conservation not only on the Conservancy but beyond its boundaries in future.

The Grevy's Zebra
The Grevy’s Zebra


Lewa is home to between 100 – 500 elephant, depending on the season of the year. The Conservancy is happy to offer a safe refuge to elephant during heightened cases of insecurity in other areas.

A most beloved animal in Kenya, the elephant serves as a symbol of national pride and the country’s impressive beauty. The elephant’s existence continues to remain threatened by poaching, and in northern Kenya, Lewa is working with its partners and communities to help protect this iconic species, while securing habitat for it to thrive.


Other Wildlife

Lewa boasts high wildlife densities and is home to the Big Five as well as other commonly occurring species such as the giraffe, ostrich, impala and over 400 bird species.

Predators on Lewa

Lions: Lewa is home to 25 lions. As habitat loss and conflict continues to affect these iconic predators across the continent, protecting their habitat remains key to their survival. Lewa actively monitors its resident prides to establish the population dynamics, movement patterns to neighbouring conservation or community areas, as well as impact on prey species such as the endangered Grevy’s zebra.

Wild dogs: Often, Lewa plays hosts to a pack of the critically endangered wild dog, also known as the African painted dog. The wild dogs have suffered severe decline in range and are now found in small pockets throughout the continent.

Cheetahs: Lewa provides ideal cheetah habitat with its open plains and extensive savannah. The current population of 13 includes a female recently spotted with newborn cubs!

Leopards: Occasionally, one might get lucky and spot the ever elusive leopard! The current population of the stealth cat is estimated at slightly more than 10.

Northern Specialty Species
Northern specialty species are only found North of the equator and have an ability to thrive in hot, dry, arid country. There are five of them: the reticulated giraffe, the Somali ostrich, the Beisa oryx, the gerenuk and the Grevy’s zebra. Lewa happens to be one of the places in Kenya were can see all of those five species.

Lewa Birds

Bird life on Lewa is prolific – from the impressive ostrich to the soaring falcons, you will see some of the most hidden gems on you safari at the top of the trees.

Visit Lewa

With gentle rolling hills and natural, unspoilt beauty, Lewa offers guests the trip of a lifetime with its unforgettable combination of scenery, superb game viewing, excellent hospitality and conservation education.

Lewa has one of the highest wildlife densities in Kenya including 12% of the country’s black and white rhinos, and the world’s single largest population of Grevy’s zebra. The Conservancy is also the best place to spot herds of elephants and buffalo, giraffes, lions, cheetahs, more than 400 species of birds and if lucky, a pack of wild dogs!

More than just a safari…

Lewa is extremely proud of its continued practice of responsible tourism where funds raised are reinvested back into our core programmes. Therefore by visiting Lewa you will not only be signing up for a great African adventure, you will also directly contribute towards wildlife conservation and community development.

Funds from tourism raise a third of Lewa’s annual revenue, crucial funds that are used in our various conservation and development outreaches.

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Things to Do

The diversity of activities available on Lewa is one of the many things that make for a most unforgettable experience. Guests are spoilt for choice here on the Conservancy. From the moment your aircraft lands, the adventure begins.

We have a team of local dedicated staff who are more than ready to share their intimate knowledge of this land and its wildlife. They will also ensure that your stay at Lewa is both comfortable and memorable.

Activities on the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy:
Game Drives
Wildlife variety and densities on Lewa make any drive an adventure. Lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, impala, buffalo, black and white rhino. The list is long and the experience memorable. All drives are done by local experienced guides in open four-wheel drive vehicles.
Bird Watching
For the keen bird watcher, the sight and sound of the close to 350 bird species is an absolute delight. Do bring along your bird book and you will enjoy marking the birds off your list.
Bush Walks
Viewing wildlife on foot, accompanied by our local armed guides, provides an up close and personal interaction with the wildlife and flora and fauna available. This experience is one of the areas that make Lewa a truly unique safari destination.
Massage & Beauty Treatments
Viewing wildlife on foot, accompanied by our local armed guides, provides an up close and personal interaction with the wildlife and flora and fauna available. This experience is one of the areas that make Lewa a truly unique safari destination.
Game Viewing from the Blinds
Sit quietly in one of our wildlife blind and watch elephant, impala, waterbuck and many other come to drink water in the nearby marsh.
The best way to watch the African sun go down in the horizon is with a cocktail in your hand!
Bush Meals
Drive, walk or ride to a secluded area in the wild. The mouth-watering local dishes, the roaring bonfire for chilly evenings and enchanting Maasai dancers are recipe for a memorable meal.
Educational Tours on the History and Day-to-Day Operations of the Conservancy
Whether it’s a visit to the pre-historic archeological site, a local school, water project or feeding a baby rhino there are plenty of activities that will peak your interest for a behind the scenes look at the conservancy operations.
Extra Activities:

  • Visits to the Maasai Cultural Village
  • Visit to Lake Rutundu on Mt. Kenya for a fly-fishing excursion
  • Day trips to the adjoining Ngare Ndare Forest to look for the elusive Columbus monkey population and to learn about the indigenous flora and its local uses
  • Wilderness Trails hosts and flies the only open cockpit biplane in East Africa which will take you around the conservation areas of northern Kenya. It is a truly magical experience and very much returns you to the “Out of Africa” era. The pilot, Will Craig, has over 5,000 hours experiance flying mostly in the Lewa area and can show you how the conservation project is improving and positively affecting the local communities. For more information on the bi-plane, please contact wilderness@lewa.org.

The Lewa Experience

It takes only a few moments after arriving on Lewa, the heart of northern Kenya, to appreciate the extraordinary beauty and staggering biodiversity that has thrived in this area for centuries. However, beneath the pristine landscape and flourishing animal populations, this place exists as the result of the commitment, generosity, vision and compassion of human beings that have seen the potential for the shared sustainable existence of people and wildlife.

Lewa offers diversity, in many forms: diverse wildlife, experiences, and impacts. A trip to Lewa can mean traditional Safari luxury and grandeur, or it can me quiet nights by a fire place telling stories, followed by days next to a swimming pool gazing out at the gorgeous landscape.

A visit can mean adventure and up-close animal encounters on horseback, or observations as some of the world’s most widely respected conservationists carry out their work. It can involve singing and dancing with enthusiastic and boisterous Kenya school children and visits to organic farming operations that have been tended for generations.

Each person linked with Lewa has a different connection to the place. We invite you to send a description of your “Lewa Experience” to info@lewa.org for inclusion on the website.

Travel Tips (getting to Lewa)

Arriving in Kenya

You will need a visa to enter Kenya. Visas can be obtained from the Kenyan Embassy in your country prior to flying and usual take five working days to process. Alternatively single entry visas can be purchased at immigration on arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International airport in Nairobi.
Visitors will need to show return tickets, a clean page on a passport valid at least three months beyond the date you intend leaving Kenya.

Many international airlines fly to Nairobi daily from major destinations. There are regular flights from London on Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Kenya Airways and from Amsterdam on KLM.

  • www.britishairways.com
  • www.kenya-airways.com
  • www.klm.com

Getting to Lewa

The simplest way of reaching Lewa is by flying direct from Nairobi (Wilson Airport) with SafariLink or Air Kenya. There are daily scheduled flights to the Conservancy.
For up to date fares and bookings please visit www.safarilink-kenya.com http://www.safarilink-kenya.comor www.airkenya.com.

Please note that, as part of its ongoing corporate social responsibility programme, Safarilink donates $5 for each passenger into or out of Lewa to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. So every time you fly Safarilink, you are making a contribution to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy!

The Lewa airstrip also allows private or chartered planes to land and deliver guests. There are a few private charter companies you can contact in and around Nairobi:

  • Tropic Air, the only charter company based in northern Kenya, info@tropicairkenya.com, +254 / 722 207 300 or visit www.tropicairkenya.com <cite></cite>
  • Boskovic Air Charters, Nairobi based, operations@boskovicaircharters.com,+254 / 722 203 852 or visit www.boskovicaircharters.com
  • East African Air Charters, Nairobi based, admin@eaaircharters.co.ke, or visit www.eaaircharters.co.ke
  • Yellow Wings, Nairobi based, info@yellowwings.com, +254 / 20 606 313 or visit www.yellowwings.com

You can also get to Lewa by road. Only four hours drive from Nairobi, head out through the Thika road. Pass through Thika, Makuyu and Karatina. Turn right before Nyeri Town (about 16km before the town there are signs to Buffalo Springs and Samburu). Pass through Naro Moru, Nanyuki, and Timau. Approximately 15km after Timau is the Meru/Isiolo junction. Turn left at this junction heading towards Isiolo. Approx 3km further on at the bottom of the hill on the left hand side is the main entrance to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.

Transport & Safari Drives

To preserve the wildlife natural environment and keep our guests’ exclusive experience, minibuses are not permitted within the Conservancy. All game drives are done in four wheel drive vehicles provided by Lewa, or the selected safari companies accompanied by Lewa’s trained guides.

All the camps and lodges on Lewa are powered by 220V generators. You will be able to charge your camera batteries without any problems. The electric sockets are the British 3-pins standards sockets.

No immunisations are required by law to enter Kenya if you are travelling directly from Europe or the US. If you are traveling from a country where Yellow Fever is present you will need to prove you have had the innoculation.

Several vaccinations are highly recommended, they include:

  • Yellow Fever
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis A
  • Diptheria

It is also recommended that you are up to date with your polio and tetanus vaccinations. Contact a travel clinic at least three months before you plan to travel.

  • Malaria – Due to its privileged location, Lewa is a low risk malaria zone. Please consult your travel doctor when travelling to East Africa for vaccinations required. Visit http://www.traveldoctor.co.uk/ for more information.

It is essential to have medical insurance whilst visiting Kenya, and also recommended to take out Flying Doctor cover.

Be Prepared

Lewa is situated at 4,500 to 6,500 feet (1,400-2,000 meters) above sea level. The days are usually hot and dry and the nights quite cool. Clothing should be light for the day and warm for the evening game drives and sundowners followed by the night game drive home. A windcheater or fleece is essential, as are good walking shoes.
Sun protection – hat, sunglasses and high factor sun cream is recommended.

If you would like more information about travelling to Kenya and to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, please contact us at info@lewa.org.

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Map

Where to Stay in Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

  1. Lewa house
  2. Kifaru
  3. Lewa safari camp
  4. Lewa Wilderness
  5. Sirikoi
  6. Camel safaris

Lewa house

Lewa House is the home of Sophie and Calum Macfarlane; Sophie being the grand-daughter of David Craig. They share their home with up to 18 guests. Here are Sophie & Calum to say more…..

“Lewa is a unique place and has inspired many with its combination of stunning scenery with some of the best game viewing in Africa. But more than that, it is the magic of the connection between the people, the wildlife and the place. Staying with us at Lewa House, you become part of that connection.

Our home is elegant but informal, with extraordinary views stretching across the wilderness of Northern Kenya. We are endeavouring to be as sustainable as possible and are 100% solar powered. We harvest rainwater, and re-cycle our grey water. Our buildings blend into the landscape and many of our vegetables come from our Biodynamic garden.

The heart of the house is a large dramatic thatched room where we sit round the fire most evenings, sharing our experiences of the day. The accommodation consists of cottages spread through-out the grounds. We have two types of cottages: three family cottages which each have two en-suite rooms with a shared veranda. Their thatched roofs and rough-hewn hardwood furniture offer a glimpse to the Africa of old. We also have four ‘Earth pod’ Cottages whose novel architecture blends into the hillside and their simple, elegant décor compliments their expansive views. Their ‘star-baths’ let you luxuriate in a hot bath with the starlit sky as your roof.

Being very centrally located we have wonderful access to the wild valleys to the north, which we enjoy exploring on foot whilst being very close to the wildlife dense area around the swamp. Young and old are all welcome.

Lewa house
Lewa house


Kifaru is the Swahili word for rhino. The house was built by one of Lewa’s long standing donors with no compromise to quality or standards. The house is perched on top of a hill with an endless panorama of the surrounding countryside and distant views of the snow-capped peak of Mount Kenya.

The lounge area is as spacious as the vast plains it overlooks. It provides a comfortable sitting area where huge fires are lit in the hearth casting a ruby glow over everything. The dining area includes a magnificent table crafted from ancient dhow wood and is the perfect place to share a meal with family and friends. A sky blue infinity pool adds to the breathtaking beauty of the place.

A short walk from the lounge area through the lush gardens are six individual cottages that can comfortably house up to twelve people. Each cottage has large windows looking out on stunning views and furnished with beautiful colonial style furniture. The windows are also fitted with stylish blinds that can be used to ensure guests’ privacy. Canopied double beds and en-suite bathrooms make for a comfortable stay at the house and guests are rejuvenated for an exciting day’s activities.

Lewa Safari Camp

Lewa Safari Camp has a stunning location within Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, with outstanding game viewing, and spectacular views to Mt. Kenya to the south and arid lowlands to the north. Each tent has a thatched roof, verandah and full en suite bathroom, very much in the ‘Lewa’ style. The central areas have exquisite gardens with a large sunny verandah and swimming pool to enjoy during the day, and cosy log fires in the lounge and dining room for the more chilly evenings.

Lewa safari camp
Lewa safari camp


  •     Best Community Safari Property in Africa – The Safari Awards (Good Safari Guide), 2011
  •     Bronze Eco-rating Certification – Ecotourism Kenya, 2010/2011
  •     Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards Top 20 – 2010 & 2011
  •     Top 10 Hideaways for a Royal Honeymoon – The Telegraph, 2010

For more information on Lewa Safari Camp, and to make a booking, please contact:

Cheli & Peacock Mgt Ltd
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: +254-(020)-6004053/4 or 6003090/1
Mob: +254 (0)733 490234 / (0)724 255374
Fax: + 254-(020)-6004050 / 6003066
www.lewasafaricamp.com or www.thecpportfolio.com

Lewa Wilderness

Lewa Wilderness sleeps 22 people housed in nine beautifully decorated cottages, featuring fireplaces and verandas, and is the home of Will and Emma Craig. Situated in the wildlife-rich eastern corner of the Conservancy, it is the Craig family home where guests have been entertained in luxury for the past 30 years.

Visitors can relax by the fire in Will and Emma’s cosy sitting room and share meals around a long banquet table in the open-air dining room. Natural springs, home-raised livestock, and a 5-acre organic garden are transformed by skilled chefs into healthy and delicious food.

The infinity pool is refreshing, the stables are full of horses for guests to ride, and the clay tennis court comes equipped with both racquets and balls.

Lewa Wilderness hosts and flies the only open cockpit biplane in East Africa, which will take you around the conservation areas of northern Kenya. It is a truly magical experience and returns you to the “Out of Africa” era. The pilot, Will Craig, has over 5,000 hours of experience, flying mostly in the Lewa area and can show you how the conservation project is improving and positively affecting the local communities.

Lewa Wilderness
Lewa Wilderness


Sirikoi is a spectacular game lodge situated in the centre of Lewa on the northern slopes of Mount Kenya. Surrounded by an acacia grove and overlooking a natural waterhole fed from a mountain spring Sirikoi offers some of the best game viewing in East Africa.

Evening sundowners with incredible views of distant mountain ranges; delicious meals served under the stars next to a roaring fire and the sounds of animals in camp late at night are just a small part of this magical experience.

Offering unparalleled hospitality in breathtaking surroundings, Sirikoi is one of the outstanding lodges in Kenya where guests will be part of a unique African adventure.

Sirikoi has four luxury tented rooms that have been built and designed by Willie and Sue Roberts who have run tailor-made safaris throughout East Africa for over thirty years. Each of these spacious rooms has views of the waterhole from the veranda, a living area with a fireplace and an elegant bathroom with a Victorian bath and a shower. There is a tasteful thatched dining area with open log fires and a large deck area with a superb outlook. A beautifully designed 18m pool is the perfect spot to watch game and birdlife.

A secluded two-bedroom cottage, made from wood, thatch and stone and with a large deck area is situated in a private corner of the camp near the wetlands where elephant and buffalo are regular visitors.

Sirikoi house is a self-contained three-bedroomed house that can sleep up to six people in stunning style and comfort. It has its own kitchen, dining room and living spaces.


Camel safaris

Nothing ventured nothing gained, and a camel safari taking you through the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy with its abundant wildlife and their habitat is surely an experience of a lifetime.

Il N’gwesi, where a traditional way of life is in harmony with its wilderness and wildlife provides a cultural aspect and incredible scenery that will be a memory not to be forgotten. Further to the North the forested and watered mountains of the Mathew’s Range dominates the vast arid area of some of the wildest and unspoiled wilderness of Kenya. The safari will take you through this area and beyond and will lift your spirits as only true adventure can.

Each safari is uniquely different depending on the route taken, and can be 3-14 days. The maximum number of people on each trip is 6 and each safari is exclusive to your group. Comfortable camping facilities, excellent cuisine and experienced guides will ensure your well being on your safari.

This is a walking safari but riding camels are available when the terrain allows. You do not need to be superbly fit, however a sense of adventure and a little resilience is all you need to enjoy your camel trip.

What You Need to Bring

Sirikoi house is a self-contained three-bedroomed house that can sleep up to six people in stunning style and comfort. It has its own kitchen, dining room and living spaces.

Cool bush clothes, a set of warm clothes, sweater, light rain coat, two pairs of comfortable walking shoes or boots, hat, sun cream, insect repellent and a water bottle all packed in a soft bag. You must have your own comprehensive travel insurance and please anticipate staff gratuities if you are happy with their services. Beer and wine are provided but bring any preferred spirits of liqueurs.

Camel safaris
Camel safaris

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Contacts

Attraction Type: Wildlife
Category: Wildlife Conservancy
Region: Mt. Kenya
City / Town: Isiolo
Telephone: +254 20 232 6170
Entrance Fee: No