Laikipia lies on the threshold of Kenya’s wild northern rangelands. It is an enormous area of 9,500km² forming part of the wider 56,000km² Ewaso ecosystem, stretching from the slopes of Mount Kenya in the south east, to the edge of the Great Rift Valley in Northern Kenya.
Laikipia is larger than all of Kenya’s national parks and reserves except Tsavo. Cutting across the vast open plains are the tributaries of the Ewaso Nyiro River – one of Kenya’s largest river systems. Lying in the rain shadow of Mount Kenya and despite its elevation (1200 – 2285 meters above sea level), Laikipia is dry and cool.
Many things differentiate Laikipia from the rest of Kenya, but possibly the most significant is how people from different cultures and backgrounds have come together to support and undertake conservation through their own organization, the Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF). Conservation in its broadest sense is carried out to support the management and sustainable use of natural resources as well as their protection and restoration. In this way, conservation supports the livelihoods of the people and wildlife.
Laikipia is one of Africa’s most exciting wilderness safari and wildlife tourism destinations. With its abundant wildlife and spectacular scenery, visitors can experience a classic safari, largely free of the constraints that apply in national parks and reserves. Night game drives, guided nature walks, riding and cycling are just a few of the exhilarating activities on offer. High levels of community involvement allow visitors privileged access to the cultures and customs of the Mukogodo Maasai, Samburu, Pokot and other peoples. A wide choice of stylish and unique accommodation is available.
Increasingly acknowledged as one of the most important areas for biodiversity in Kenya, Laikipia continues to record rising or stable wildlife numbers, in contrast to a declining trend throughout much of the country. Wildlife population densities in the Laikipia region now rank second to the internationally renowned Maasai Mara ecosystem, whilst the diversity of large mammals is higher than in any other part of Kenya.
The Ewaso ecosystem is home to the second largest population of elephant in Kenya, with over 6,000. Laikipia hosts the highest populations of endangered species, such as black rhino, Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, and the only viable population of Lelwel hartebeest in the country, as well as Africa’s only expanding population of wild dog. Laikipia’s biodiversity is globally unique, yet the it is not a protected area. Its wildlife is entirely sustained by private and communal landowners. A Safari in Laikipia is adventurous and memorable.
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