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Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

Lewa Downs, some 65 kms north of Nanyuki in an area known as Laikipia, is a 16,000 hectare private ranch with a mixture of cattle and wildlife sharing the land. This unique sanctuary provides a safe haven and habitat for species threatened by the growing human population in surrounding areas. For example, 6% of Kenya's population of endangered Black Rhinoceros and 20% of the world's population of the rare Grevy's Zebra are found within its boundaries. It also houses a research centre for various conservation related wildlife programmes as well as a limited number of safari camps and small lodges.

Lewa Downs is the venue in June each year for the Lewa Downs Marathon and fun runs where sponsored runners can participate alongside some of Kenya's greatest international athletes to raise money for both the wildlife research projects and educational and health programmes for the local population.

The Craig/Douglas family first came to Lewa Downs in 1922, and managed it as a cattle ranch for over 50 years. A passionate man, David Craig, is quoted as requesting to his sons, Ian and Will, that no matter what happened with the family business there would always be room for wildlife, hence the family’s early venture into wildlife tourism.

As the plight of the black rhino became desperate in Africa, the ranch was converted into the Ngare Sergoi Rhino Sanctuary. With the enthusiastic support and funding of co-founder, Anna Merz, the sanctuary operated for more than 10 years. Then in 1995 Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (“Lewa”) was established as a not-for-profit organization.

Lewa is also home to the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), an innovative partnership with communities who have set land aside for wildlife conservation. It provides support to local regions through projects geared towards improving livelihoods and alleviating poverty. Lewa was instrumental in creating the NRT, which has increased the amount of land under integrated conservation management from the original 26,000 acres to now almost 2 million. This has allowed wildlife to begin to migrate once again throughout their historical natural range.

Only three properties offer safaris and only the lodge visitors may enter the reserve. So, when you visit Lewa Conservancy, you will be far from the crowded safari trails and can enjoy the vastness of this beautiful region in tranquillity. The Lewa Conservancy works hard to support many species and especially the rare black and white rhino, as well as Grevy's Zebra. You should also have a good chance of seeing elephant, giraffe, eland, oryx, buffalo, lion and leopard.
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