Laikipia District is a vast 8000 sq km plateau, one of 71 districts of Kenya located on the Equator. It stretches from the Great Rift Valley to the magnificent escarpments which descend into the Northern Frontier District. Laikipia National Park, north west of Mount Kenya, has all the wildlife but none of the crowds found in the Masai Mara. Some of the country’s very best eco-lodges are located on this rolling plateau of savannah, seasonal streams and bush.
The Laikipia plains are covered by open grasslands, basalt hills, lonely kopjes and dense cedar forests fed by the Ewaso Nyiro and Ewaso Narok rivers. This spectacular region is often considered the gateway to Kenya's wild Northern Frontier country.
The Laikipia District is regarded as one of Africa’s most remarkable conservation success stories. Once an area with a high density of fenced cattle ranches and farms, it has been transformed, in co-operation with the owners into an area of beautiful wilderness. Here, protected game roams freely and safely.
Since the fences of the old cattle stations were removed, Laikipia's unique eco-system, large wildlife population, and endangered species attracted the formation of some of the best luxury lodges in Kenya. Laikipia has established itself into a very wild but exclusive safari destination.
Roads are few and far between, and public transport is limited, but guests get to traverse the area on foot, horse or camel, offering an original take on a safari.
Laikipia has become a focus for many conservation efforts, and some ranches have become breeding sanctuaries for endangered species.
Despite Laikipia's unique biodiversity, it is remarkably not a protected area. Laikipia's wildlife is entirely sustained by private and communal landowners.
Laikipia forms part of the Ewaso ecosystem, which is larger than all of Kenya's protected areas except Tsavo. This ecosystem is home to the second largest population of elephant in Kenya. Laikipia is the one district that continues to record increasing wildlife populations. It hosts the highest populations of endangered species in the country. It has 8 rhino sanctuaries, which together hold more than half of Kenya's black rhino population.
Laikipia is also a safe haven for endangered Grevy's zebra, reticulated giraffe and the only viable population of Lelwel hartebeest in Kenya. Predators such as lion, leopard, cheetah, and a large population of wild dog roam this large area.
The Laikipia region is ranked second to the internationally renowned Masai Mara ecosystem, but sees a fraction of the tourists. There are no structured roads and most of the game activities are conducted without the use of vehicles, offering an entirely different perspective.
Kenya lies on the equator and has a warm, tropical climate, but factors such as altitude and regional location can affect climate. Kenya’s daytime temperatures average between 20 and 28 degrees Celsius, but it is warmer on the coast.
Due to its positioning on the equator, Kenya does not have a specific summer and winter, but seasons can be distinctly divided into dry and wet seasons.
During the dry season (June to October) the sky is clear and the sun is shining, although these include the coldest months of the year. Early mornings can drop to around 12 degrees, so it is advised to pack warm clothing as morning game drives in open vehicles will be cold.
During the wet season (November to May) daytime temperatures vary between 24 and 30 degrees Celsius, depending on altitude. A period of ‘short rains’ occur between November and December, while the main rainy season, called the ‘long rains’ arrive after a short dry spell, in March April and May.
Sabuk Lodge is a small lodge consisting of 9 rooms in a spectacular clifftop location offering an intimate and original experience. The lodge serves gourmet cuisine and deep, stone bath tubs for relaxation with a view.
Sanctuary at Ol Lentille is located in a private conservancy within the Naibunga Conservancy. This is a boutique destination that offers a very private service. Guests enjoy their own private house and safari vehicle as well as a personal butler, valet and Maasai guide.
Sosian Ranch is a beautifully restored colonial style African ranch built in the 1940s. It has 7 cottages in the tropical garden overlooking Mount Kenya and miles of unspoiled African bush. Some favourite activities include jumping off the waterfall, riding lessons and short treks on the trained horses, camel rides, fishing and archery.
Guests travelling to Kenya for a game-viewing holiday will opt for either a ‘fly-in-fly’ or a ‘fly-in-drive’ safari, which will determine whether they make use of air or road transfers to get to their destination.
All guests will enter Kenya at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, the capital city. This airport is the travel portal for Kenya and can get very busy, so guests will often continue with their domestic flights from Wilson airport, which is 18km away.
Depending on the safari destination, guests will either connect with a charter flight from Wilson or Jomo Kenyatta airports to the reserve, or they will embark on a road journey from Nairobi to the reserve.
Guests visiting a lodge within the Laikipia Plateau National Park will take a scheduled flight from Nairobi to a local airstrip, followed by a road transfer to the lodge.