The Great Rift Valley is situated to the south-west of the region, while majestic Mount Kenya resides in the south-east. Laikipia has been gaining in popularity as a safari destination for many years!
Within the county, there are several separate conservancies and ranches, each offering a habitat for a range of wildlife. Geographical features comprise high rippling plains, rushing streams and rivers, woodlands and scrublands, lush riverine forests, and rolling hills. And animal sightings are boosted by close tracking of species such as lion and rhino, enabling guests to the area to take part in conservation activities!
In addition to lion and rhino, Laikipia boasts over two thousand elephants and lots of leopard! Other predators here are cheetah, hyena, jackal, aardwolf, fox and wild dog, while the herbivore count includes a quarter of Africa’s Grevy’s zebra population, giraffe, gazelle, eland, impala, oryx, waterbuck, and many more – in fact, the region is home to 85 mammal species!
The birdlife of Laikipia is seriously impressive too. The official April 2013 checklist records over 500 species here! Ostrich, pelicans, grebes, cormorants, darter, finfoot, bitterns, herons, egrets, storks, ibises, spoonbills, flamingos, kites, eagles, guineafowl, partridge, plovers, sandpipers, cuckoos, nightjars, bee-eaters, hornbills… this is a birder’s paradise and we urge you to pack your binoculars!
Laikipia is also renowned for its conservation efforts, both past and ongoing. Worth a special mention is the Northern White Rhino Sanctuary, in Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Here, three of the world’s remaining northern whites are kept under constant surveillance, initially in specially built bomas with access to a paddock, then within a larger and semi-wild enclosure.
The Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, also in Ol Pejeta Conservancy, does sterling work too. It is a rescue centre for over forty chimps – some of these are confiscated pets, while others are orphans, having lost their parents to the bush meat trade. Living in two troops either side of the Ewaso Nyiro River, these animals are well looked after and many travellers to the Conservancy enjoy a visit.
It is possible to visit the Rhino Sanctuary as well, but overall activities in Laikipia focus on game drives and game walks. Tracking is popular too – and if you are a keen runner and you happen to be in Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in June, you could take part in the Lewa Marathon! This event aims to raise funds for the excellent conservation efforts that are ongoing in Laikipia.