Kenya, Wildlife Tours

The Diverse Wildlife of the Laikipia Plateau

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Tailor-Made Tour
12 Days
From 9960
Big Cat Safari
Conservation and Rewilding
Luxury
Off The Beaten Track

Tour Introduction

12 Days from  9960 per adult. Prices based on rates applicable at the time of costing which may vary. Please ask for a definitive quote

For this itinerary, we focus on the lesser-known Laikipia Plateau: a conservation powerhouse, biodiversity hotspot and much less visited than the popular parks of the south. The conventional Big Five (lion, elephants, black rhino, Cape buffalo and leopard) are all in abundance, plus you can find the hard to come by Northern Five (Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, beisa oryx, reticulated giraffe and gerenuk). Wild dog are making a comeback plus this is quickly becoming one of the world’s best places to see that most elusive of big cats: the black panther.

This beautiful area of rolling hills, scrub woodland, granite outcrops and pasture spreads to the north, east and west from the foothills of Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Range. Comprising of a series of privately owned conservancies, including Ol Pejeta and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, this is a conservation success story. What were once ranches have been transformed collectively into a critical mosaic of wildlife habitats under protection, intertwined with grazing land still traditionally used by pastoralists.

Endangered species such as Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe and Africa’s once heavily persecuted painted dog, have all prospered in response to the growing conservation initiatives in the region. Perhaps the most publicised conservation struggle has been the plight of the northern white rhino, with its last two living individuals anywhere in the world taking refuge within Ol Pejeta Conservancy. The chance to come up close, face to face with these two individuals is a chance to look extinction in the eye and reflect, and to learn about how we can try to avoid repeating the same mistakes going forwards.

Lessons have already been learned, and subsequently actioned by determined scientists, conservationists, rangers and the local communities that have come together to ensure that the black rhinoceros does not drift toward the same fate as its northern white cousin. In fact, the black rhino’s future has been steered in the opposite direction. Laikipia has one of the continent’s healthiest populations of black rhino. In Ol Pejeta for example, there were four individuals in the late 1980’s and are now over 150 within the conservancy.

Another exhilarating highlight of this itinerary is the chance to see incredibly rare black leopards at Laikipia Wilderness Camp. These melanistic colour variants of the leopard have become regular visitors to the rocky outcrops surrounding this fantastic camp. There are thought to be at least five known individuals that frequent the Laikipia area, with one female in particular that has become rather habituated to the presence of humans, making for once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities of the elusive ‘black panther’.

The lodges and camps we have selected for this tour are quite simply stunning, providing a luxurious way of experiencing an adventure that’s absolutely packed with wildlife, in this more unfamiliar, yet burgeoning safari hotspot of East Africa.  These lodges always sell-out fast, so best to book at least six months ahead for the best chance of availability.

Full Itinerary

Price from  9960 per adult. Based on sharing double / twin rooms
Day 1
Nairobi

Arrive at Nairobi and met by our representative at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Transfer to the Tamarind Tree Hotel.

Staying at Tamarind Tree Nairobi. Includes Breakfast.

Day 2
Nairobi to Laikipia

After breakfast you'll be picked up for your transfer to Wilson Airport, from where you'll fly to Nanyuki Airstrip in Laikipia County. Met on arrival by Laikipia Wilderness Camp and transfer to the camp (1.5hr drive). Staying in Laikipia Wilderness Camp for the following three nights.

Staying at Laikipia Wilderness Camp. Includes All Meals.

Day 3
Laikipia

Full day to enjoy Laikipia Wilderness Camp and its excursions, game drives and other activities.

Staying at Laikipia Wilderness Camp. Includes All Meals.

Day 4
Laikipia

Full day to enjoy Laikipia Wilderness Camp and its excursions, game drives and other activities.

Staying at Laikipia Wilderness Camp. Includes All Meals.

Day 5
Laikipia to Lewa

After breakfast, transfer by private vehicle (1.5hrs) to Nanyuki. You will be met by staff from Lewa Wilderness Lodge from where they will drive you to Lewa (1.5hrs). The next four nights will be spent at Lewa Wilderness Lodge.

Staying at Lewa Wilderness Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 6
Lewa

Full day to enjoy Lewa Wilderness Lodge, its excursions, game drives and other activities.

Staying at Lewa Wilderness Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 7
Lewa

Full day to enjoy Lewa Wilderness Lodge, its excursions, game drives and other activities.

Staying at Lewa Wilderness Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 8
Lewa

Full day to enjoy Lewa Wilderness Lodge, its excursions, game drives and other activities.

Staying at Lewa Wilderness Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 9
Lewa to Ol Pejeta

Transfer from Lewa back to Nanyuki. Another representative will meet you and complete your transfer to Ol Pejeta Bush Camp (1.5hrs). You will be staying at Ol Pejeta for the next three nights.

Staying at Ol Pejeta Bush Camp. Includes All Meals.

Day 10
Ol Pejeta

Full day to enjoy Ol Pejeta Bush Camp, its excursions, game drives and other activities.

Staying at Ol Pejeta Bush Camp. Includes All Meals.

Day 11
Ol Pejeta

Full day to enjoy Ol Pejeta Bush Camp, its excursions, game drives and other activities.

Staying at Ol Pejeta Bush Camp. Includes All Meals.

Day 12
Ol Pejeta to Nairobi

Take a short drive to Kamok Airstrip and fly back to Wilson Airport in Nairobi. A private vehicle will transfer you to the International Airport in time for your onward connecting flight.

Includes No Meals.

Tour Accommodation

Kenya Nairobi

Tamarind Tree Nairobi

Overview

Tamarind Tree Nairobi is conveniently located less than a ten minutes’ drive from Wilson Airport, the regional airport of Kenya’s capital. It is a modern, clean hotel with good facilities and dining options. Wilson airport serves the smaller airports and airstrips that are the main access points to national parks and private reserves, as well as safari lodges.

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
Yes
Rooms
160
Facilities

Restaurant, lounge and bar, coffee shop, 20m outdoor swimming pool, adjoining children's pool, fitness centre/gym.

Room types include standard room, superior suite, junior suite, executive suite and family suite. All rooms have a king size bed or twin beds, in-room safe, flat-screen TV, international/USB plugs, rain shower, blackout curtains, air conditioning, work desk and chair, complimentary tea, coffee and water.

Optional Activities

Sheldrick elephant orphanage, Nairobi National Park, Giraffe Centre, Karen Blixen Museum

Kenya Central Highlands and Laikipia

Laikipia Wilderness Camp

Overview

Ol Donyo Lomboro is located in Central Laikipia with a most spectacular variety of landscapes. The low-lying land around the Ewaso Nyiro River is bordered by ridges dotted with ancient dry forest remnants. In contrast, the plateaus of the western ridges which signal the edge of the great rift valley, form flat grassy plains with brilliant escarpment views.

Within this 70,000-acre Landscape, Laikipia Expeditions has two camps; Laikipia Wilderness Camp and Laikipia River Camp. Both Camps are designed to provide an authentic safari experience while contributing to the local area economically and environmentally. Nestled on a hillside above the Ewaso Narok River, Laikipia Wilderness Camp enjoys a unique, more adventurous, relaxed safari experience where people prefer to stay longer and enjoy this family-owned camp.

Six spacious tented rooms complement central dining with indoor and outdoor living areas giving snug warmth and views of the stunning Laikipia Landscape. Plentiful books and board games enable reference and relaxation. Each bedroom and ensuite bathroom is individually designed using local materials, sustainable soaps and body wash. Cool, private verandas and day beds invite peace and relaxation while you enjoy the vista and the wildlife. Each tent has an open air bathroom, so you can enjoy showering under the stars.

On top of a rock above camp, a swinging bench offers a 360-degree view of the Laikipia landscape with the impressive skyline of Mount Kenya on clear days. Grab a book or some binoculars and enjoy the tranquility of this unique vantage point.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
6
Facilities

Private safari vehicle, laundry service, restaurant and bar providing all meals and drinks, central dining area, outdoor and indoor living areas, en suite bathrooms, private verandas, books and board games.

There are four large family tents and two double/twin tents.

Local Wildlife

Leopard (including black/melanistic), lion, spotted hyena, striped hyena, wild dog, aardwolf, zorilla.

Grevy's zebra, common zebra, elephant, reticulated giraffe, East African oryx, warthog, hippo, buffalo, numerous antelope species.

Over 350 species of bird have been recorded in the Laikipia region.

Optional Activities

Game drives, early night drives, walking, wild dog tracking, fly camping, fishing, mountain biking, bush meals, river swimming and rafting (when water levels permit).

Kenya Central Highlands and Laikipia

Lewa Wilderness Lodge

Overview

Situated on the edge of one of Kenya’s most private wildlife and environmental conservation projects, the wildlife-rich Lewa provides guests a home-away-from-home experience that’s hard to find elsewhere. The advantage of being located in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is that guests are surrounded by rich game viewing opportunities without the crowds. A maximum of just 3 vehicles are allowed at a wildlife sighting, ensuring an exclusive game viewing experience.

There is a very good chance of seeing all of the “Big Five” and Lewa is one of the only conservancies where guests are almost guaranteed to see the endangered black and white rhinos while on safari. With the backdrop of snow-capped Mount Kenya and the diversity of scenery from open plains, rolling hills, valleys, escarpments and rivers, Lewa is a magical place to game drive for the ultimate Kenyan safari experience. And with their new electric game drive vehicles, they are leading the way in environmentally friendly game viewing.

There are six thatched cottages, built into the hillside with stunning visas overlooking Lewa’s Eastern Marania Valley. These provide the ultimate in privacy, where guests will feel like they are the only occupants for miles. A further 3 garden cottages are set amongst the brilliant green lawns, each boasting a sizeable open-plan living area complete with fireplace, flanked by a large room and bathroom on each side. Each cottage has en suite facilities, a cosy sitting area and fireplace. There are private verandas where one can enjoy a morning coffee whilst watching the sunrise, or perhaps a private dining experience.

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
9
Facilities

Saltwater infinity pool, yoga deck, gym, tennis court, table tennis, extensive library, Wi-Fi in the main homestead, landscaped garden with lawn, communal deck and sitting areas, indoor sitting room with log fire, open-air dining area, small farm providing organic produce for kitchen's use.

There are six thatched cottages and three garden cottages.

Local Wildlife

Black rhino, reticulated giraffe, Grevy's zebra, elephant, East African oryx, gerenuk.

Lion, wild dog, cheetah, spotted hyena, leopard.

493 recorded bird species in across Lewa-Borana landscape, including Somali ostrich.

Optional Activities

Game drives, horseback riding, walking safaris, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy HQ visit, camel walks.

Kenya Central Highlands and Laikipia

Ol Pejeta Bush Camp

Overview

Ol Pejeta Bush Camp is sited on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River, a narrow waterway that flows from the slopes of Mount Kenya, down to the dry plains further south. The camp is in Ol Pejeta Conservancy within central Kenya’s Laikipia region, and is most famous for being the final stand of the northern white rhino, with its last duo of the species having been transferred here, along with two others. This was with the aim improving the chances of successful breeding, however, with the last male, ‘Sudan’, having died in 2018, only one female, ‘Najin’, and her female offspring, ‘Fatu’ exist today.

Ol Pejeta is world renowned for its pioneering conservation projects. As well as being home to the last remaining northern white rhino, conservation projects are ongoing for the critically endangered black rhino (with over 165 individuals in the reserve), and the near threatened southern white rhino (around 50 individuals present here). Endangered Grevy’s zebra and Lelwel hartebeest (also listed as endangered by the IUCN) are two other ungulates that are closely monitored here.

Considered extinct in the wild, the two northern white rhino live in a predator-free ‘endangered species enclosure’, where they are under 24-hour protection from armed guards. Ol Pejeta Bush Camp offers the experience of getting up close to these two gentle giants, a moment you will surely never forget. It may feel a sombre moment, the thought of seeing the last remaining individuals of a species, but there is hope yet. Scientists have been working for years to develop the practice of transferring embryos (produced from in vitro fertilisation using previously collected northern white rhino egg cells and sperm) to southern white rhino surrogate mothers.

Tents are extremely comfortable and spacious, with luxurious bedding (for those cooler nights an extra blanket and a hot water bottle are provided to keep you cosy) and private decking areas that provide the perfect place for a moment of blissful solitude, away from your campmates. To enjoy the social aspect of camp, gather with your safari companions around the central campfire in the evening, to share a glass of wine or a beer, and reminisce your day of wildlife watching in the bush together. Wonderfully prepared lunch and dinners are served up in an enjoyable communal setting also.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
7
Facilities

Tents have en suite bathrooms, flushing toilets, hot water bucket showers, private open decks, laundry service, battery-charging facilities, solar and generator power. One of the seven tents is a larger family tent, with a double and two singles in separate areas.

Local Wildlife

Northern white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, white rhinoceros, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, lion, leopard, cheetah, Grevy's zebra, Jackson's hartebeest

Optional Activities

The following activities are all at an additional cost: Close-up encounter with the last two remaining northern white rhino, dog tracking experience with the anti-poaching patrol team, lion tracking with the ecological monitoring team, wildlife-livestock integration experience, morning run and coffee with the Ol Pejeta Conservancy rangers

Route Map

Departure Dates

This tour has no set departure date and can be tailored to suit your travel requirements. Contact us for more details.

Travel Information

Are International Flights Included?

No. Please contact us for a quote if required.

Flight Info:

Domestic flights included.

Best Visited:

June to March

Are you ATOL Registered?

Yes. This means we are legally able to book your international flights in conjunction with your ground arrangements so you can book with us with complete confidence. Read more about our ATOL license here.

Jonathan Morris

Area Specialist

If you have any questions regarding this Tour, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965