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Nestled between soaring mountain ranges, opening to wide golden savannah grasslands dotted with thorny trees stretching out to lush forests, these ranches have been around for ages though maybe more as an underground livestock farming business for those old rich guys who have large chunks of land in Laikipia, Naivasha and Kajiado. But the last few years have made us all appreciate ranching in more ways than just a beef and dairy farming business. Being a major conservation tool and among the best getaway weekend places full of wild awe experiences and sporting outdoor activities we’ve seen ranches like Ol pejeta get international recognition and headlines for “Best holiday homes.”

Photo source: Loisaba Conservancy

Integration with conservation has made these ranches out-stand more as conservancies than ranches. Privately owned and managed, wildlife protection and natural habitat conservation is a great deal and with the varied landscapes and great picture square sceneries these ranches have become a tourist magnet for people trying to escape the city’s hustle and bustle to a more quiet, peacefully relaxing and serene weekend.

Also Read: Laikipia a rhino conservation affair and Save the Rhino story

A LOOK AT TOP DESTINATION RANCHES

1. SEGERA RANCH

Photo source: Jimmy Nelson(Segera ranch)

Abundant wildlife and exquisite accommodation In-between the beautifully melting glaciers of Mt Kenya and the great Rift valley ,Privately sitting in an exclusive 50,000 acres of pristine Africa golden savannah in the heart of Laikipia it is home to endangered wildlife species and is a land of honey.
The diverse and stunning untouched environment compliments the quietness making it one of the most dramatic sceneries yet peaceful places. The details of the villas and camps make this place a collector’s paradise due to its elegance in the bush.
Waking up to watch the sunrise and wild animals streaming in at the river for a bath from the Nay Palad Bird nest is everything you have to get off this ranch.

For more info: Segera Ranch

Photo source: Segera ranch

2. SOSIAN GAME RANCH, LAIKIPIA

A Panorama of Mt. Kenya and desert to the horizon edges this 24,000 acres 1940’s untouched wilderness which is a rolling terrain spanning across Laikipia plains offering unique wildlife safaris that involve walking through free ranging wildlife , camel safaris, swimming pools ,camping and top of the list culinary experience with fresh natural ingredients from the home garden.
While holding conservation at heart this wilderness offers the true wild experience with natural ecosystem coexistence where elephants provide firewood and rain provides water while the Boran cattle provide ranch meat. It is a mixture of simplicity and luxury to give its visitors the beauty they deserve.
For more info: Sosian Ranch

3. CHAKA RANCH

Unrivalled raw terrain nestled in between the majestic peaks of Mt Kenya and rugged Aberdare ranges is a home of all unique outdoor family wild entertainment activities from paintballing, Skating, all kinds of quad bike riding, arena, kids play stations to teambuilding activities. Sitting in Kiganjo, Nyeri about 2hrs from Nairobi it’s also a home to your family for the weekend with luxurious deluxe camps and hospitality for barbecue lovers.
For more info: Chaka Ranch

4. OLJOGI RANCH

Photo source: Oljogi ranch

Lying quietly about 4 hrs. From Nairobi on the Northern side of Nanyuki town, with array views of Mt. Kenya this 58,000 acres 60 year old masterpiece is a wildlife haven focusing on rhino conservation and is complete with the only bear in Kenya.
With its luxurious camp nestled within a protective rock crop Ol jogi gives you a unique bush life experience complete with a dreamy pool and spa for relaxation after your bush lunch.
For more info: Oljogi Ranch

5. BORANA CONSERVANCY

Galloping through open grasslands and thickets with exhilarating safaris to explore the raw rugged terrain this untainted landscape stretches south from the foothills of Mt Kenya and opens into the Northern Kenya deserts to the north.
Borana gives its visitors an immersion into the wild experience from Customized safaris, Local cultural interactions and experiences to delicious meals locally and naturally produced, entertainment and accommodation to awe them with a lifetime African experience.
From its effective anti-poaching initiatives, Holistic land management and rhino protection it is a masterpiece of an ideal ranch with a heart to conservation of natural landscapes and wildlife.
It integrates the community in its activities to develop partnerships that are ideal for coexistence.
For more info: Borana Conservancy

6. OL PEJETA CONSERVANCY

Also Read: Olpejeta Rhinos and Human Chimpanzees

A commitment to Holistic approach of integration of livestock to sustainable land and wildlife conservation is Olpejeta’s strength. A 30 minutes’ drive from Nanyuki town leads you to a unique stretch of Laikipia plains with customized memorable bush safaris on the vast 90,000 acres of land full of free ranging wild animals both endangered and nocturnal like cheetahs.
It has various luxurious campsites in different sites to suit all kinds of camping needs for every guest. It’s the only place with the last surviving Northern white rhino and its Sweet waters chimpanzee sanctuary is the best in East Africa. On a side note this has been my best ranch.
For more info: Ol Pejeta Conservancy

7. KULALU RANCH, GALANA CONSERVANCY TSAVO.

Stretching from the rugged Tsavo National Park and sitting on the banks with a breathtaking view of the Galana river and an inspiring natural environment all the way to Lali hills , Kulalu is home to wandering elephants and a variety of other wildlife species across the corridors some of which are endangered.
It offers a unique game viewing experience right from the exclusive luxury camp verandahs to the foot safaris and game safaris into Tsavo. It’s an idyllic setting for bird watchers with close proximity of the river to the campsite being a magnet for hundreds of birds.
For more info: Galana Conservancy

8. LOISABA CONSERVANCY

Photo source: Harri travels(Loisaba Conservancy)

In Northern Laikipia Kenya boasting 56,000 acres of pure wildlife diversity, a natural rugged landscape in between 2 permanent rivers, varied natural vegetation and protecting the elephant migration corridors in between Laikipia, Samburu and Isiolo with its natural habitat conservation policies and community partnerships.
The over 800 free roaming elephants and other wild animals gathering around the Ewaso river’s lush vegetation is a magnet for tourists with an urge for an arid wild experience . Complete with star beds rolled on rock platforms for a unique and dramatic African night experience, the experience at Loisaba is to die for.
For more info: Loisaba Conservancy 

Photo source: Loisaba Conservancy, Ami Vitale

World rhino day went round with celebrations from wildlife ambassadors, Conservationists and everyone who believes in nature for one reason or two. But let’s look at it from the other side ; Yes, we all posted a rhino photo or two on our social media posts but how often do we look at the real issues , at what’s the main reason behind extinction and endangerment. What’s the Root CAUSE?
Is it human settlements and destruction of natural habitats or is it the Insatiable demand for rhino horn in the Middle East encouraging poaching?

FACTS of a BLACK and WHITE rhino.

BLACK Rhinos are browsers, have triangular hook shaped upper lips and have wound scars on their rough skin mainly covered in mud.
WHITE Rhinos are grazers, have square upper lips and have more smooth skin with no wound scars.

The white rhinos are calmer unlike the black rhinos that are known to randomly charge and unleash their anger on your sudden introduction into their territory. A rhino once charged on us out in the wild, hit our car and made a big hole on the driver’s door, that’s the scariest i’ve come to any wild animal.

Looking back at my previous post on Rhino conservation in Laikipia, to be honest I didn’t even have it in mind that it was a few days before the World Rhino day, otherwise that post would sound differently now and maybe be more detailed.

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)


Have you heard of SUDAN? The last standing Northern male white rhino on earth?

Having been transferred from Czech to Kenya because of favorable conditions to survive here and to induce its breeding, its lifespan has increased and that’s a major success story for Olpejeta conservancy. Together with the other only surviving two northern white rhinos they are protected round the clock with sensors and guards and although the breeding trials with the southern whites have been unsuccessful, this conservation program has been a success story so far.

Olpejeta also has one of the largest Southern white rhino populations.We also have numerous privately owned conservancies that have stretched a hand to conservation.

Great RHINO VIEWS in KENYA.

Poaching has been a nightmare for black rhino conservation in Kenya but over the last few years we’ve seen the rhino population grow. More focus has been put to save this vulnerable animal from poaching. Some of the places with high rhino populations and perfect for a rhino game safari in Kenya include:

1. Solio Game Reserve.

Lying in central Kenya, Solio was the first rhino sanctuary in Kenya, protecting rhinos and providing a safe home to the threatened species. Black rhinos wander out in the open plains and offer amazing sightings on your game drive.

2. Lewa Conservancy.

Competing with Olpejeta on the southern side, Lewa sits on the northern side of Laikipia and has a large population of black and white rhinos whose conservation was pioneered by the legendary Craig Family. A usual game drive here is characterized by a close encounter with a black rhino. It also Borders Borana Wildlife Conservancy that also focuses on black rhino conservation.

3. Nakuru national park.

Kenya’s only premium park acquired this status as a result of rhino conservation and the random sightings of calm grazing rhinos by the lakeside. Lake Nakuru is a protection zone for white and black rhinos among other wildlife species that are easily identified on the dusty rugged landscape when you shift eyes away from the millions of pink floating flamingos on the lake.

4. Tsavo East National park.

Rhino protection is a major deal for Tsavo and Ngulia Rhino sanctuary in Tsavo has provided a home for this threatened species. Famous for its lions, Tsavo is one of the largest wildlife protection zones in Africa and you are sure of a rhino charge if not a roaring blood thirsty lion.

5. Aberdares National Park.

Rhinos hate being surprised and the dense vegetation of Aberdares does not make this easy. Driving around Aberdares, its not the usual savannah sightings of wildlife experience but a rather keen predetermined search of the elusive rhinos a midst trees and tall tuft grass. Aberdares also offers great Big 5 sightings in-between the dense grasslands.

6. Nairobi national park.

Spilling out from a major International airport it’s also famous for Kifaru Ark which is an identity it holds for protecting the endangered species. Enraged black rhinos wandering out on the golden savannahs in front of the amazing skyscrapers backdrop is a sunset view anyone would yearn for  in a safari.

7. Maasai Mara National Park.

There is a reason Maasai Mara is an ultimate destination for any African game safari. While it’s outstanding for the wildebeest migration wonder, other wildlife species are also in abundant existence here and rhinos are part of the big 5 sightings.

Other places Include:

Meru National Park, Olpejeta Conservancy, Ngwesi Ranch, Ruma National Park, Amboseli and Samburu National park.

I am a conservationist at heart, an advocate for the environment and while the struggle to make a big change is overwhelming, it’s always about the small things, like how you would re-use and recycle stuff, how to not dispose that waste on the street or how to just plant one tree even when you haven’t cut any. How to protect what we already have and how to conserve it for future use.


KENYA’S PLASTIC BAN.

Then we have the Plastic ban issue that’s going on around Kenya currently. I’ve avoided the discussion because we are still trying to adjust to it but maybe if I’d take two seconds to air my opinion,I hope you wouldn’t scold me for it.
It saddens me to hear people around complain about the plastic ban, not because they can’t live without plastics, or it’s reducing their lifespan in some way, but just because humans hate change, they hate going out of their way to slightly alter some routine. But if I look at it, the only issue is maybe the few extra shillings you have to pay to pack your shopping items once you hit the shop and remember you didn’t carry your bag. On the positive side a few years from now if we implement this bill to the letter then we’ll look back and wish we did this way earlier. Am glad finally someone stood for conservation and pollution. My worry is for this implementation to work we need to go all the way or just maybe 90% all in.
It’s not really about the shopping bags being banned or the “Mama Duka” wrappers but we need to go down to the food packaging at the factory, to all the household items wrapped up in plastic. To be a bit honest most of the plastic waste is from household goods packaging because that becomes useless immediately we take the last bite. There is no two way about the plastic ban, implementing it at the consumer level while still having it at the production level is a waste of time. We need a conscience mind, the right sense of implementation and total adherence to the rules and if still 6 months down the line we see items still packaged in plastics then we need to go back to the drawing board for this to work.


Rhino conservation has been around for ages, but how come there is still a market for Ivory?
I would blame it all on poaching but I’d also look at the existing natural conditions to survive. The diminishing natural habitat that ensures the endangered species thrives. While the human population graph is shooting upwards daily and urbanization is at its core we need to protect the natural habitats, Respect the conservation process and with a conscience mind have that conversation as often as possible.
Kenya is one of the countries that pride in tourism for economic development, but what’s tourism without the wildlife safaris. It’s not about the luxurious hotels and fancy restaurants by the beach but it’s about the experience acquired during the day outside that dimly lit room and once the plates are lifted from the dining table. We pride in Conservation, our parks and conservancies have gone a great mile to protect the rare species we have and to ensure we benefit from these resources in the future.

 Be a part of conservation, be a part of change, be a part of the only solution to human problems. 🙂 🙂

Massive golden terrains stretching from the Snow caped Mt. Kenya and hitting the rugged foothills of the Aberdare Ranges, Equatorial tropical weather, free ranging wild animals trying to survive in between rapidly rising human developments and interference to Livestock wildlife integration. Laikipia is “the land of milk and honey” as the local communities call it. Nanyuki is the Centre piece of these wildlife corridors and as a town it thrives in eco-tourism, hosting numerous hotels and get away destinations yet still a stone throw away, acres of land boom in wheat production and beef ranching.

PLAINS thriving in WILDLIFE Conservation.

I have fond memories of Laikipia, ones I hold down so closely to my heart. Having been the place I discovered myself in more wild ways, discovered my Love for conservation, wildlife and adventure but most importantly got to be the only place I really came to appreciate my profession for the first time and it became the beginning of the Love for what I was meant to do. I could tell endless stories of how I stumbled to the ground more than three times on a bush walk chasing gravy zebras while trying to act all cool in boots, or how a black rhino unleashed its anger on our van giving it a big hole on the driver’s door, or the amazement of finding a day old Lion cubs hidden in a thicket after hours of driving in muddy trenches in search of the collared Lioness. Not to forget the hectic elephant transfers between Lewa, Olpejeta and Meru, my Laikipia memories are just endless.

I stayed down in Laikipia for almost 3 months and in that time not having to worry about makeup and what clothes to wear was not enough, but rather just being out there in the bushes running over muddy trenches, driving into thickets while chasing collared lions and monitoring rhinos was more than rewarding.

Laikipia is one of the most magnificent plains in Kenya. Full of endless rolling golden brown wheat farms, a handful of massive ranches on some rugged terrains priding in Wildlife livestock integration and conservation and a rich cultural heritage to show off.

LEWA CONSERVANCY (Breeding Black Rhinos)

Greatly known for the infamous Lewa Marathon, Lewa conservancy has managed to be a great success story of human wildlife co-existence. The Marathon was established in 2000 to outsource funds for conservation and this has yearly established a forum to discuss the underlying issues of conservation, its importance and its economic benefits. Conservation and ecotourism has seen Lewa pride in Luxurious camps, magnificent scenery, best wildlife safari activities over the years and even maintain its statute as a holiday get away for Prince William.

OLPEJETTA CONSERVANCY (Home of Chimpanzees)

It’s a rhino affair in Olpejeta and any visit here must entail the last standing Northern white rhino which is a  major deal worldwide. Having gone to great heights to ensure conservation and preservation of some of the most endangered and almost extinct species, Olpejeta has dedicated its efforts in Rhino conservation, Gravy zebra, and the hartebeest and has built a home for chimpanzees. With a thriving population of the Big Five , Chimpanzee Sanctuary and great wildlife stories this place is a must visit for tourists planning on hitting Laikipia. It also has some of the best Camp sites, ranch meat and even human wildlife interactions. Remember to visit and feed Baraka; a blind Black rhino and to adopt a chimpanzee when you visit. Read More on Olpejeta Rhinos and Human Chimpanzees

LAIKIPIA NATURE CONSERVANCY (Ol Ari Ngiro)

This is the largest conservancy in Laikipia sitting at approximately 100,000 acres. From luxurious eco-lodges sitting on hills overlooking the quiet massive Laikipia plains to diverse free roaming wildlife species, breathtaking sunset views over bushes, game drives, bush walks, bush breakfast and some wandering into the neighboring Maasai manyattas, the thrill of adventure here is quite endless.

OL JOGI Wildlife Conservancy

Located on the Northern side of Nanyuki town about 67,000 acres of tuft golden grass sits a home to black rhinos and a variety of other wildlife species. Specializing in cattle ranching, it has embraced conservation of the free ranging endangered wildlife species.

Some of the other ranches in Laikipia include: Segero, Borana, Karama and Losiaba.

While co-existence is Key for conservation, joined by wildlife corridors these private conservancies and community ranches have embraced eco-tourism and wildlife livestock integration to reduce human wildlife conflicts, transform these desolate arid lands into worldwide tourism destinations and pride in conservation as the foundation of their success story.

Whether its the camouflaging cat family or the enraged rhinos, Laikipia is the Real Maasai Mara 🙂 🙂 Prince William and Usain Bolt acknowledged it.

           

‘Throws banana over the fence’, Chimp stands on two limbs, grabs banana, peels,eats and *SLAP*  peel lands on my Face.

Well welcome  to Olpejeta Chimpanzee Sanctuary i guess.

It then grabs a stick and tries to Collect nuts under the electric fence.Its too sharp to know Never shall you try to touch the fence. After its done eating it stares a little to see if we are giving more then lies down sideways staring and making faces at us.

Have you read my first piece of Olpejeta? Here

Well let’s talk about Chimpanzees. The Olpejeta Sweetwaters  chimpanzee sanctuary is an award winning  Chimpanzee sanctuary and  is actually the only one in Kenya and quite remarkable in East Africa.

These animals can stand and walk on two limbs upright, eat like you by using some hand tools, they know how to pose for a camera or hide so you don’t take a photo of them, and yes they know the electric fence is dangerous.

They can play games with you, ape you in everything you do, they are literally you and the fun bit of watching these animals is their  intelligence part “Totally human” and this is  experience, you  don’t want to miss.

I don’t know if you can tell the difference between a baboon, monkey, ape or chimpanzee if u saw them in the forest, because as for me the only one am sure of is a chimpanzee, you can just say those tips and lessons  by the tour guides were not in vain.

A chimp is the most intelligent species and  closest relative of a human being. Yes just look at the picture below and believe you me that animal is sharing 98% of genes with you. It might be even your cousin if you follow closely.

With the chimpanzee originally from tropical forests, which have mostly now diminished due to our destructive nature well the chimp is extinct in the natural forest and hence efforts to conserve these amazing animals in sanctuaries. You should definately head over to  Olpejeta

I then throw an  avocado over the fence,when it grabs this time, *Clever girl*  i walk away before the avocado seed lands on my head.

Off we go to see Other animals.

On any trip, your company is the determinant of how much fun you have, and of  Awesome company I had a friend called Ellie and she couldn’t hear the end of being called Ellie the elephant.

Elephants are all over the park and you can’t leave Olpejeta without coming across at least twenty, they even have an Elephant Bridge where Olpejeta elephants can read, I promise they have sign posts on the elephant bridges.

I was lucky to witness one drink water and it’s amazing how these experiences make me feel , Well Our God is an artist and each creature is different..

The wild Tallest; ‘Giraffe’ , Buffalos, Grevy Zebras.wild dogs and waterbucks are also some of the animals I came across.

Before you leave make sure you check out the Morani information Centre to learn more about olpejeta , livestock-wildlife integration(there’s actually much to learn on this), and the Hippo hide to check out the hippos.

I also came across a variety of Birds, Ostrich being one of them and this beautiful one is the male one.

The game drives, Nature trails, Animal tracking and monitoring was just all worth it. I can never forget I have shoes I stopped wearing after I fell five times in them while doing the forest walks tracking elephants. I also got to observe Elephant and Lion collaring and Long live rangers; because the adrenaline out there during that activity is not life wanting. There’s just so much that goes in on the forest that you can never have recorded on clips or movies because the most random part is the most exciting part.

Am sorry I might have left out your favorite animal but Please take a trip to Nanyuki have an amazing wild experience and come back share with us. Of Sunrises and sets the weather was not so charming on my stay but, here we are waiting for the elephants to cross on one of the days.

Have you been to Olpejeta before? What was your experience like?

Love n Love.

“Thats me holding a Live Rhino I Swear” And nothing beats that fear and excitement. *Just Timeless*

Definitely one of my most exciting places to be ever in is Olpejeta Conservancy, I could give you a thousand reasons why, but am thinking you would like my photo collection more.

Well let’s drive 3 hours down  to Nanyuki  from Nairobi. Situated in between the foothills of Abardares and the snowcapped Mount Kenya and yes  you can see the Beautiful  Mt.Kenya  from The Sweetwaters Tented Camp in the morning.

Olpejeta is known in the world to be the 2nd place after Czech that has 2 of the remaining  Northern white rhinos, yes you need to see this to understand the feeling. Make sure you visit the endangered species boma to learn more about The Northern white rhinos, Hartebeest and Grevy Zebra.

It’s  one of the largest rhino sanctuary in East Africa with quite a number of southern white rhinos and black rhinos, and I learnt from the friendly rangers and tour guides the differences between White rhinos and Black rhinos and Please note there’s nothing like  black and white colour,sorry Why don’t you go find out because its more interesting that way.

Have you seen the equator? Well me neither, but I have  touched it, yes I mean imaginarily at Olpejeta and you might need your GPS to be sure you stand exactly where it passes and get that imaginary amazement too.. Hahaha. You haven’t seen the rage of a Black Rhino till it hits your car and you have to make that same car race in the bush for your dear life. Point I took home, never ever play with any wild animal with a motherly instinct.

Ready for the ultimate weekend experience, well let the game drives begin at 6 a.m., embrace the morning breeze and get to see the sunrise of course. I learnt that this was the best time for game drives as you get to see most carnivores which usually hunt in the early hour, and yes I was lucky enough to see a cheetah for the first time ever, not just one but  2 different families with cubs, accounting to 10 cheetahs. Trust me You physically count Cats Because it’s so Damn exciting to see many of them.

Have you been to a game drive and ended up just seeing Zebras *hahaha* well, sorry but that’s funny. Olpejeta has one of the widest variety of animals in the region talk of the big five i.e.  Lions, Elephants, Rhinos, Cheetahs, Buffalo and Leopard plus many other animals with my favorite animal the Eland. The Eland is quite beautiful and if I was to have it as a pet let’s just say my life would be complete.

My 1st day experience was my best day in terms of getting to see  most animals up-close. Talk of the much I learnt about the rhino sanctuary and the efforts done to take care of these unique valuable creatures. The grevy zebra, note this is the most beautiful species of Zebra I’ve come across; and hartebeest are also valued and more effort is done to monitor and  take care of these animals.

‘Mufasa’ as we call the King of the Jungle  is another wild gem. I got to be so lucky to join Olpejeta’s Lion tracking and see Lions.

I don’t remember how many but I lost count after seeing 3 two-day old lion cubs cause I was  told you got to be very lucky to have that opportunity of seeing cubs in their first two months.

Well you never forget things like seeing how mothers bond with and feed their young ones in the wild.

Look at that, Even the wildest of them all has a weakspot.

As the sun sets if you want to stay over, they have one of the best Camping sites Here  and luxurious accommodation.

The Sweetwaters Tented Camp Here

Ol Pejeta Bush Camp Here

Porini Rhino Camp Here

Kicheche Laikipia Camp Here

Pelican House Here

I forgot to tell you they keep livestock as part of their wildlife-livestock integration  conservation program,and  I mean Boran cattle and if you know what am talking about make sure you order beef daily because that ranch meat is something else.

Just say I missed the sunrise n set the first day, but please look forward  to my other Piece , I got a very unique story on chimps and other animals I came across, and yes I made it to get a sneak view of the sunrise and a review of some fun activities.

Who has been to Olpejeta? What was your game drive and camping experience like? 

What are some tips on having the best game drives ?

Love n Love