Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
While the massive 263sqkm Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, just south of Isiolo, could boast about their luxury lodges, stunning scenery, astounding wildlife activities and having often hosted Prince William, they’d rather talk about their community and conservation projects.
Founded in 1995, LWC now spends an amazing 305 of its budget on health care and education for surrounding villages, 40% towards community projects, with the remainder funding conservation and security. To help raise awareness and funds they host one of the world’s most rewarding and exhausting marathons.
The conservancy effort has been astounding and 20% of the world’s Grevy’s Zebras, 8% of Kenya black rhinos, rare populations of white rhinos, elephants, buffaloes, leopards, lions and cheetahs now call this magical place home.
Wildlife drives in private vehicles aren’t permitted and only guests of the LWC’s lodges are allowed onto the conservancy. A plethora of activities, ranging from drives (day &night) and walks to horse riding and camel rides, are available at most lodges. Guests are encouraged to take part in conservation activities, like tracking and tagging animals.
Sleeping and Eating
Lewa House (Exclusive use per night, incl wildlife drives US$840)
Six sub-lime thatched-roof African chalets, comfortably sleeping 12 people, form Lewa house, privacy is guaranteed since its rented only to one group at a time, . For full board, add US$ 120 per person per night.
Lewa safari camp (Full board s/d incl wildlife drives US$285/570, closed Nov)
Twelve luxurious octagonal tents hang beneath charming thatched roofs and offer up privacy and a slice of the African safari dream. The lounge, dining room, food and service are all top-notch.
Wilderness Trails (Full board s/d incl activities US$ 430/860, closed Apr, May &Nov)
Although the thatched cottages and pool are as breath taking as the views over the plains, none of Wilderness trails’ proceeds go towards LWC (unlike Lewa safari camp and Lewa House, which are non-profit and donate 100% of their proceeds), making it the least attractive accommodation option here.
There are some designated bush sites (no facilities) for camping, but after compiling the costs of camping, food, a guide and wildlife drives, you’re better off staying at the Lewa safari camp.
Getting there & Away
LWC is only 12 km south of Isiolo town and is well signposted on A2Hwy. Airkenya and safarilink have daily ‘request stop’ flights to LWC from Nairobi. Return fares on airkenya/safarilink are US$199/222
Running for Wildlife & Community Welfare-The Lewa Marathon
Its one thing to run a marathon to the encouraging screams of people, its entirely another to run it sharing the course with elephants, rhinos and the odd antelope! Established in 2000 to raise funds for wildlife conservation and community development, the Safaricom Marathon, run within the Lewa Conservancy is late June/early July, attracts world-record holders and is renowned worldwide as one of the planet’s toughest marathons.
Thanks to experienced rangers, helicopters and spotter planes, your only worry should be the heat and the 1700m average elevation.
Will you be slowed by repeatedly gazing into the bewildered eyes of nearby giraffes or will your legs speed on at the thought of cheetahs and lions lurking in the grass? Why not try it and find out?
Robert is a travel expert in Kenya east Africa and tour consultant with Landmark Safaris. Make a free enquiry on Lewa Wildlife Conservancy accommodation and Marathon here. http://www.landmarksafaris.com/planner/?refferer=ezinearticles