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Lewa Downs
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Lewa Downs

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... is a major private wildlife reserve located around 45km north of Mount Kenya in Central Kenya.

At 220 square kilometres, Lewa Downs is a large and very significant conservation project. It provides a critical buffer between the heavily populated and farmed upland areas to the south and the vast open ranges of the north.

There are some very pretty landscapes here, mostly comprising open savanna over gentle hills, with stands of mature acacia forest and papyrus swamp along the central river system. The area is well populated with a full range of wildlife, including lions and elephants. It is an important sanctuary for highly endangered species such as the black rhino and imperial zebra.

There is a decent range of high quality lodges on Lewa, guests are extremely well hosted and the whole experience is very comfortable and reliable. These lodges offer an unusually wide range of activities including vehicle safari, walking safari, horseback safari, camel safari, scenic flights and cultural interaction.

The main potential downsides are that Lewa is a fully fenced reserve, with human habitation and farming on the southern boundaries, which certainly detracts from any sense of wilderness and creates a rather artificial and isolated environment. The plan is to bring these fences down and create a much greater area for wildlife across this part of Laikipia, but progress has been painfully slow. Spending time here one also gets the feeling that the place is rather over-managed, with animals undergoing regular 'health checks'. Some people refer to the wildlife here as 'pin-cushions', in reference to the amount of time each one has been darted.


Read more : Upsides : Downsides : Activities : Seasons : Accommodation : Trips
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