Wedged between the Great Rift Valley to the north-east and the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kenya to the north-west, the high plains of Laikipia are rivaling even the Masai Mara as Kenya’s best safari region. This largely Malaria free zone is a wildlife paradise with a special focus on protecting rare and endangered species.
Between Mount Kenya and the northern deserts, the high rangelands of Laikipia spread out between north-flowing streams and rivers, which flow during most of the year into the Ewaso Nyiro, northern Kenya’s greatest river. Originally this land was a patch-work of huge ranches, even now it remains an important livestock region. Now it’s a conservation area with growing success in its efforts to protect and maintain the land and wildlife hereabouts. Fees from safaris and nearby camps helps fund efforts to protect the animals, promote small-scale luxury tourism, and generate an income for the local Samburu and Ilaikipiak and Mokogodo Maasai communities.
Due in part to its conservation efforts, Laikipia provides a refuge for a large amount of endangered species. Roughly half of Kenya’s black rhinos, some 600 of them live here. It is also the second most important range for the African wild dogs. A quarter of Africa’s remaining population of Grevy’s zebra also call this part of Kenya home. More than 2,000 elephants migrate between the slopes of Mount Kenya, the Laikipia safari conservancies, and the Samburu region. Because a large number of animals here need to be protected, the local predators often wear radio-collars so trackers can monitor them and keep animals like the endangered black rhino alive and flourishing. Something the conservancies are having great success with.