Laikipia is one of Kenya’s most valuable wildlife treasures, rivalled only by the biodiversity of the Maasai Mara. Home to the highest concentration of endangered species in the country, it’s a safari destination not to be missed.
Laikipia: Second Only To The Maasai Mara
Located on the floor of the Great Rift Valley, Laikipia – which means treeless plain in Maasai tongue – is a vast open plain in central Kenya where wildlife, including the Big 5, roam freely. Home to the highest concentration of endangered species in Kenya and with Mount Kenya as the backdrop, it holds one of the best experiences of the wildlife and landscapes of East Africa.
Laikipia is truly one of Kenya’s remaining geological, scenic and wildlife treasures with only the Maasai Mara to rival its biodiversity.
A Conservation Success Story
What was once farming land with huge livestock ranches, the Laikipia you find today has been completely transformed into one of Kenya’s most progressive and successful stories in wildlife conservation.
The sprawling plateau on the north-eastern side of the Great Rift Valley now has a wealth of wildlife, estimated by some to be even richer than that of the Maasai Mara. It is an area of vast open spaces and excellent wildlife viewing, not only in terms of the sheer number of animals but also in terms of the quality of the safari experience.
The emphasis in Laikipia is on smaller, private safaris with fewer visitors in the area. The aim has been to create a co-operative and sustainable income for the local people who have lived in Laikipia for centuries: the Samburu, the Ilaikipiak and the Mokogodo Maasai.
Endangered Species Who Call Laikipia Home
There is a wealth of wildlife in Laikipia, which is best seen in large herds of elephant and growing populations of African wild dog – now recognised as the second most important site for them in Africa.
The Laikipia Plateau is also home to important breeding populations of Grevy’s zebra and African wild dog, both of which face critical endangerment on the rest of the continent. The Grevy’s zebra exists only in northern Kenya and parts of Ethiopia – with over half the remaining individuals residing in Laikipia.
Likewise, Laikipia is home to almost half of Kenya’s endangered black rhinos and 70% of its white rhinos. Laikipia’s Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy houses 4 of the 6 or 7 remaining individuals of the northern white rhino subspecies and the only potential breeding pairs left in the world.
As if Laikipia weren’t impressive already as a sanctuary for many of Africa’s endangered species, it also harbours populations of reticulated giraffe – which is the most threatened form of the species, as well as Jackson’s hartebeest, which a totally endemic to Laikipia.
Getting To Laikipia
Laikipia is easily accessible by road or by air, with the two main towns – Nanyuki and Nyahururu located about 200kms from Nairobi. Three airstrips service scheduled flights and transfers from the airstrips to the safari lodges usually take under an hour.
Take a look at our selection of Safari lodges and hotels in Kenya and be inspired to visit Laikipia Plateau on your journey through East Africa.
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