Besides National Parks and National Reserves, Wildlife Conservancies are found within Kenya and one of them is the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a non-profit Wildlife Conservancy found within Laikipia County in Central Kenya. It lies across the equator, west of Nanyuki between the foothills of Mount Kenya and the Aberdares.
This site was mainly set up to conserve wildlife as well as provide a Sanctuary for a number of primate species as well as generate income through tourism and additional enterprises for re-investment in community development and Conservation. Ol Pejeta Conservancy takes pride in being the largest Black rhino Sanctuary within the East African region and interestingly reached a population milestone of 100 black rhinos in 2013 but also shelters the two remaining northern white rhinos in the whole World (two females but the male one known as Sudan was euthanized on 20th March 2018) and they were translocated to the site from Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic with the hope that the beautiful climate and verdant grasslands of the site, native habitat for these exceptional animals would provide them with more favorable breeding conditions for increase their population.
Founded in 2004 by a consortium of philanthropic investors as a not-for-profit business, the site covers an area of 360 square kilometers (36,000 hectares/90,000 acres) and operates a successful livestock program that is beneficial to the local pastoralists and wildlife species within the area.
Interestingly, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy also comprises of the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary that offers shelter to a number of abandoned, rescued, and orphaned chimpanzees and is surprisingly the only area in the country where these primates can easily be spotted. This Wildlife Conservancy is a haven for the big five animals in large numbers among the medley of wild animals hence making it one of the most popular and interesting places to visit during your trip in Kenya.
Besides its breathtaking attractions, the Wildlife Conservancy offers funding to the neighboring villages to aid education, health, infrastructure, and water projects through its community development program. More still, the conservancy also provides support for the provision of agricultural and livestock extension services as well as the overall development of community-based conservation tourism projects.
This site is a home to all the big five animals-lions, leopards, rhinos (both white and black rhinos are found in the area), elephants, and buffaloes. The Conservancy has the key 1 when it comes to the black rhino population on the IUCN African Rhino Specialist Group Categorization and is interestingly one of the only eight Sanctuaries in Africa with this exceptional distinction. On top of the big five animals, other wild animals such as Jackson’s hartebeests, Oryx, Elands, Plain zebras, Hyenas, the endangered African wild dogs, Grant’s gazelles, Serval cats, Dik-dik, Grevy’s zebras, black and white colobus monkeys, cheetahs, Hippos, silver-backed jackals, giraffes, impalas, yellow baboons, bat-eared foxes, vervet monkeys, and many others call this Conservancy home. The surprising thing is that all the animals here are free to move through the specially constructed game corridors that specifically restrict the movement of the rhinos. There are a number of activities to relish within the area and they include walking safaris, game drives, bird watching, and horseback rides among others.
Additionally, more than 300 species of birds including Ostriches are said to inhabit the Conservancy. Activities such as walking safaris, game drives, bird watching, fly camping, and horseback rides can be enjoyed by tourists that visit Ol Pejeta Conservancy. There are several efforts by the Kenyan Government to ensure the survival of the wildlife in this area and these include the use of a team of 14 dogs, use of a fully-electrified perimeter fence, an aircraft, Drones, armed teams, and Rhino patrols to ensure the provision of security.
Where to Stay
On top of the beautiful attractions, there are numerous places you can stay when you visit Ol Pejeta Conservancy and they include Ol Pejeta House, Ol Pejeta Safari Cottages, Sweetwaters Serena Camp, Kicheche Laikipia Camp, and many others.
How to Get There
If you intend to reach faster to the Conservancy, you can book flights from Wilson Airport to Nanyuki Airstrip then continue by road (45 minutes) to the Conservancy. For road transport, it is about 3-4 hours’ drive from Nairobi City to Nanyuki which is also only 13 kilometers from Ol Pejeta Conservancy.