Also known as Solio Ranch, this Reserve is a fenced, privately owned, and managed Wildlife Conservancy found within the Central Province of Kenya. Covering an area of 17500 acres, the site is fenced and privately owned but contributes to the conservation of black rhinos within the area.
This Ranch was named after Solio, once great Masai Chief (also the owner of the cattle ranch where the Reserve now sits) and takes pride in being the World’s first private Rhino Sanctuary after being established in 1970 when then owner of the Solio Cattle Ranch fenced off a vast area of land and set it aside for Conservation but from that time, it has been very successful because it is the Reserve with the highest population of these mammals all over Africa. So far, it has provided more than 93 black and 52 white rhinos to other National Reserves while also maintaining a healthy population itself.
Solio Ranch or Game Reserve is found at about 22 kilometers north of Nyeri Town and plays an important role in the breeding and protection of these exceptionally endangered large mammals in Kenya. These Black rhinos are the main tourist attractions within the area that is undeniably considered one of the most successful privately-owned rhino breeding areas within Kenya. This magical country had over 635 black rhinos and 353 white rhinos within the different Protected Areas by the end of 2009, partly because of the existence of this Reserve.
The Black rhinos are undoubtedly the stars of the show within this Game Reserve but there are also other wildlife species such as giraffes, buffaloes, impalas, warthogs, zebras, elands, impalas, Thomson’s gazelles, waterbucks, Oryx, cheetahs, warthogs, and many others. Unbelievably, the Solio Game Reserve used to be home to high populations of zebras, buffaloes, leopards, and Thomson’s gazelles but there were no rhinos completely.
It is for this reason that the Wildlife and Conservation Management Department (forerunner of the present Kenya Wildlife Service) requested Solio to take in some black rhinos as a permanent home is got for them. The first five animals were translocated in 1970 from Kiboko in south-eastern Kenya, hence establishing the first Sanctuary for Rhinos in the country. Because there was no other secure area in the country, the department continued moving the Rhinos for the next 10 years and by 1980, at least 23 founders from 9 places were introduced into the Solio Game Reserve.
Solio Game Reserve is a Paradise for birds including more than 300 species that call it home. It is within this part of Kenya where you will find numerous flycatchers, several birds of prey like the long-crested eagles, vultures, and Montagu’s Harriers among others, European rollers, grey crowned cranes, buzzards, European storks, and many others. Therefore, tourist activities conducted here include night and day game drives, bird watching, and walking safaris.
Accommodation Facilities within Solio Game Reserve
There are few accommodation facilities within the Game Reserve, and some of them include the Rhino watch Lodge, Solio Safari Lodge and provide guests with comfortable and up-market accommodation.