Beautiful Wildlife Conservancies in Kenya and Why they Are Special

Wildlife faces various threats from humans. It faces encroachment, development and climate change impacts. Sadly, the world-renowned Kenyan wildlife is no exception. The country has lost 70% of its wildlife in three decades!

Luckily, wildlife conservancies in Kenya are changing the trend.

Conservancies are protected areas where wildlife can leave protected. These areas promote a healthy ecosystem between the wild, livestock and humans. They ensure each accesses water and food and keep invasive species out. They differ from national parks in their management and ownership.

If you want to enjoy a Kenyan safari and learn, you must visit a conservancy. Conservancies offer a more intimate, diverse, and complete safari experience. You can also contribute to the conservation of endangered species.

In this blog, we look at the types of conservancies in Kenya, the top eight and why they are unique.

Types of Conservancies in Kenya

Conservancies are classified into three categories according to who owns or runs them. Let’s discuss the types of wildlife conservancies in Kenya.

Community Conservancies

Community conservancies are community-led and established on community land. These are conservancies created by communities on their community land. Members of the communities will have a huge say in its operations through an elected representative board. 

You’ll also find exo-ofico members on the Community Conservancies board. These members will include members from Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Kenya Forest Service (KFS), Conservation and tourism partners.

The board also uses sub-committees to run specific aspects such as grazing and tourism.

Private Conservancies

These conservancies are set up on private land. It could be established by an individual or a corporate aiming for wildlife conservation and management. Individuals, families, NGOs and corporates privately run the conservations.

The owners decide the management structure, employment, financing, costs, etc. Most of these conservancies are in private ranches, mainly in Laikipia.

Group Conservancies

Group conservancies are formed when various bordering landowners combine their land for wildlife conservation and management. The daily running of the group conservancies is similar to the private conservancies, with the group operating as private land-holding companies.

The landowners choose the management using a management company or the registered private land-holding company. The board is chosen democratically, and a trust is used to maintain transparency.

Top 8 Conservancies in Kenya

Now let’s look at the top conservancies you can visit in Kenya and what makes them special.

1. Lewa Wildlife Conservancy- Meru

How about a Safari whose proceeds go directly to the community? Lewa Wildlife conservancy boasts picturesque sceneries, vast wildlife, homely hospitality and an educational experience.

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is home to the world’s largest Grevy’s Zebra population and 12% of Kenya’s eastern black rhinos. You’ll also see other animals like cheetahs, lions, elephants, wild dogs and hundreds of bird species.

The pack also hosts the Lewa Safaricom Marathon, where participants run in the reserve among the animals and nature to fundraise. The money goes into conserving endangered species and supporting the communities coexisting with the wildlife. 

Visiting Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is more than experiencing the incredible Kenyan outdoors. You’ll contribute towards the improvement of the community and wildlife conservation. 

2. Borana Conservancy- Laikipia

Photo by Shaun Mousley

At the foot of Mt.Kenya, between an arid landscape and indigenous forests, sits the Borana Conservancy. This Black and White Rhino home shares a border with Lewa Conservancy, and the animals can roam freely. The non-profit organisation running Borana Conservancy is dedicated to conserving habitats, and wild and human lives.

On a safari, you’ll explore a rich landscape with buffaloes, elands, impala, Grant’s gazelle, leopards and lions. Better still, you can get close up to the animals from a horse’s back. After all, Laikipia is a riding country.

Photo of Lengishu in Borana

After a long day, you can rest in some of the top resorts in Kenya. The unique and luxurious bush homes offer an exclusive experience dipped in hospitality, conservancy and tourism. The homes include Borana Lodge, Laragai House, Arijiju and Lengishu.

3. Ol Kinyei Conservancy- Mara

Courtesy of Ol Kinyei Facebook Page

Catch up with the great wildebeest migration at Ol Kinyei Conservancy in the Mara ecosystem. Each year, a myriad of gazelles, zebras and wildebeests go through the conservancy. With the migration comes numerous predators like lions and hyenas.

At Ol Kinyei, you’ll watch lions hunt and hear the laughing hyenas waiting to steal. You’ll also explore unspoiled landscapes dotted with yearly rivers, springs, and streams that attract various animals. So get your Safari gear ready for the best Kenyan Safari!

Courtesy of Ol Kinyei Facebook Page

The Conservancy has only two safari camps with tents featuring all modern comforts. Each provides guides and Masai trackers that offer a unique experience.

Ol Kinyei is Masai Mara‘s oldest conservancy, formed after 171 Masai landowners partnered with a safari operator. They set out a livestock exclusion zone to allow the ecosystem to rejuvenate.

4. Ol Pejeta Conservancy- Nanyuki

Stare at a chimpanzee, visit the last two northern white rhinos, and track lions. Ol Pejeta conservancy is the only place you can see chimps in Kenya and the largest population of black rhinos in East Africa.

The Conservancy is a former cattle ranch between the foothills of Mount Kenya and the Aberdares. It earns through tourism and donations used in conservation and community development.

The park allows you to see various animals within the same area. You’ll see rare and endangered species like the Grevy’s Zebra and the Bat-eared fox. You’ll also see other animals like hippos and giraffes.

Quench your hunger with a wild diner. The safari diner is perfect if you are low on budget or want a quick bite.

Visiting Ol Pejeta also helps build the community around it.

5. Soysambu Conservancy- Lake Elementaita

Courtesy of Soysambu Conservancy Facebook Page

Are you a birdwatching fanatic looking for an exciting and eventful Kenyan trip? Soysambu Conservancy, next to Lake Elementaita, is your perfect Kenyan destination.

Soysambu is a Masai word meaning place of striated rock and cattle colour. The conservancy’s location makes it a perfect spot to watch the 450 species of birds, including the migratory ones. The lake’s black lava islands provide the ideal nesting and breeding grounds for the White Pelican and other endangered bird species.

Courtesy of Soysambu Conservancy Facebook Page

Soysambu Conservancy is a unique Nakuru tourist attraction where you can watch lions, buffalos, giraffes, zebras, etc. You can also have a motorcycle safari, camel treks, horse riding, or film on-site. Yes! Soysambu is an Oscar-winning film location in Africa. It offers the opening scene of ‘In a Better World’.

6. Ol Jogi Wildlife Conservancy- Nanyuki

How does the idea of seeing the only bear in Africa sound? Good? Then a visit to the Ol Jogi Wildlife Conservancy in Nanyuki is necessary.

Ol Jogi is a wildlife conservancy focused on protecting the area and improving the lives of the community. It offers a range of activities for the whole family. The activities include abseiling, canyon ventures, bush walks and game drives.

You’ll also visit a rhino orphanage, a veterinary clinic, and a Twala cultural centre.

After a long day in the wild, you can retire to one of the luxurious homes within the conservancy. You’ll access a wildlife viewing tunnel, sauna, jacuzzi, wine cellar, bar, game room and many more. You can also request helicopter excursions and quad bikes for a premier safari experience.

Ol Jogi wildlife conservancy also runs a school where 230 kids learn for free through the primary level. Your visit goes towards buying resources and paying the staff.

7. Naboisho Conservancy- Maasai Mara

Photos Courtesy of Naboisho Conservancy Facebook Page

Naboisho conservancy stands out due to its size and location. It borders the famous Masai Mara National Park, Olare Motorogi Conservancy and the Ol Kinyei Conservancy. The size means finding more than five vehicles in the same spot is rare.

The low number of visitors provides the perfect wildlife viewing and protects the wildlife. You’ll access walk safaris that allow you to explore more miniature ecosystems that would be impossible from a vehicle. You’ll see termite mounds and a variety of bird species.

Photos Courtesy of Naboisho Conservancy Facebook Page

The Naboisho Conservancy also hosts a vast number of big cats. It is home to Mara’s largest pride with 20 members. The around 100 total lion population also indicates a massive population of prey within the conservancy.

8. Tsavo Conservancy- Taita Taveta

Courtesy of Tsavo Trust Facebook page

Watch the largest elephant population in Kenya at the Tsavo Conservancy in Taita Taveta. The conservancy consists of seven ranches (Amaka, Bachuma, Dawida, Kambanga, Rukinga, Taita and Wangalla) whose lands are protected for conservation. 

Tsavo conservancy forms a major migration route for wildlife, allowing the Fauna and biodiversity to roam freely between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks. It hosts buffaloes, lions, zebras, giraffes and many more.

Courtesy of Tsavo Trust Facebook page

Tsavo conservancy is close to the popular holiday destinations Diani, Watamu, and Malindi, making it the perfect place for the ultimate Kenyan safari. You can spend the day exploring the wild and your evenings near a bonfire at the beach.

Visit a Conservancy and Save Wildlife

Kenya has many tourist attractions, from rolling hills to picturesque sceneries, national parks and reserves, and white sandy beaches. Many people are trying to preserve and conserve this wildlife and have created wildlife conservancies.

Conservancies offer an exclusive viewing experience where you don’t have to fight with others to see animals. The traffic is usually low, and the tours are close to the animals. They also allow you to take walk safaris, quad bikes, horses and bicycles.

If you are planning a Kenyan Safari, consider a conservancy, you’ll enjoy what Kenya has to offer and help develop the communities around them.

For more information about touring Kenya and the best deals, visit our Destinations Kenya blog.


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