Covering a staggering 65,000 acres, Lewa Conservancy is one of Kenya’s more popular destinations in Meru County. The picturesque landscape stretches from snow-capped Mt. Kenya in the south to the shrublands of Tassia and Il Ngwesi in the north.
Lewa envisions a future where people value, protect and benefit from wildlife. This future depends on communities being able to derive livelihoods in ways compatible with a thriving wildlife habitat. Consequently, Lewa Conservancy invests heavily in neighbouring communities through programmes in education, healthcare, water, micro-enterprise, youth empowerment and more.
Lewa Airstrip is a 45 minute flight from Wilson Airport in Nairobi with daily scheduled flight on Safarilink and Air Kenya, and private charters from anywhere. Lewa Airstrip coordinates: N0° 11’ 51” E37° 27’ 51”.
Note, Lewa Conservancy has very strict driving rules and only authorized vehicles are allowed within the Conservancy. Visitors arriving by road have to be collected from the Conservancy headquarters.
Lewa Airstrip | Image by Lewa Wilderness
Things to Do
Lewa’s diverse landscapes and ecosystems offer a myriad of activities. There is plenty to see and do for solo travellers, groups of friends and families.
1. Lewa Safaricom Marathon
Lewa Safaricom Marathon is one of Kenya’s best known events. Regarded as one of the toughest races in the world, the annual Safaricom Marathon is a must-do for long distance runners and families, with a 5km children’s race as well as the full and half marathons. Both professionals and amateurs participate on the challenging wilderness terrain, the experience is worthwhile.
Funds raised go towards conservation efforts and development initiatives in the surrounding regions.
Marathon runners alongside a baby rhino | Image captured by Tusk Trust
2. Game Drives
A conservancy visit is incomplete without a game drive. Lewa has one of the highest wildlife densities in Kenya including 12% of the country’s black and white rhinos, and the world’s single largest population of Grevy’s zebra. The Conservancy is also home to herds of elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, lions, cheetahs, more than 400 species of birds and, if lucky, a pack of wild dogs.
3. Take Part in Security and Anti-Poaching Operations
Lewa continually adapts to the rapidly evolving threat of poaching in order to protect the wildlife. Visit Lewa’s Radio Room and learn about the sophisticated system their rangers use to monitor wildlife at Lewa and neighbouring conservancies, in partnership with the Northern Rangelands Trust.
4. The Elephant Underpass
Depending on the season, Lewa is home to about 400 migratory elephants where they find a safe haven. Elephant populations are regularly monitored across the conservancy and across northern Kenya, Lewa collaborates in elephant conservation with a host of partners, including Save The Elephants, the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Northern Rangelands Trust.
To minimise human-wildlife conflict and prevent the disruption of elephants’ historic migration routes, Lewa has worked to provide safe passage for the species. The elephant underpass avoids the busy Meru-Nanyuki highway where elephants often encounter human activities. As a result the conservancy has helped reduce illegal elephant killings by up to 32%.
5. Biplane Flying Excursions and Scenic Rides
Try a scenic flight onboard Lewa Wildernesses‘ private Cessna aircraft for bird’s eye views of Lewa Conservancy, Mt Kenya and Samburu. Fly to the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary that cares for orphaned abandoned baby elephants. Lewa Wilderness also hosts and flies the only open cockpit biplane in East Africa that travels around the conservation areas of northern Kenya. A truly magical experience.
The late Anthony Bourdain in front of WACO pilot Will Craig’s biplane | Image by Will Craig
6. Plan a Day Trip to Ngare Ndare
The lush Ngare Ndare forest is an indigenous forest at the northern foothills of Mt. Kenya. Azure pools glisten at the bottom of waterfalls. Thick, towering trees create a canopy supporting a rich variety of bird and animal life. The forest is a vital corridor linking the Lewa and northern Kenya to Mount Kenya National Park which elephants have used for centuries.
Guests swimming in Ngare Ndare’s turquoise pools | Image by Stavica
In the dry season, sunny days are typical although it can rain occasionally. Day temperatures get up to around 25°C/77°F. Nighttime’s and early mornings are considerably colder, with temperatures dropping to 10°C/50°F. As such, clothing should be light for the day and warm for the evening game drives and sundowners.
Best Time to Go
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy offers good wildlife viewing throughout the year, but heavy rain can interfere with your safari. Many of safari camps and lodges are closed in April and November, the ‘green season’ months, due the the road conditions.