Lewa Wilderness Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya
Lewa Wilderness is situated within one of Kenya’s major private conservation successes, the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, at the foot of Mt. Kenya. Lewa Downs has been the Craig family home since 1924 when the Craigs came from England and began raising cattle here. Lewa Wilderness is the original family home of the Craigs and is still home to Will and Emma Craig who host with their team of professional guides.
The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy has three extraordinary assets:
• Beautiful countryside and as good a wildlife experience as anywhere in Africa.
• Many of the world’s endangered species – Black and White Rhino, Grevy’s Zebra and Sitatunga.
• A major commitment to community development and participation.
Nine comfortable thatched cottages with spacious ensuite bathrooms, fireplaces in the sitting areas and verandahs with spectacular views.
Lighting is by a 240V generator, run morning and evening hours. Power outlets in tents so phone/camera batteries can be charged in the rooms. Travel size hair dryers can be used in the cottages – guests are recommended to bring own and management needs to be informed. There is also a mini-bar in each room.
• Large sitting room with fireplace
• Horizon salt-water swimming pool
• Tennis court
• Laundry services provided
• Gift shop
• Internet access for guests – charged at US$2/minute but only when the generator is on
• Mobile phone networks available
• Safe box in the main office
• Massage (extra charge)
• Credit card facilities – Amex, Mastercard and Visa
Full board accommodation, house-wines, beers & soft drinks. Champagne excluded. Special dietary requirements can be accommodated with prior notice.
• Shared game drives in open 4×4 vehicles with knowledgeable guides, both during the day and at night
• Game walks with an experienced guide
• Horse riding for both experienced riders and novices (hats and English saddles provided)
• Camel treks
• Visits to prehistoric sites
• Cultural visits with local communities
• Farm and craft tours
• Scenic flights in biplane
• Il’Ngwesi cultural village visit
• Daily scheduled flight (via Nanyuki) departing Wilson Airport
• By private charter flight, directly to Lewa Downs airstrip
• Lewa Downs airstrip is approximately 20 minutes drive from Lewa Wilderness
• By road, five hour drive from Nairobi.
Lewa Wilderness is closed in November.
A Typical day at Wilderness Trails
At Lewa Downs, a magnificent private conservancy of more than 50,000 acres, Wilderness Trails, the guest operation is run in the home of Will and Emma Craig and is hosted by Meera Aggawall, Karamushu OlKinyaga and their capable assistant hosts and guides.
You can choose between a variety of escorted excursions; game viewing drives on the conservancy, local bush walks or horseback riding. There is some magnificent country to be explored on the flat and in the hills and horseback riding is the perfect way to get right among the plains game: literally a few feet away from browsing giraffe, zebra and eland. The horses have given enormous pleasure to many who have never ridden before. The peace is remarkable, the only sounds being the plod of the horse’s hooves and the singing of birds. The swamp amid yellow-barked acacia trees contains a breeding stock of sitatunga, a shy aquatic antelope with long splayed hooves, which enable it to traverse marshy areas. Also, a treetop game lookout nearby is a fine place for observing wildlife.
Animals to be seen at Lewa include elephant, numerous reticulated giraffe, eland, lion, leopard, cheetah, Burchell’s and Grevy’s zebra, Jackson’s hartebeest, greater kudu, Grant’s gazelle, impala, gerenuk, bushbuck, dikdik and many others. Lewa is also one of the few places where one can see Grevy’s zebra and Burchell’s zebra, side-by-side. The conservancy is one of Kenya’s Rhino Sanctuaries and protects more than 20 black rhino and 20 white rhino.
There is a prehistoric site at Lewa Downs where rough-hewn ancient Acheulian hand axes can be found scattered all over the ground, perhaps a half million years old. If you are interested, a visit to see the working side of the ranch can be arranged. The Craigs are also committed to developing several cottage industries on the fringe of their property and the local community weave attractive carpets from natural wool, sheared from sheep raised on the property, and make furniture from trees felled by elephant. You can visit the carpet and furniture workshops, or these are available for purchase at the small gift boutique as well as other items.
The bird life is superb and lilac-breasted rollers, superb starlings, white-throated bee-eaters and red-fronted barbets are amongst the colourful birds to be found here. When you stand on the rock outcrops, vultures and eagles can be photographed soaring within a few feet. Arriving at the lookout point high on a windy ridge, you can see 17,000’ Mount Kenya glowing crimson in the distant sunset. A short walk to the cliff reveals another surprise; a table and chairs have been set up and the staff are waiting to serve drinks and hors d’oeuvres! The return to the lodge is a night drive with a spotlight, on the lookout for nocturnally active species such as aardvark, caracal, bat-eared fox, honey badger, porcupine, bush baby, mongoose, etc.
Following dinner, you can sip a cocktail or coffee by the fire, enjoy friendly conversation and marvel at the millions of bright stars twinkling brightly in the inky black pollution-free African sky. Looking down towards the south, the four ‘points’ of the Southern Cross can be clearly seen.