Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Safari Guide
Lewa is a prime sanctuary on Laikipia Plateau. It is known for its outstanding conservation record and development work in the local community. It is one of the best places in Kenya to see the Big Five. Sightings are common of both black rhino and white rhino, and it’s also a stronghold for the endangered Grevy's zebra.
Pros & Cons
Excellent wildlife viewing with all of the Big Five present
Great sightings of black and white rhino
Night drives, horse riding and walking safaris available
Overnight camel treks available
Excellent food and service
Bush breakfast and picnic lunches offered
Stunning views of Mount Kenya and the surrounding landscape
The cattle and fences take away some of the wilderness appeal
There is only a small animal-viewing circuit
Most wildlife has been re-introduced so it can lack authenticity
Wildlife & Animals
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is home to all of the Big Five. It has good populations of black rhino and white rhino and sightings are very common. Elephant and buffalo are plentiful and there is a good variety of predators including cheetah, lion, leopard and wild dog. Antelopes include eland, impala, defassa waterbuck and Grant's gazelle.
Lewa is home to the northern specials, which are found only north of the equator and have the ability to live in arid conditions. All five species occur here: Grevy's zebra, reticulated giraffe, beisa oryx, gerenuk and the Somali ostrich. The forest is home to the black-and-white colobus monkey and a few hippo spend their days in Lewa swamp.
There are many north Kenya specials in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, including the Somali ostrich, vulturine guineafowl and the beautiful golden-breasted starling. In all, more than 350 bird species have been recorded, making it a great birding destination. It is probably worth booking a private vehicle if you’re here mainly for bird watching – most of the game drives in Lewa focus on spotting large animals.
Best Time to Visit
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy offers good wildlife viewing throughout the year, but heavy rain can interfere with your safari. The reserve's lodges are closed in April and November because the condition of the roads is a problem in those Wet season months.
June to September – Dry Season
Not much rain and conditions are usually sunny
Wildlife watching is easier as animals gather at year-round water sources
Vegetation is thinner and so visibility of animals is better
Off-road driving is permitted
The reserve gets quite busy
A lot of dust in the sky and the scenery is less spectacular
October to May – Wet Season
The reserve is less busy and low season rates might apply
Bird watching is excellent and migratory birds are present
There are many newborn animals
Scenery is lush and the clear conditions offer stunning views of Mount Kenya when the clouds lift
Many overcast days
The grass is long which makes smaller animals harder to spot
Off-road driving won’t be possible after rain
Weather & Climate
The climate within the park is mild – mid to late twenties during the day, much cooler at night – and its location, close to the equator, means only small variations in temperatures year-round. Don’t forget to pack warm clothing for wildlife watching in the morning.
Dry Season – June to September
During the Dry season, sunny days are usually experienced, although it can also rain. Temperatures during the day are about 25°C/77°F. However, it is considerably colder at nighttime and in the early mornings (temperatures around 10°C/50°F).
June & July – Pleasantly sunny days occasionally interrupted by rain. Afternoon temperatures average at 25°C/77°F. If heading out early in the morning on a game drive don’t forget to take warm clothing.
August & September – Both the rainfall and the heat pick up slightly in August. The temperatures in the afternoon can reach up to 26°C/79°F.
Wet Season – October to May
There are plenty of cloudy days but it doesn’t often rain all day. In fact, there is a drier period during December to February that splits the so called ‘short rains’ from the ‘long rains’.
October & November – ‘Short rains’: Usually beginning sometime in October, the temperatures in the afternoon are around 27°C/81°F.
December, January & February – Although the exact timing is almost impossible to predict, there is a drier period during these months, which separate the short and long rains.
March, April & May – ‘Long rains’: It rains a lot, but it doesn’t always rain all day – April is the wettest month. Average temperatures in the early mornings are around 11°C/52°F. Be aware that the tracks might become slippery and difficult to drive.
It takes about five hours to drive from Nairobi to Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. The easiest way to get to Lewa is to take one of the daily scheduled flights from Nairobi. It is also possible to charter a flight from any other park, or Nairobi. Finding your way to Nairobi itself isn’t difficult due to it being one of Africa’s largest transport hubs. International flights arrive in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO), 15km/9mi southeast of Nairobi.