OL Pejeta Conservancy Safari Guide

safarigo   Kenya  

Ol Pejeta is one of the prime sanctuaries of Laikipia Plateau and all of the Big Five are present. Its highlights include the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa; a population of southern white rhino; a refuge for the last two northern white rhino left in the world; and Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, housing orphaned and abandoned chimpanzees.

Pros & Cons

Excellent wildlife viewing including the Big Five
Great sightings of black and white rhino
Ol Pejeta is part of a bigger eco-system, ‘Laikipia Plateau’
Many activities including night drives, lion tracking and walking
Stunning views of Mount Kenya
Only reserve in Laikipia allowing day visits
the active ranch with cattle reduce the wilderness appeal
There is only a small animal-viewing circuit

Wildlife & Animals

Ol Pejeta Conservancy is home to all of the Big Five. It is the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa, and sightings of both black and white rhino are common. Ol Pejeta is said to have the highest predator density in Kenya outside of the Maasai Mara; and there is a good chance of seeing lion, cheetah and hyena.

Wildlife Highlights

The Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary is a refuge for chimpanzees rescued from the black market. It is the only place to see these charismatic apes in 

The endangered species enclosure is home to the only two remaining northern white rhinos in the world. Visitors can learn of efforts to bring this subspecies back from the brink of extinction.


With more than 500 species recorded, Ol Pejeta Conservancy is a bird-watcher's paradise. Early morning and afternoon bird walks can be organized at the lodges (maximum six people), but on game drives, the main focus tends to be on large animals so it might be worth booking a private vehicle if bird watching is your main interest.

Best Time to Visit

Ol Pejeta Conservancy offers good wildlife viewing throughout the year, although heavy downpours in the peaks of the Wet season can disrupt planned excursions. A 4x4 vehicle is essential if visiting during the rainy season from October to May.

June to September – Dry Season

Mostly sunny and there is little rain
Best time for wildlife viewing as water sources attract a steady flow of animals
Vegetation is thinner and visibility of animals is better
Roads are in good condition
The reserve gets quite busy
Dust in the sky reduces visibility and the scenery is less spectacular

October to May – Wet Season

The reserve is less busy and low season rates might apply
Outstanding bird watching with migratory birds present
Newborn animals are readily seen
Scenery is lush and clear skies offer stunning views of Mount Kenya on cloudless days
Smaller animals are difficult to spot in the long grass
Road conditions can be bad and a strong 4x4 is required
Rain can interfere with game drives
Some lodges close in April and/or May

Weather & Climate

Due to the high altitude, Ol Pejeta experiences a mild climate. Temperatures are fairly constant all year – daytime temperatures are in the mid-twenties, while nights are cooler. Warm clothes for game drives are essential. The main Wet season (the long rains) is from March to May while there is a shorter wet period (the short rains), which peaks in November.

Dry Season – June to September

The Dry season has mostly sunny days, although rainfall is possible at any time. Temperatures of around 24°C/75°F are common. At 10°C/50°F nighttime and early mornings are cold.
June & July – Conditions at this time of year are very pleasant in Ol Pejeta with an average afternoon temperature of 24°C/75°F. Overall, it is generally sunny with an occasional burst of rain.
August & September – These months are similar, although rain increases in August and temperatures do pick up – however, increases of both are small. In the afternoon the temperature will normally get to 24°C/75°F.

Wet Season – October to May

Even though the Wet season is between October and May, a drier period from December to February separates the ‘short rains’ and ‘long rains’. Overcast days are not unusual.
October & November – ‘Short rains’: It normally starts raining in October. The temperature in the afternoon averages a very pleasant 25°C/77°F.
December, January & February – These are the months separating the short and long rains when it is much drier. Its exact timing differs each year and it will still be wet some days.
March, April and May – ‘Long rains’: April sees the most rainfall. Although it doesn’t rain for the whole day, tracks might become challenging to navigate. It is warmer in the morning with average temperatures of about 10°C/50°F.

Getting There

The drive to Ol Pejeta Conservancy from Nairobi takes about three to four hours. The last 13km to Ol Pejeta is dirt, and 4x4 vehicles are essential in the rainy season. The easiest way to get to Ol Pejeta is to take one of the daily scheduled flights from Nairobi to Nanyuki airstrip, which is a 45-minute drive away. It is also possible to charter a flight from any other park to Ol Pejeta’s airstrip (currently only open to charter flights).

Nairobi is one of the biggest transport hubs on the continent. International flights arrive in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO), 15km/9mi southeast of Nairobi.