Lewa Wilderness is located on the renowned Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya, a private conservancy working as a model and catalyst for the conservation of wildlife and its habitat. Covering 62 000 acres the conservancy is home to a wide variety of wildlife including the endangered black rhino, for which it became known as the leading pioneer rhino sanctuary in East Africa.
Since 1922, the Craig/Douglas family ran what was formerly known as Lewa Downs, as a cattle ranch encouraging the large number of resident wildlife to co-exist with the ranch cattle. In 1972, they began hosting visitors – the first private ranch in Kenya to do so. In 1990, David and Delia Craig retired and their son, Will and his wife, Emma, took over the running of the lodge. Lewa Wilderness is today still the family home of Will and Emma Craig where, with the help of Karamushu and his wife Fatuma and the wider team, they proudly continue to entertain guests and provide a truly unique and personal safari experience. When you arrive at Lewa Wilderness you’ll immediately feel like you are family!
The beauty of Lewa Wilderness isn’t just in the incredible scenery and wildlife explored daily with game drives – but in the wealth of activities and experiences to be had at every turn. From the traditional game viewing vehicles (including their new electric game viewing vehicles), to guided walks and breathtaking scenic flights in their retro yellow WACO bi-plane to unforgettable horse riding safaris for all ages and levels and even camel riding and fly camping.
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is what it is today because of a lady called Anna Merz, who became a dear friend of David and Delia Craig, having stayed as a guest at Lewa Wilderness. She approached them in the early 80s with a request: horrified by the population decline of rhino throughout Africa, Anna wanted to build a rhino sanctuary to protect the last remaining members of the species. At this point in time, demand for rhino horn had reduced Kenya’s 20,000 rhino to a few hundred in less than 15 years. This was the start of converting ranch land to wildlife and environmental protection.
The breeding program and conservation were extremely successful and began attracting tourists from around the world, anxious to see some of the last remaining rhinos in Kenya. Despite being a vast expanse of protected habitat, Lewa was surrounded by unprotected land and the only way conservation efforts in the area would sustain was if neighbouring communities could see tangible benefits resulting from the work.
Today, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is a UNESCO World Heritage Site owned by a charitable organisation benefiting wildlife, environment and the participating communities. Every guest staying at Lewa Wilderness automatically supports the Lewa’s pioneering conservation initiatives as well as community and education programs.