Lewa Wildlife Reserve
For every well-known Kenyan safari adventure, there are lesser-known pursuits to boot and located in the north of the East African nation resides one belonging to the latter variety - the Lewa Wildlife Reserve.
Otherwise known as the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, the reserve, which is small compared to others in Kenya, is located to the north of the Mount Kenya National Park and immediately south of the Eastern Province town of Isiolo.
Lewa was conceived in its current form back in 1995 and despite its size, Lewa boasts a big heart and a colourful history.
The modern-day Lewa reserve actually used to be named the Ngare Sergoi Rhino Sanctuary and before that a modest cattle ranch facility. In her second phase, it operated to protect sacred black rhino - one fifth of Africa’s famous Big Five game - from the threat of poaching.
Rebranded as the Lewa Wildlife Reserve nearly 20 years ago now, the park is also commonly associated with the rest of the African Big Five as well as other endangered species including, but not limited to Grevy’s zebra, sitatunga and the Beisa oryx.
The Beisa oryx actually belongs to Kenya’s so-called ‘northern speciality’ five which describes animals traceable above the Equator that can survive in Kenya’s overly hot conditions. In metrics, Lewa resides a mere 30 miles north of the Earth’s central intersection.
Record wildlife statistics
It is worth noting that Lewa boasts record wildlife statistics in relation to housing the world’s largest population of Grevy’s zebra at 12 per cent, meaning that sightings are both plentiful and frequent.
This species is distinguishable from other zebra in the way that they are generally taller and comprise a generously-sized black stripe that traverses the entire length of their upper body.
Lewa also boasts high percentages of both black and white rhino within Kenya’s borders - at 11 and 14 per cent respectively.
An idyllic landscape
Lewa represents an idyllic and perhaps traditionally imagined landscape for both first-time and seasoned travellers.
Given its close proximity to Mount Kenya, Lewa comprises rolling highlands which are intercepted by low lying open plains whereby wildlife is clearly visible in this natural hotbed.
Lewa can be accessed one of two ways, either by travelling upon light aircraft from Nairobi - which takes approximately 45 minutes - while travelling Kenya’s A2 highway from the capital takes around four hours.
Nevertheless, the A2 road runs right beside the reserve so access is fantastic compared to other off the beaten track pursuits around greater Kenya.
The Elephant Underpass
When embarking on the entrance to Lewa, travellers may realise a rather steep sided underpass that passes beneath the A2 road.
This is officially billed as Lewa’s famous Elephant Underpass and allows African elephant to safely pass between Lewa and the neighbouring Mount Kenya National Park.
Constructed at a cost of $250,000 and scaling 4.5 metres in height, the Elephant Underpass is just another facet of this incredible Kenyan safari destination.
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