Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya
Situated in the foothills of snow-capped Mount Kenya in central Kenya’s Laikipia County, Ol Pejeta Conservancy is a trailblazer in conservation, most famous for protecting the world’s last two northern white rhinos.
Across the 36,400-hectare conservancy, you might spot lion prowling the plains, giraffe and elephant munching on whistling thorn trees, cheetah scanning for prey or even elusive wild dog and leopard. It’s one of the largest black rhino sanctuaries in East Africa. Unlike in many protected areas, cattle farming has been built into Ol Pejeta’s conservation plan, benefitting the land and wildlife through strategic grazing, and the people through employment.
Ol Pejeta offers a huge range of activities and is ideal for active types, families or honeymooners, making it one of the best places to visit in Kenya. Start the day with a jog with the rangers or a walk across the savannah to spot birds, learn about tracking, identify plants and maybe even watch a black rhino browsing from a safe distance. As well as game drives, visitors can go cycling or horse riding through the reserve, meet the anti-poaching dogs or track lion with the conservancy’s researchers. The fees for these activities help fund conservation initiatives.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy
Ol Pejeta is easily accessible and less than a four-hour drive from Nairobi. You can also fly in on a light aircraft from Nairobi or the Masai Mara, and it’s easily paired with a beach break on the Kenyan coast or Zanzibar.
January to March
The dry period between January and February sees excellent game viewing, with wildlife drawn to water sources. As the short rains have just fallen, the landscape doesn’t look too parched, making for better photographs. This is also the season for migratory birds in Ol Pejeta.
This is a hot, dry time of year with temperatures hitting a high of 27°C/81°F in February. As it’s a high-altitude area (1,800 metres), nights can still be chilly with lows averaging 7°C/45°F. Pack layers. January and February are dry months, with the long rains usually beginning around mid-March.
Ol Pejeta Climate
Ol Pejeta Conservancy Wildlife
Ol Pejeta Conservancy is home to the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino – black, southern white, and northern white), as well as cheetah and wild dog. There are endangered Grévy’s zebra and Jackson’s hartebeest in the 283-hectare Endangered Species Enclosure, which is also where the last northern white rhinos live. Birders can look out for around 300 bird species. Unusually for a safari area, you might also see the conservancy’s Boran cattle herds. Learning how cattle grazing fits into Ol Pejeta’s conservation plan is fascinating. Visit one of the protective night-time bomas (animal enclosures) with your guide to learn more.