Ol Pejeta Conservancy is a private wildlife conservancy which stretches for over 90,000-acres in the Kenya’s Laikipia District. Laikipia, a county the size of Wales, has the richest diversity of wildlife in Kenya outside of the Mara. Known as one of the best safari areas in the world, the highlands are populated by conservancies and ranches that are home to all the Big 5.
Ol Pejeta is in Laikipia, 4 hours drive from Nairobi or half an hour from Nanyuki. It is the home to the only surviving Northern White Rhino’s, a chimpanzee rehabilitation centre; the only place in Kenya to see chimps, and many rare species of animals such as Grevys zebra and African Wild Dogs.
Take this unique opportunity to head out on Ol Pejeta Conservancy to track the lion population. It is a great way to support the conservation project and to learn more about these fascinating animals. The conservancy also offers visitors the full big 5 experience.
Since being established in 1988 Ol Pejeta has had a colourful list of previous owners including Lord Delamere, an early and influential settler from Britain, shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis’ father Roussel and the arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi.
It was set up originally as a cattle ranch but herds of migrating elephant regularly destroyed the fenced enclosures making intensive cattle farming impracticable. Cattle still plays a role in Ol Pejeta today but as a managed livestock within the conservancy and is used to maximise the bio-diversity of the land making Ol Pejeta an integrated wildlife and livestock area.
Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary was set up with famed primatologist Jane Goodall in 1993 after a sanctuary in Burundi was forced to close and the chimps needed a new home. There are 39 chimpanzees right now, most rescued from awful situations that include being kept in tiny cages or as pets in cruel conditions. Some of them were orphaned after their mothers were killed or their habitats devastated.
Chimpanzees are native to West and Central Africa and their forests are at high risk of being destroyed; the primates are already endangered and at this stage every chimp counts. There are a number of other activities too and all the revenue from these experiences helps the conservancy continue to protect their animals.
Of high importance are their rhinos, which includes the last two northern white rhinos, both female; the last male, Sudan, died some years ago without being able to sire any offspring.
Its important for clients to pass through the tourist information block while visiting Ol Pejeta Conservancy. A house filled with the skulls and bones of all the animals that you have probably seen on safari. The highlight of the day is when you are to meet Baraka, a blind male black Rhino. Kept under the watchful eye of the park guards for his own protection, the old guy is so placid one is even able to hand feed him.
Baraka was one of the first rhinos born on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. After losing an eye to an infection following a fight he unfortunately developed a cataract in the other eye and subsequently became completely blind. With a low chance of survival on his own, Baraka was moved from the wild to a 100 acre enclosure in order to ensure his safety.
Ol Pejeta has a number of accommodations, from a self-catering campsite to our recommended choice, Asilia’s Ol Pejeta Bush Camp. Bush Camp is set by the river with spacious tents and comfortable beds made snug at night with a hot water bottle.
There are bucket showers, which basically means you need to request water before you shower, and flushing toilets. From wild camping by the river, to the lap of luxury in the old colonial ranch house, there are nine accommodation choices on Ol Pejeta, sure to suit every budget and taste.