Laikipia is a massive region consisting of private ranches, communal gazing areas and game reserves forming an area larger than any national park in the country. In general, a stay in Laikipia is more about the stunning scenery, cultural experiences and activities, rather than the wildlife, but areas such as the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Ol Pejeta and Solio still offer excellent game-viewing.

Activities include camelback safaris and horse riding, quad biking, tubing, bi-planes, walking safaris, fly camping, fishing and participating in conservation projects such as Grevy’s zebra or rhino research in Lewa or the Laikpia Predator Project. Cultural experiences are extremely special, and you can visit villages and schools, special community projects or simply chat with the local staff and learn from them directly. All these activities make the area great for families and a perfect addition to days of game viewing in the Mara.

The area is known for its family-run properties, owned by former ranching families (some of whom actively participate in the daily guest experience) with generations of history in Kenya who have now put their energy into conservation and combating poaching. Finally, because these are privately-owned properties, you are not subject to the restrictions of the national parks, so can enjoy a more flexible safari; stay out late on a night drive, drive off-road to get the perfect picture, or take a hike up to a camp's 'Star Beds' for a night under the African Sky.

Properties we love in Laikipia include: Lewa House, Sirikoi, Borana, Kicheche Laikpia, Solio,Ol Malo and Sanctuary Ol Lentille.

The remote north has fewer animals than the Maasai Mara (most places do), but the accommodation is quirky and family-owned. You get the sense you are staying in someone’s home and the experience feels hosted and extra special.

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Jenna Stockman