Laikipia is one of Kenya's 71 districts. The harsh and inhospitable region is on the equator in the central region of the country. It has a cool, temperate climate. Its capital is Nanyuki.
The vast plateau, north-west of the snow-capped Mt Kenya, has a landscape varying between the well-watered central highlands to the south, and the semi-arid steppe of Samburu to the north.
It has vast, open ranches and indigenous tribes have joined with settlers and ranchers to create a conservation and wildlife haven spanning 800,000 hectares of wild savannah.
Wildlife population is second to the Maasai Mara ecosystem, making it highly important for sustaining biodiversity and ecotourism. The environment supports many endangered species including Grevy's zebra, black and white rhino, reticulated giraffe, wild dog and hartebeest. Laikipia Ewaso Ngiro ecosystem is home to Kenya's second-largest elephant population. Around 4500 migrate through the area each year.
Sixty percent of its population is Kikuyu. The balance is made up of several other ethnic communities including Mukogodo Masai, Samburu, Meru, Borana, Kalenjin, Somali and Turkana. Livestock is their major source of food and the little money they have, and their transient lives, are shaped by the search for water and grazing. Tourism is becoming an important source of income.
The Samburu people, an offshoot of the Masai, are tall, proud and flamboyant, and while the Samburu and Masai look alike, each has their own culture and social practices. Moral and social codes are maintained and are based on respect for rituals and customs. Initiation rites, including male and female circumcision, are widely practised.
El Karama is a privately owned property in Laikipia. In the last 20 years, the 5500 hectare working cattle ranch has become home to exotic animals, and unlike big-name safari parks, its remote location means you can go for an entire day without seeing another tourist.
A benefit of it not being a national park is that there are no strict rules, and if you want to leave your vehicle and walk, that's allowed, too.
The real attraction of Laikipia is the sense of freedom not just that created by the wide, open spaces, but also the freedom of choice. Staying at a private ranch gives a range of activity options, and game viewing is intimate and adventurous.
Laikipia in eastern Africa, five hours from Nairobi.
Peregrine Adventures has 12-day Essence of Kenya tours. They include a visit to Laikipia, accommodation, transport, park entry fees and most meals. They cost $4605 per person, twin share.
Emirates has flights to Nairobi.
- Perth $3865
- Melbourne $4046
- Brisbane $4056
- Sydney $4064
- Adelaide $4665
Valid for sale and travel until April 30, 2010. Conditions apply.
Prices correct at July 3, 2008.
For further information
5/38 York Street
Ph: 1300 791 568
Ph: 1300 303 777
It is recommended travellers to Kenya see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there are specific vaccinations recommended. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended and are best discussed with your doctor. For further information visit www.welltogo.com.au.
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