Ol Pejeta Conservancy
Ol Pejeta Conservancy is one of the prime sanctuaries of Laikipia Plateau and all of the Big Five are present. Its highlights include the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa; a population of southern white rhino; a refuge for the last two northern white rhino left in the world; and Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, housing orphaned and abandoned chimpanzees.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy is the busiest conservancy in Laikipia, but also one of the largest, with most tourist activity concentrated in the eastern third, site of the main lodge, but there are also a couple of more low-key wilderness camps in the western side. Game viewing is excellentand great sightings of lion, cheetah, elephant, buffalo and black and white rhino, along with reticulated giraffe, Beisa oryx, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle, Jackson’s hartebeest and Beisa oryx. Both Kenyan species of zebra are present we saw several individuals that appeared to be hybrid. It is also the only place you will have the best sightings of the localised and secretive striped hyena, a far more beautiful creature than the commoner spotted hyena. An enjoyable diversion (admittedly of limited conservation value) is the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, founded in 1993 to protect a group of orphaned and sterilized chimps formerly housed at the Jane Goodall Institute inBurundi – the chimps can be viewed from across a river, allowing for great (albeit rather artificial) photographic opportunities.
Meet the Northern White Rhino
In 2009, Ol Pejeta Conservancy welcomed four of the world’s last remaining seven northern white rhinos from the Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic. Suni, unfortunately, died of natural causes on October 2014 and Sudan died of age-related complications on March 19th 2018, leaving only two northern white rhino left in the world – both females. The two remaining rhino now live in the 700-acre rhino enclosure. Here, visitors have a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet these remarkable rhino up close and personal and to hear their amazing story from the keepers that look after them 24/7. All proceeds from the Meet the Northern White Rhinos experience are reinvested into the continuing efforts to pull the species back from the verge of extinction.
When to visit
There is no simple answer to this question, as every season has its highlights.
Typically, Kenya’s long rains occur in April, May and early June. This is followed by a cooler dry season between July and October. The short rains fall for a few weeks in November, and the hotter dry season is December to March.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy has excellent game all year round. For self drive visitors, a 4×4 is essential in the rainy season.
Night Game Drive
Supersize your safari experience with a night game drive. This opportunity is not available in most wildlife conservancies, so wrap up warm and let loose that intrepid explorer inside you.
Sunset is a game changer in the African wilderness – this is when the truly weird and wonderful come out to play, this is nature at its most raw. With the help of a spot light and an expert Ol Pejeta guide, you stand the chance of spotting some of Kenya’s more unusual critters. Aardvark, zorillas, bat-eared foxes, leopard, and lion hunts are just some of sights included in our guest’s campfire tales when they return. We provide spotlights.
Available daily between 19:00 – 21:00 and 21:00 and 23:00.
It can get cold on night game drives, so we recommend extra layers for comfort. Clothing should be neutral in colour.
How to get there
The drive to Ol Pejeta Conservancy from Nairobi takes about three to four hours. The last 13km to Ol Pejeta is dirt, and 4×4 vehicles are essential in the rainy season. The easiest way to get to Ol Pejeta is to take one of the daily scheduled flights from Nairobi to Nanyuki airstrip, which is a 45-minute drive away. It is also possible to charter a flight from any other park to Ol Pejeta’s airstrip (currently only open to charter flights).
Nairobi is one of the biggest transport hubs on the continent. International flights arrive in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO), 15km/9mi southeast of Nairobi.
Masai Village Visit
Masai Village Visit is a formidable activity to do while in Kenya.
You’ve seen pictures of them – adorned with the brilliant red, blue and purple patterns of the shukas they wear. The men with their spears, tall and proud. The women bejeweled with bright beaded earrings and scarves. These are the some of the oldest inhabitants of East Africa, the Maasai people.
They live in small mud-thatched villages, surrounded by their cattle and smaller livestock. For hundreds of years the Masai have roamed these lands of Kenya and Tanzania, living a free, nomadic lifestyle. Their traditional lands now comprise much of Kenya’s national parks.
A highlight of your safari vacation is a visit with these Maasai people. Many of the tribes welcome visitors to their villages to view up close their culture and lifestyle.
Arriving at the Village – An Explosion of Colour
The first thing you’ll notice as you enter a village is the many vivid colours of the Masai’s garments. The bright shukas or sheets they wear contrast strongly with the greens and browns of the landscape.
Adding to this display of colour is the brightly beaded jewelry – necklaces, bracelets and amulets – worn by the women and men.
This beadwork, while very appealing, has more than just an ornamental value. The women who create it express their identity and social status with these handcrafted pieces.
You’ll see displays of this beaded jewelry for sale, and you can help support the village with a purchase… as well as bringing home an authentic souvenir from your travels.
Music and Dance
You may get to experience the villagers singing and dancing… and you might even be able to join in! The Maasai are known for their rhythmic call-and-response singing. Perhaps their most widely known dance is the adumu or “jumping dance”.
The warriors form a circle with one person entering the center. This dancer will jump higher and higher to the rhythms of the singers. As he jumps higher the singers will raise the pitch of their voices.
Sometimes guests are invited into the circle, adding to the dancing fun!
Standing in muted contrast to the colourful villagers, you’ll see the browns and grays of the Maasai’s houses, called bomas. Small structures with thatched roofs, it is the job of the Maasai women to build these sturdy dwellings.
The women begin with a framework of timber poles and interweave smaller branches to form a structure. This is then covered with a mixture of mud, grass, cow dung, urine and ash. The entire structure is no more than 3 x 5 m in area and stands only 1.5 m tall.
Yet the family cooks, eats, sleeps and socialises in this modest structure – even sharing space with small livestock! You may be able to peek inside to experience a very different lifestyle.
The men also participate in constructing this homestead. It is their responsibility to build the protective fencing around the village to keep lions and other predators away from the livestock.
We’ll Be Your Guide
We’ll provide you with opportunities to enjoy a visit to a Masai Village. On your Incredible Adventure to the Masai Mara Reserve or Amboseli National Park, you can partake of this optional excursion. The cost is only $20 and payable to the village chief. Just ask your driver/guide who will make all the arrangements.
Should you have any other special requests for your safari adventure please don’t hesitate to ask your guide or contact our offices. You can contact us online here.