Lewa Wildlife Conservancy was previously a cattle ranch owned by David and Delia Craig. In 1995 they decided to dedicate their entire ranch to the conservation of wildlife, especially the critically endangered rhino.
Since then, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy has become a globally recognised model of collaborative conservation, involving multiple stakeholders, in particular the surrounding tribal communities, and in 2013 was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy covers 65,000 acres of pristine African wilderness. With dramatic views of snow-capped Mt Kenya to the south, and the arid lands of Tassia and Il Ngwesi to the north, Lewa showcases a range of wild habitats from highland forests, wide open grasslands, melt-water mountain springs and acacia woodland and supports over 440 bird species. More than 70 different animal species roam the vast grasslands at the foot of Mt Kenya.
Through the protection and management of wildlife species, the initiation and support of community conservation and development programmes, and by educating the local youth in the value of wildlife, Lewa has reversed a decline in several endangered species, most famously rhino and Grevy’s zebra.
Since 1984 its rhino population has grown steadily, not only restoring local numbers but enabling the reintroduction of black rhinos into other regions of East Africa - where they had long been extinct.
The Conservancy currently holds over 10% of Kenya’s black and 15% of Kenya’s white rhino population as well as the largest single population of the critically-endangered Grevy’s zebra in the world.
The Conservancy also carries out extensive outreach work into the surrounding tribal communities with its Community Development Programme and has improved the livelihoods of hundreds of families living on its boundaries with its healthcare, micro-finance, community-managed water projects and education programmes for both adults and children.
Elewana Kifaru House has been built to have minimal environmental impact, using natural, locally sourced materials, and great care has been taken to reflect the style and character of the Kenyan highlands and blend into the beautiful surroundings.
Solar panels are used to generate electricity and heat water, and waste-water is recycled to irrigate the gardens including an splendid organic kitchen garden.
Lewa reinvests all the profits generated from tourism into the conservation and community efforts of the Conservancy and employs locally from these same communities.