Lewa Wildlife Conservancy was previously a cattle ranch owned by David and Delia Craig, who together with Ana Mertz and Peter Jenkins, initially set aside 5,000 acres to protect and breed rhinos, whose population had dropped precipitously from 20,000 to less than 300 in the 1970′s. Within a decade, the success of the project drove demand for more space and, in 1995, the Craigs decided to dedicate their entire ranch to the conservation of wildlife.
Lewa has served as a catalyst for conservation across the region, stimulating the creation of numerous conservancies, both private and community-owned, increasing the amount of land under conservation management in northern Kenya to over almost 2 million acres since the mid-1990s.
Managed by Elewana, Lewa Safari Camp is the only tourism property owned by the Conservancy itself, with the aim of boosting the conservancy’s revenue through camp occupancy. All camp profits and conservancy fees generated by the camp are reinvested directly into the conservation and community efforts of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.
Lewa Safari Camp has undergone major refurbishments since 2009. Many of the improvements have been “behind the scenes” to make the camp environmentally friendly and a safe and comfortable place to work. Improvements include solar water heating, new small efficient power generators, environmental waste disposal and recycling, as well as new staff housing, kitchen and recreation rooms. The vehicle fleet is still being upgraded to more modern fuel efficient vehicles, and effluent disposal systems are being overhauled.
Lewa Safari Camp has been awarded its first “Gold Level” by Ecotourism Kenya, a great acknowledgement of our progress of upgrading all the back of house systems to make the camp as environmentally responsible as possible; as befits the Conservancy ethos.
Through the facilitation of community conservation and development, protection of endangered species and education of neighbouring areas about the value of wildlife, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy has become Africa’s leading model for conservation and low impact tourism.
Being the only tourism property that reinvests all profits into the Conservancy, when you visit Lewa Safari Camp, you inherently contribute to development support for thousands of people in the surrounding communities at the same time as securing a stable habitat for Kenya’s wildlife.
The essence of the community programmes is to reduce human-wildlife conflict and increase the socio-economic benefits local communities derive from wildlife and tourism. Lewa assists these communities with education and health-care support, water and agricultural projects, as well as a women’s micro-credit programme, reaching over 800 members.
Over and above the funding that Lewa Safari Camp generates for the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy projects, we are specifically encouraging additional donor support for the Conservancy’s Lewa Education Programme. The programme supports 12 schools in the surrounding communities, providing classrooms, kitchens, teachers’ housing, a feeding programme reaching over 4,000 children, bursaries for over 500 students, assistance to 60 orphans, adult literacy catering for 300 people and conservation education running three times a week, open to students all over Kenya.
If you would like to visit one of the schools during your safari, a minimum $50 donation for the Lewa Education Programme will be applicable per person. Please note that the Lewa Education Programme allocates all donations received according to current priorities as identified by them. Contact us for more information.
If you would like to learn more about the Conservation work that Lewa Wildllife Conservancy does, a minimum $50 donation will be applicable per person to visit ongoing work. Participation depends on availability of conservancy personnel etc, but could include visiting the tracker dogs in their training, or a general discussion about the conservation work from those involved. Contact us for more information.
If you are considering bringing donations from abroad, visit the Pack for a Purpose website for very specific advice on what is needed. Please do note that when flying within Kenya, the internal flight weight restriction is 15kg and may therefore limit what you can carry with you to the camps and donate to the rural communities in person. We can always, however, donate anything over and above your weight limit on your behalf at a later date.