Conservancies offer a unique way of interacting with the great wildlife in Kenya as the animals are closer to the people than in typical game parks and reserves. The conservancies came up to ensure co-existence between wildlife and the livestock belonging to locals living around tourist attractions.
Kenya has more than 10 great conservancies where you can interact with the animals while riding a horse, biking or even walking with a guide. You can even interact with the great wildebeest migration at some of the conservancies in Kenya.
The Best Conservancies to Visit in Kenya
The following conservancies are among the best you can find in Kenya:
1. Ol Pejeta Conservancy (O.P.C)
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is located between the Aberdares mountains and Mount Kenya. It’s home to The Big Five (leopard, lion, rhinoceros, Cape buffalo and elephant) and more than a thousand species of birds and mammals. This conservancy has the highest number of endangered animals some of which you can adopt.
2. Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, which was recently named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the ultimate experience for all animal lovers. Whether you’re a researcher, lover of adventure, leisure tourist or even a cultural enthusiast, there’s enough for you to indulge in at this conservancy. You’ll enjoy the sites of wild animals walking among the cattle and goats herded by the Maasai morans.
Once done with your touring of the area, you’ll have a rest in one of the cultural villages as you sample the local dishes around a bonfire.
3. Ol Kinyei Conservancy
The Ol Kinyei Conservancy is located in the larger Mara game reserve and is among the largest conservancies (18,300 acres).
Here, you’ll, find a mix of hills and savannah plains offering great sceneries where you can watch the big cats such as the lions, cheetahs and leopards in their natural territories. You can also have a closeup look at elephants, buffaloes, giraffes and wildebeest on their famous migration to and from the Serengeti.
4. Selenkay Conservancy
Bordering the Amboseli Park on the north, the Selenkay Conservancy is famous not only for its beauty, but also due to it having been among the first wildlife conservancies in Kenya.
In this conservancy, you’ll interact with various species of gazelles, elephants, cheetahs, lions, foxes, giraffes and monkeys. You can observe the animals either during the day or at night.
You also get to know the culture of the majestic Maasai in their traditional villages where you can sample their dishes and learn a song and dance.
5. Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy
If you love the mountains and wildlife, the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy is the place to be. Located at the foot of mount Kenya, this conservancy combines forestland, the mountain, and the plains below.
You can hike, ride a horse or even get a ride from the helicopters for some magical scenes.
You also get to interact with the highly endangered mountain bongo, an antelope that is among the most beautiful animals on the planet. Other endangered animals also call this conservancy their home.
After a day with the animals, you can enjoy golf, tennis, fishing, gliding and bowling in the mountains.
6. Mara Naboisho Conservancy
The Mara Naboisho Conservancy is another one of the many conservancies in the larger Mara reserve. It’s located on the northeastern part of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve and boasts of many fun activities.
Guided by the local (but highly trained) Maasai guides, your tour of this conservancy will be marked by the expansive plains and herds of animals freely interacting with the cattle owned by the locals.
7. Kigio Wildlife Conservancy
The Kigio Wildlife Conservancy is located in the South Rift close to Nakuru town. The conservancy is a former cattle ranch but the locals decided to conserve wildlife instead of the cattle.
Here you’ll find many endangered animals among them buffaloes, waterbucks, zebras, gazelles, giraffes, hyenas, elands, leopards and hippos. You can find more than 200 species of birds roaming the conservancy at will.
Besides the animals, there are many fun activities you can engage in within the conservancy.
8. Mara Triangle
The Mara Triangle is another one of the many conservancies located within the Maasai Mara Game Reserve. It stands out as one of the most unique conservancies given that you can watch the Great Migration without the crowding experienced on the rest of the migration.
This conservancy covers the western area of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve between the Oloololo Escarpment, the Mara River and the Serengeti National Park and is more than 126000 acres of natural habitat.
Besides the great migration, the area is home to many animal species which can be observed in their natural habitats.
9. Ol Jogi Wildlife Conservancy
The Ol Jogi Wildlife Conservancy is located close to Nanyuki Town and is home to lots of endangered animal species such as monkeys, cheetahs, elephants and many birds.
Given its small size compared to the other conservancies, it has fewer animals with most given a little space to roam. Still, it stands out as one of the most important conservancies in the region given the extent to which is has changed the area.
A lot of hotels and resorts with high-quality amenities have come up around the conservancy for your sampling.
10. Shompole Conservancy
The Shompole Conservancy is located between the Maasai Mara Game Reserve and the Amboseli National Park in the southern part of Kenya.
You will enjoy the colorful flocks of flamingoes on Lake Natron and Lake Magadi and the Rift Valley in general. A boat-ride on the Ewaso Ngiro river allows you to come close to the Lesser and Greater flamingoes in the lakes.
11. Namanyuk Wildlife Conservancy
Covering a breathtaking 850000 acres of land, the Namanyuk Wildlife Conservancy lies south of the Mathews Range and is home to many animal species such as the kudu, wild dogs, giraffes, leopards, elephants and many others.
Sarara Camp, the only one on the conservancy, offers guests an experience of a lifetime with bonfires, local dishes and cultural activities from the local communities.
Scenes of livestock grazing together with zebras and gazelles with lions nearby are common in the conservancy as you take a tour on foot, horseback or car.
12. Olare Motorogi Conservancy
This conservancy covers 33000 acres of plains and hills and is made up of the former Motorogi Conservancy and Olare Orok Conservancy. A part of the Mara, the Olare Motorogi Conservancy is among the places you can watch the Great Wildebeest Migration without the crowds typical of this spectacle.
Roaming the plains are lions, elephants and many others you can watch at close range.
The hotels and resorts in the conservancy are of great quality and offer a unique mix of the wilderness and cultural activities.
While these conservancies were meant to conserve wildlife while also helping the communities around them earn a living, they’ve grown into great experiences for both locals and tourists. Visiting them is both an enjoyable adventure and a way to support the saving of endangered animal species some of which are only left in Kenya. Better yet, you get to enjoy the experience of the wild without the large crowds found in game reserves and parks.