Laikipia is home to the highest diversity of mammals in Africa. It is wild, and so are they. It is not a national park, but a series of private conservancies and ranches and these are largely unfenced. The whole area spans nearly a million acres and Laikipia is beautiful, and very unique. It is also home to threatened species of mammals, and unique mammals only found in Northern Kenya. Grevy’s zebra, Reticulated giraffe, Beisa oryx, zorilla, striped hyena, aardwolf, wild dog, and even a melanistic black leopard are all some of the unusual species you can find in this corner of Laikipia.
We have large permanent herds of elephants all year round, lions, leopards, spotted hyena, common and Grevy’s zebra, warthog, hippo in the river, buffalo, and many different antelope species. Over 350 different species of birds have been recorded and our guides are highly trained in helping you spot and identify them.
At times we have some of the best wild dog sightings in Africa in this area of Laikipia . The pack we followed for ten years suffered from an outbreak of canine distemper in 2017 which almost wiped them out but they recovered and have since had two litters of pups. The wild dogs are not always in the immediate area, but they often hunt in this area and can be found daily at times. If you are keen to see them and photograph them please contact us for an update on their movements. Chances of seeing them in 2018 have been good and we are delighted to see the population expanding again. We do not wish to raise expectation but we are hopeful of the recovery of wild dogs in Laikipia which at times is one of the strongest populations in Africa.
Recently we have had sightings of a young male black leopard in the area. This is extremely rare and the well known photographer Will Burrard-Lucas hit the headlines across the world in February 2019 with photos of the leopard after Steve and Will successfully identified where the leopard was moving at night and set up camera traps. After a week Will managed to catch the leopard on film in some beautiful photographs of this incredible creature. He is wild and he is likely to move but we are certainly going to try and look for him on night drives over the next few months. See Will’s blog here:
There have been hundreds of interviews, articles and photos printed of the story and we are grateful to Will for following up what was a few sightings of this creature and for capturing these pictures whilst staying with us for two weeks in January 2019 at Laikipia Wilderness. The leopard is safe, there is no hunting allowed in Kenya and the area is closely monitored by game rangers so he is not going to be stolen and whisked off to some zoo contrary to a few concerns that the press might have rendered him unsafe.
Meru National park is full of lions, giraffes, buffalo, elephant, lesser kudu, gerenuk, hippos, crocodiles, cheetah and leopard. Inside a rhino sanctuary are a good population of white and black rhino. The park is dense and tropical in areas, and dry and more open in others. With a huge range of habitats it is no wonder it has the greatest diversity of mammals species in any park in Kenya. Meru is warm and much lower than Laikipia and the two areas are so different that they complement each other perfectly.
The park is surrounded by hills, and the great Tana river runs to the south of it. Inside the park there are a series of small, palm-lined rivers home to woodland birds.
Birdlife in Meru is exceptional and our guides are highly trained ornithologists, binoculars and bird books are carried in the vehicle but do bring your own binoculars. Meru is full of water birds, birds of prey, woodland birds and many unusual birds not found in other typical safari areas of Kenya.