How Drought Affects Safaris in Laikipia, Kenya

The dry season is a reoccurring inevitability in Kenya, and safari lodges and guides need to work with the local communities and habitats to ensure the experiences everybody enjoys on safari are sustainable and maintained for future years.

We spoke with Steve Carey, Ranch Manager at Sosian Ranch in Laikipia, about the impacts of the dry season on safari life:

Importance of land management

"Laikipia is a semi-arid area at the best of times, and it is only through good land management in times of higher rainfall that it can endure the normal dry season every year and support its large numbers of game and cattle. Unfortunately many of the neighbouring community lands and a few nearby commercial properties have not prepared like this and are now suffering as a result.

"Vegetation is dry but grass cover is good and we have had some of our best game viewing ever recorded on Sosian despite the dry season. There is an abundance of game: probably over 2500 head of Zebra and 200+ elephants at the moment. The Ewaso Narok River is flowing well and most of our springs and our big dam in the Suguta valley (one of the driest parts of Kenya) still have water. The wildlife is in very good condition and not showing any sign of losing condition; buffalo, hippo and warthog are in good state and are usually the best indicator of wildlife health as they first show signs of starvation during a drought. As a result of the influx of game the predator numbers have also increased and lion sightings have been fantastic. The cattle sleep more peacefully at night when there are vast numbers of zebra as they feel a little less threatened!

"Right now it is very satisfying driving around Sosian (and the majority of commercial properties in Laikipia) as it makes us realise that the sensible policies implemented in the years of higher rainfall are now coming to fruition."