As you are bound to have heard Prince William and Kate Middleton recently became engaged whilst on holiday in Kenya in October. We thought we would take this opportunity to tell you a little bit more about the area which William chose to ask his bride and why it is so special.
The couple got engaged on the Lewa Conservancy which is in central Kenya approximately 225 km north of the capital Nairobi reached by road or light aircraft. On the foothills of Mount Kenya, the 65,000-acre wildlife conservancy of Lewa is home to about 10 percent of Kenya's black rhino population, and the single largest population of Grevy's zebra in the world. It was also made famous in the National Geographic program “Game Rangers Diaries”.
William spent part of his gap year here living with the family of the founder, Ian Craig and Lewa is obviously somewhere he holds dear to his heart.
The conservancy started in 1983 when David and Delia Craig set aside 5,000 acres of their cattle ranch as the Ngare Sergoi Rhino Sanctuary. The couple felt is necessary to do this as a result of to the precipitous decline of black rhinos across Africa in the 1970s. At the time government wildlife agencies and conservation organizations increasingly turned to private landowners, non-profit organizations and indigenous communities to protect the few remaining animals. In Kenya, the number of black rhinos dropped significantly, and the only way to prevent their complete extinction was to create high-security sanctuaries. Anna Merz, a conservationist and philanthropist, threw in her savings; and together with the Craigs they recruited game-trackers, bush pilots, veterinarians and others to round up and protect Kenya's rhinos.
For the next few years, they tracked, captured and relocated every remaining wild rhino in northern Kenya to the refuge for breeding and safekeeping. The program was so successful that within a decade more space was needed, leading the Craigs to dedicate their entire ranch to conservation and form the non-profit Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in 1995.
The reserve supports over 440 species of birds and more than 70 different mammals. Its rhino population has grown steadily, not only restoring local numbers but enabling black rhino reintroduction in regions where they long had been absent.
Lewa has certainly become the model for responsible tourism. Lewa re-invests all the profits generated from tourism into its core programs, environmental and social. When you visit Lewa, your overnight stays contribute towards neighboring communities with education support, health-care support, water projects, agricultural projects, social development and a women's micro-credit program. You will help thousands of people from different backgrounds and cultures to improve their lives, and give their children a future, at the same time as ensuring Africa's wildlife has a stable home.
You can follow Prince William and Kate Middleton to Kenya, and stay at Cheli & Peacock's Lewa Safari Camp. The Camp has outstanding game viewing, and spectacular views to Mt. Kenya to the south and arid lowlands to the north. Each tent has a thatched roof, verandah and full en-suite bathroom, very much in the ‘Lewa style. The tents are designed to give you the feeling of sleeping in a large safari tent while enjoying all the amenities of a permanent lodge.
The central areas have exquisite gardens with a sunny verandah and swimming pool to enjoy during the day, and cozy log fires in the lounge and dining room in the chilly evenings.
Activities on offer for you include day and night game drives, guided bush walks, horse riding expeditions and visits to the conservancy's archaeological site.
Trips to Lewa can be combined with further safari in a national reserve like the Masai Mara and a beach stay along Kenya's incredible coast or further afield in the likes of Mauritius or the Seychelles.
To plan your special trip to Kenya, get in touch with one of our travel experts.
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