Overview – Laikipia

Anthony Ham
Expert
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Kenya.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Anthony is the author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Laikipia is a mid-altitude plateau, which formerly consisted of community land and ranch land. The plateau has been turned into a patchwork of private game reserves, with vast ranches where cattle and wildlife live alongside each other. This is prime Big Five territory at the base of snow-capped Mount Kenya. It is also home to many indigenous communities including the Laikipia Maasai and Samburu. Some of Kenya’s most outstanding conservation work is currently being carried out here.

Best Time to Go June to September (Dry season)
High Season June to October and December to March
Size 9,723km² / 3,754mi²
Altitude 1,222-2,845m / 4,009-9,334ft

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent wildlife viewing with all of the Big Five easy to spot
  • Wildlife densities are similar to the Masai Mara
  • Many different experiences and accommodation styles available
  • Plenty of activities available including night drives, horse riding and walking
  • Stunning views of Mount Kenya
  • The active ranches, with cattle and fences, take away some of the wilderness appeal
  • Most wildlife has been re-introduced which can lack authenticity

Laikipia Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

Laikipia Plateau offers excellent wildlife-viewing opportunities. All of the Big Five are easy to find and the sightings of both black rhino and white rhino are unsurpassed. All big cats are well habituated, and the park is home to the only viable wild dog population in the northern hemisphere. Night drives come with an excellent chance of seeing nocturnal creatures such as genet, bushbaby and aardvark.

Scenery

The mighty snow-capped peak of Mount Kenya looms over Laikipia Plateau. The semi-arid plains are interrupted by basalt outcrops and lush, forested slopes. The scenic Ewaso Nyiro and Ewaso Narok rivers cut through the plateau via spectacular rock gorges.

Weather & Climate

Being near to the equator, Laikipia Plateau’s temperatures don’t change much from month to month. What variation does exist is due to the two seasons that govern the plateau’s climate: the Dry season (June to September) and the Wet season (October to May). The drier months see plenty of sunshine, though there’s always the chance of rain. The Wet season progresses in three distinct stages: from some rain to less rain to lots of rain.

Best Time to Visit

You can go on safari at Laikipia Plateau year-round. But in terms of the weather, the Dry season (June to September) – along with a period of diminished rainfall at the end/beginning of the year (December to February) – is the best time to visit. Regarding the drier months, animals are easier to spot in the absence of long grass, and the roads are in better condition.

Want to Visit Laikipia?

Laikipia Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Expert
Philip Briggs  –  
South Africa ZA

Philip is an acclaimed travel writer and author of many guidebooks, including the Bradt guides to Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa.

Ranchland reclaimed for wildlife
4/5

This intriguing part of Kenya consists of a 9,500 sq km mid-altitude plateau running northwest from the moist highland saddle between Mount Kenya and the Aberdares, and incised by the Ewaso Nyiro and Ewaso Narok Rivers. Ecologically, it is...

Full Review

Latest User Review
Cookswell Jikos  –  
Kenya KE
Reviewed: May 4, 2016
5/5

best wildlife viewing in central kenya

Full Review