'Lying on the edge of Northern Frontier, the Laikipia Plateau stretches from the slopes of Mt Kenya to the rim of the Great Rift Valley and proceeds all the way to Ethiopia and the Sudan, Laikipia Plateau, gateway to Kenya's little-visited northern territory, is not in itself a national park or reserve, but it has become one of Kenya's most recent conservation successes. This is primeval Eden without hordes of game vehicles and flashing, whirring cameras.
Size & Location: 9700km² Eastern Escarpment of the Great Rift Valley
When to visit the park: January - March, July - October (warm and dry. Preferred season)
Climate: Warm days and cool nights predominate, with very low humidity in the driest season
Rainfall: 400mm - 1550mm per annum (north-east), 500mm - 1850mm (south-west)
Altitude: ranges from 1700m to 2600m above sea level
Lying on the edge of Northern Frontier, the Laikipia Plateau stretches from the slopes of snow-capped Mt Kenya to the rim of the Great Rift Valley. Laikipia boasts one of the largest elephant populations in East Africa (over 3000) and is one of the last strongholds of the endangered Black Rhino. Despite its scattered mosaic of farms and cattle ranches, it is essentially still a wilderness, a wildlife refuge supporting huge numbers of game.
Compared to game reserves such as the Masai Mara, Laikipia remains almost completely unknown to tourists and it is also the only part of Kenya in which wildlife numbers have actually increased over the past 20 years. However, it is slowly becoming a tourist hot-spot and offers some of the most luxurious and exclusive safari lodges in Africa.
With more mammals than anywhere else in East Africa, Laikipia is home to some of the biggest herds of elephant outside the Tsavo National Parks and is the only place to view the endangered Jackson's Hartebeest and Kenya's Black Rhino. Other game includes lion, cheetah, wild dog, impala, gazelle, reticulated giraffe, Grevy's zebra and the elusive leopard.
» Largest herds of elephants
» Snow-capped splendour of Mt. Kenya
» The Black Rhino
Endangered Jacksons Hartebeest
A black rhino in Laikipia Ranch
For the energetic, the area is home to the world's only marathon run in a game park. Competitors run on dirt roads within the 62,000 acre Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. The marathon is run annually, and offers gruelling challenges as runners battle the high altitude (3000m) with one eye on the dirt road and the other on spectating cheetah, rhino and elephant.
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