All About Lewa
What We Do
The Craig/Douglas family first came to Lewa Downs in 1922, and managed it as a cattle ranch for over 50 years. A passionate man, David Craig, is quoted as requesting to his sons, Ian and Will, that no matter what happened with the family business there would always be room for wildlife, hence the family’s early venture into wildlife tourism.
As the plight of the black rhino became desperate in Africa, the ranch was converted into the Ngare Sergoi Rhino Sanctuary. With the enthusiastic support and funding of co-founder, Anna Merz, the sanctuary operated for more than 10 years. Then in 1995 Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (“Lewa”) was established as a not-for-profit organization.
Spanning 61,000 acres, Lewa is home to over 11 percent of Kenya’s black rhino population, over 14 percent of Kenya’s white rhino population and the world’s largest single population of Grevy’s zebra.
Lewa has embodied its mission as a catalyst for conservation. With a proven track record, our model of community-based conservation development is being spearheaded across northern Kenya, and emulated by other East African conservation organizations.
Lewa’s Flourishing Model:
- Monitoring and protecting endangered species and habitat
- Ensuring conservation directly benefits communities through education, healthcare, enterprise and water development
- Financing conservation by combining tourism and carefully focused donor support
- Supporting the government with wildlife translocation, veterinary intervention and armed anti-poaching teams across northern Kenya
- Wildlife Conservation in Action:
- Lewa is home to over 400 species of bird and 70 mammal species, including the Big Five
- Our population of 62 black rhino (Diceros bicornis) are monitored on a daily basis by highly qualified rangers
- About 378 Grevy’s zebra (Equus grevyi) live freely on the Conservancy
The Lewa Standard:
The success of the Conservancy is largely thankful to specially selected criteria to which Lewa upholds both our own operations and those of our partners. In order to ensure excellent environmental standards and a high quality tourism product, the Lewa Standard dictates the regulation and management of aspects ranging from finances and enterprises within the Conservancy; interpersonal conduct; security and research procedures; the structural and aesthetic design of buildings; to resources such as land, water and energy use, as well as waste management. By creating a tool such as the Lewa Standard, we have been able to maintain pristine, peaceful, and healthy environment for both the animals that make Lewa their home and the guests who visit.
Lewa’s wildlife conservation principles expand well beyond our borders. Acting as a corridor of security and development, we help to stimulate community-owned conservation throughout northern Kenya.
Lewa is also home to the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), an innovative partnership with communities who have set land aside for wildlife conservation. It provides support to local regions through projects geared towards improving livelihoods and alleviating poverty. Lewa was instrumental in creating the NRT, which has increased the amount of land under integrated conservation management from the original 26,000 acres to now almost 2 million. This has allowed wildlife to begin to migrate once again throughout their historical natural range.
Lewa’s model combines the protection of wildlife, community development, and sustainable tourism. We aim to educate neighbouring communities on the socio-economic benefits of wildlife conservation as well as minimizing human-wildlife conflict.
- Ecological connections between Lewa and neighbouring areas allow elephant to take refuge in the Conservancy during the dry season
- Our outstanding security system supports many other organizations such as the Kenya Police and the Kenya Wildlife Service
- The Lewa Education Programme provides infrastructure, and educational and financial support to eighteen local schools
- The Women’s Micro-Credit Programme empowers women to start their own businesses
- Lewa supports and operates three medical clinics and a rural bank, for both its staff and adjoining communities
- 100% of the profits gained from Lewa’s tourism are re-invested into the Conservancy’s core programmes.