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Though it means “treeless plain” in Maasai, Laikipia actually covers a vast array of landscapes: from high plains, scrubland, semi-desert, rolling savannah, forests, to low forested valleys. Laikipia is not a park or reserve, but rather, a wildlife conservancy area. Its unique status was cemented upon the founding of the Laikipia Wildlife Forum in 1992. There, large, private ranch owners united with local communities to merge tourism and conservation with poverty alleviation. Each of these large ranches possesses distinctive landscapes, wildlife concentrations and local communities that are uniquely rewarding.
A visit to one of several of these ranches or conservancies is highly recommended. This wild, sparsely populated region is not as visited as the parks and reserves to the South, but as result, they offer an unparalleled combination of exclusivity, activities (horseback riding, camel trekking, fishing, among others) and cultural interaction. Ranches of note include Solio Ranch and Wildlife Sanctuary, Segera Retreat, Loisaba Conservancy, the Sanctuary at Ol Lentille, Borana Ranch, Ol Malo Ranch, Sabuk, Ol Pejeta Ranch, and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (aka Lewa Downs).
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