Ol Pejeta Conservancy – What to Expect During a Visit

African safari tour

What to Expect During a Visit to Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Located in Laikipia County in the heart of Kenya, Ol Pejeta is a 90,000-acre wildlife conservancy specializing in the preservation of endangered species. Around 3 hour’s drive from Nairobi and just west of Nanyuki, this non-profit reserve began as a cattle ranch in 1988. Since then, it has developed into a world-leading sanctuary for all kinds of African wildlife. This includes around 10,000 mammals, 300 species of bird and 2 very special rhinos…

Keen to learn more about a safari holiday in Ol Pejeta? From sunset game drives to close animal encounters, luxury accommodation to beautiful scenery. Continue reading on to discover the unmissable sights and activities you will encounter during a visit to Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

Highlights of a safari trip to Ol Pejeta

1. See a vast array of wildlife in a small reserve

Spanning 360km², Ol Pejeta is around a quarter of the size of Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. However, despite its relatively small square footage, Ol Pejeta is the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa. The variety of wildlife you can see here is also very impressive.

The conservancy is home to Africa’s Big 5. This includes around 70 lions, 20 leopards, 140 black rhinos, 300 elephants and over 3000 Cape buffalo. In addition, during a game drive through the reserve you can spot hyenas, jackals, eland, gazelle, baboons, warthogs and hippopotamus. Ol Pejeta even has three different types of giraffes and even a unique blonde zebra with golden markings!

Bird watchers can also catch a glimpse of storks, eagles, hawks, cranes and many other native and migratory birds. Or if vivid insects are more your thing, you can explore a huge selection of Kenya’s 800 species of butterfly within the conservancy too.

However, the jewel in Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s crown is undoubtedly its endangered species enclosure. Here, you’ll find rare African wild dogs, cheetahs, Beisa oryx, long-legged Grévy’s zebras and Jackson’s hartebeests. However, most people enjoy seeing the last two northern white rhinos in existence in Africa.

2. Meet Africa’s two remaining northern white rhinos

While an African safari of any kind is a once in a lifetime opportunity for many people, meeting the only two remaining northern white rhinos in Africa is a truly unbeatable experience.

Nestled in a heavily protected 700-acre enclosure in Ol Pejeta, you will find Fatu and Najin.  A mother and daughter pair of northern white rhinos. Having been in decline for a number of years due to poaching of their horns and the loss of their natural habitat. The last male of their kind died in 2018, rendering the species functionally extinct.

As such, the two remaining females are part of a vital project to save the subspecies. Unable to reproduce naturally, their eggs have been harvested and an IVF embryo. Hopefully soon be implanted into a surrogate southern white rhino to keep their northern cousins alive.

Visitors to Ol Pejeta have the chance to meet these two incredible creatures. Potentially even feed them a carrot or two under the watchful eye of their dedicated keepers. On top of that, you’ll also meet Baraka the blind black rhino. You can feed and pet Baraka as he is used to humans and is very friendly.  Also visiting a powerful memorial dedicated to the last male northern rhino and others lost to poaching.

3. Visit Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary

You may be surprised to read that Ol Pejeta is also home to around 30 chimpanzees. This non-native species was first introduced to the reserve in 1993. This was part of a project between the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Jane Goodall Institute. It’s still the only place you can see chimpanzees in Kenya.

The initial aim was to provide a refuge for orphaned and abused chimpanzees from West and Central Africa. Particularly those who had fallen victim to the illegal pet trade. However, chimpanzees are now rescued from all kinds of traumatic situations around the world and nursed at Ol Pejeta.

All visits to the reserve include entry to Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary.  All proceeds going directly towards the cost of their care – around $4000 per chimp per year! In addition, you can also opt for a behind the scenes experience. You’ll learn more about their day-to-day routine, care needs and feeding habits, or even sign up to adopt your favorite!

4. Track lions with an expert guide

Playing host to 6 prides of lions, Ol Pejeta Conservancy has one of the highest predator densities in Kenya. This includes the Ajali pride with 22 members, one of Kenya’s biggest lion prides. To help monitor their movements, prey preferences and population demographics, the sanctuary’s rangers have fitted several lionesses with GPS tracking collars.

Thanks to this telemetry equipment, the data gathered can be used to find solutions that will help lions living in the wider Laikipia area to prosper. The lions can also be tracked throughout the reserve, which offers some excellent opportunities for lion sightings. The rangers know exactly where they are at all times.

As well as helping you spot lions, your guide can also teach you the tricks of the trade when it comes to identifying individual members of each pride. From their whisker patterns to their scars and ear tears, you’ll be a pro in no time.

5. Immerse your senses with a bush walk

Want to try your hand at some old-school tracking instead? Then immerse yourself in nature and take in the sights, sounds and smells of Ol Pejeta Conservancy on foot.

Guided by an experienced armed ranger who knows the reserve inside and out. Spend several hours exploring predator-free areas where wildlife is known to roam. As well as getting closer to nature, you’ll learn how to identify different animal tracks. Uncovering a bucket-load of interesting facts about the region’s birds, insects, mammals and plants.

Alternatively, if you’re a competent rider, you could opt for a laidback horseback ride. This even goes through the northern white rhino enclosure to see the animals up close.

6. Help train Ol Pejeta’s anti-poaching dog

If you’re more of a dog person, then why not get up close and personal with Ol Pejeta’s anti-poaching K-9s? From stopping poachers in their tracks to finding hidden ammunition, the conservancy’s team of bloodhounds are elite trackers. Trained to detect poachers up to 1km away! But don’t let that worry you – they’re also a big bunch of softies who love to play.

Dog-loving visitors can learn all about them for their handlers. By touring their kennels and play a special game of hide and seek to test their skills. As well as being tones of fun, this activity also offers great enrichment for the conservancy’s dog unit.  These talented dogs have managed to reduce poaching incidents by an astounding 80% since its introduction!

7. Marvel at the region’s stunning landscape

Based between Mount Kenya, Africa’s second highest mountain, and the forested foothills of the Aberdare mountain range on the eastern rim of the Great Rift Valley, Ol Pejeta boasts some of Kenya’s most awe-inspiring scenery which changes with the seasons.

Here you can explore a diverse range of habitats, from open savannahs dotted with whistling thorn trees to dense bush and swamps. During the wet season, the grasslands and bush thrives with luscious foliage. This thins out during the dry season for better wildlife viewing. Better yet, due to its altitude, the reserve remains comfortably warm – mid-20s – at this time.

The winding Ewaso Nyiro River that flows past the conservancy is also a hub for birds and all kinds of animals, with yellow fever trees and acacias growing on its nutrient-rich banks. If you’re lucky, you may spot herbivores like elephants and giraffes feeding on branches by the river.  Even catch sight of the elusive hippos that bathe in its cooling waters.

8. Experience Ol Pejeta after dark with a night drive

However, Ol Pejeta is without a doubt most beautiful at sunset. Luckily for those visiting, unlike many other safari reserves, nighttime game drives are permitted here. This not only provides the perfect sunset photo opportunity from the safety of your pop-top tour vehicle, but it also gives you the chance to see animals who only venture out under the stars.

With the help of your expert guide, you can spot everything from aardvarks, honey badgers and skunk-like zorillas, to elusive predators such as African wildcats, quirky bat-eared foxes and magnificent leopards. Night game drives are also a good time to see lions on the hunt after they’ve slept all day, as well as elephants grazing in the comfort of the cool evening air.

9. Enjoy a 5 star stay at Sweetwaters Serena Tented Camp

When it comes to Ol Pejeta Conservancy accommodation, we would highly recommend Sweetwaters Serena Tented Camp. Located on the eastern side of the conservancy, this 5-star site features 50+ winged tents with ensuite bathrooms, free Wi-Fi and private verandas. Each provides scenic views over Mount Kenya or the neighboring waterhole – one of the camp’s star attractions – depending on which tent you choose.

Separated by a barely-there electric fence, you can enjoy clear views of elephants, Cape buffalo, zebras, warthogs, giraffes and even big cats drinking at the waterhole from the comfort of your tent, the international on-site restaurant and bar or the outdoor pool.

Either way, you can experience the sights and sounds of Africa while camping in style. Plus, massages and other treatments are available for those looking to unwind after a busy day.

Book an Ol Pejeta Conservancy tour to remember

At Brady’s Wildlife Adventures, we are passionate about helping you get the most out of your Kenya safari tour. With that in mind, we offer a 13 day adventure covering the country’s top highlights, including Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Samburu, Lake Naivasha and the Masai Mara.

During the trip led by an expert English-speaking guide, you’ll experience all of the activities in this list and more, with all transport, reserve fees and meals included. You’ll also have some free time to make the most of the facilities at your luxury accommodation, to shop for souvenirs and to partake in optional excursions towards the end of the tour.

Our next Ol Pejeta safari will be running in June 2023, so if you’re ready to make your safari dreams a reality, why not book a call to get the ball rolling?

Visit www.bradyswildlifeadventures.com and book your dream African safari today. Your untamed adventure awaits!

Share This

Related Posts