In 1995 a local family turned their entire farm on the northern slopes of Mt Kenya into the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, with a mandate to protect and conserve the wildlife of Kenya. Many fences were taken down and old migration routes were re-opened to the animals. Lewa Downs, as it is called, is now an area of awesome natural beauty, with great natural beauty and a wide range of animals.
Lewa has developed a range of activities for its visitors, allowing people to get actively involved in conservation and community projects. Ther are both day and night game drives and nature walks, horse and camel rides, visits to Lewa's orphaned animals and horseback rhino patrol for experienced riders. You can also accompany the lion tracker to collect data on the resident lion population or head for the Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve in search of black and white colobus monkeys!
At 17,058 feet, it is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second highest in Africa, Mount Kenya is home to the Kikuyu god ngai. An extinct volcano, the mountain was formed a couple of million years ago.
Climbing the mountain is best left to experienced mountaineers.
We put in a request to be woken if many different animals showed, but this hyena was the only one of them which turned up after we'd gone to bed. Worth getting up for though.
The water hole was flood lit, so we could still see the animals in the dark.
Later on a large herd of buffalo arrived. They are quite aggressive animals and can be very dangerous. The noise they make while drinking and wallowing in the mud surrounding the water hole cannot be described.
At dusk a lone elephant arrived at the watering hole. He was hanging around for quite some time, so we were able to go down to the viewing hide and watch him at eye level. It was absolutely amazing to be so near to such a big animal.
Not that there's much to see, the main caves where destroyed by the English, so all you can see are the remains.
But I do recommend it : you'll see beautiful parts of the flank of Mt Kenya (expect to get dirty when climbing up and down at hands and knees) and you'll hear the 'true' story of the Kikuyu people.
The lodge is surrounded by a forest on three sides, and in the trees many monkeys were seen, such as this Colubus Monkey.
A little later on still, as the light was fading fast, this group of Giant Forest Hogs arrived for a little scavenging around and a quick drink of water.
The water hole aslo attracted a great number of smaller animals and birds, such as this Sykes Monkey.