Laikipia derived from Maasai language meaning “plains without trees”. It extends from bordering the majestic Mt. Kenya, the Aberdares to the rim of the Rift Valley stretching to the northern semi-arid/ deserts. It consists of high plains, rolling hills and escarpments.
Agriculture is practised by majority peasant farmers. Pastoralists who are mainly found in northern Laikipia of Mukogondo and Doldol. The largest chunk of the land falls under ranching. The ranches have blended well with free-range wildlife conservation. This has contributed positively towards wildlife tourism. Laikipia has the highest wildlife population outside the gazetted protected areas. The communities are also collaborative with sustainable eco-tourism. Along with ranches, they have established tourism facilities like lodges, hotels, tented camps and resorts in the circuit.
Apart from the abundance of wildlife, the vibrant culture of the ethnic tribes residing in the county. These include Laikipia Maasai, Borana, Samburu, Meru, Turkana and the Kalenjin. Their unique way of life is an additional tourist feature.
The County entry points are through its major towns.
(a) Nanyuki – meaning the “a place of red waters” from Maasai dialect. The town was established by colonial settlers as a trading centre in the early 1900s. It hosts the Kenya Airforce base, Kenya Army, and the British Army Training Unit in Kenya (BATUK). The town is connected to the neighbouring towns with tarmac road. There is also a light aircraft airstrip just 6km to the town. The town has facilities to cater for every budget. Notable establishments include Beisa hotel, Kirimara hotel, Falcon Heights, Simba lodge, Sportsman Arms hotel, nearby Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club. Budget accommodations include but not limited to Jambo house, Joskaki, Ibis, Riverside. Although Laikipia has no portion of Mt. Kenya national park, Nanyuki is a busy mountain climbing base.
(b) Nyahururu – Formerly known as Thompson Falls. Named after the Scotish explorer who saw the waterfall along Ewaso Narok river, one of the major tributaries of river Ewaso Nyiro (Ngiro) that drains its waters to Lorian swamp. It used to be the administrative headquarters of Nyandarua county before it was hived off to Laikipia county. The town has tarmac paved roads connecting other major towns. The town boasts a high altitude training ground for athletes eyeing international debuts. The main attractions include the 73m waterfall, hippo point (Manguo), Nyahururu forest among others. Accommodation facilities in the area include Thompson falls lodge, Panari resort, Kawa falls, Olimpia hotel, Laikipia comfort hotel. Other budget accommodation available within the town.
Successful conservancies in Laikipia include Ol Pejeta ranch, Ol Jogi ranch, Segera ranch, Loisaba conservancy, Laikipia nature conservation, Lewa downs, Borana farm, conservancy, Borana wildlife conservancy, Il Ngwesi, Leparua community conservancies, El Karama, Mpala ranch, Mugie ranch and Sosian ranch. They have immensely contributed to conserving wildlife. The rhino sanctuaries have a happy ending story hosting half of Kenya’s black rhino population. The last surviving northern white rhinos have a home here. The “big five” are also present throughout the year. On the endangered species, it worth to state that Laikipia has the sanctuaries for the remaining Jackson’s Hartebeest, African wild dog, Reticulated giraffe, Grevy zebra also known as “Imperial zebra”. The ranches have made accommodation available to meet their clients’ aspiration. From lodges, tented camps, farmhouses to camping sites.
Activities in Laikipia include game drives, Chimps sanctuary visit, hiking, cycling, biking, horse riding, camel riding, camping, photography and videography, water rafting, helicopter tours, culture and traditions sampling. Laikipia is unique in its exposure and experience offering unrestricted activities. You can walk along with the game unlike in other reserves.