By Omololu Olumuyiwa
Exploring Ol Pejeta, a wildlife conservancy that works with surrounding communities to protect wildlife and create an environment for flaura and fauna to flourish is simply an avenue for an awesome safari experience of a lifetime.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy is located in Nanyuki, which is central Kenya overlooking Mt. Kenya and Lolldaiga hills.
From a working cattle ranch in colonial Kenya to a trailblazer of conservation innovation, the story of Ol Pejeta is as enchanting as it is inspirational.
As at today, Ol Pejeta is the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa, and home to two of the world’s last remaining northern white rhinos.
It is the only place in Kenya to see chimpanzees, in a sanctuary established to rehabilitate animals rescued from the black market. It has some of the highest predator densities in Kenya, and still manages a very successful livestock programme.
Ol Pejeta also seeks to support the people living around its borders, to ensure wildlife conservation translates to better education, healthcare and infrastructure for the next generation of wildlife guardians.
In 2004, the ranch was purchased by the U.K.-based conservation organisation, Fauna &Flora International (FFI), with the financial backing of the Arcus Foundation, a private international philanthropic organisation founded by Jon Stryker.
The land purchase was wholly funded by a $15 million donation from the Arcus Foundation, which worked in tandem with FFI and the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to secure the 90,000 acres of open Savannah grassland and convert it to a national land trust.
The conservation of the natural habitat, located in Kenya’s Laikipia Plateau, ensured the protection of existing rhino, elephant, and other wildlife populations in addition to captive chimpanzees living in a 300-acre sanctuary.
At Ol Pejeta, there are several nature friendly Tented camps, lodges and homestays for tourists. Among the exotic tented camps are Kicheche Laikipia Camp; Mutara Camp; Ol Pejeta Bush Camp; Ol Pejeta Safari Cottages; Pelican House; Porini Rhino Camp; Sanctuary Tambarare; Sweetwaters Serena Camp and The Stables
Lodging at Serena Sweetwaters Camp will embrace the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the lovely surroundings, and set the stage for a visit and safari experience you won’t forget easily.
Located within the sprawling Ol Pejeta Conservancy, one of Kenya’s most noteworthy conservancies and home to the ‘Big Five’ (Elephant, Rhino, Lion, Buffalo, and leopard).
Serena Sweetwaters Camp offers a holiday experience unlike any other. Framed by picturesque views of Mount Kenya, the sophisticated tented accommodation offers a tranquil respite in the wild, with ensuite bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, and a private balcony or veranda.
Sweetwater Camp is a place to begin or end your day with a delicious meal and superb views at a light-filled restaurant, enjoy a guided game drive on the conservancy, indulge in a massage in the treatment room, or simply relax by the pool.
With a dedicated event venue, modern facilities, and exceptional planning services, this Ol Pejeta tented camp is one of central Kenya’s most stunning destinations for weddings and corporate retreats with a difference. Its unparalleled location in Ol Pejeta Conservancy facilitates exploration and discovery of the spectacular wildlife for which this region is famous.
A sheltered Oasis, clustered around a waterhole and set in the pristine calm of its own private reserve, Sweetwaters Tented Camp is in a class of its own.
Serena Sweetwaters Camp is about 217km travelling from Nairobi by road, takes approximately 3.5 – 4 hours; by air it takes about 45 minutes from Wilson Airport, Nairobi to the Nanyuki Airstrip and 25km from the Nanyuki airstrip to the camp.
Sweetwaters Tented Camp’s accommodation tucked inside the landscaped grounds and accessible via winding stone pathways, offers an elegant retreat amid the breath-taking natural beauty of Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
The 56 stylishly appointed tents are designed with charming thatched roofs, solid floors and canvas interiors. All the tents feature electricity, an ensuite bathroom with hot and cold water, showers and flushing Water-Closets.
One could have a refreshing time enjoying the serene environment from the private balconies or verandas of the tents that are on raised platforms, all with safari chairs and tables. Evening hot water bottles are provided; mosquito nets, extra beds and cots are available upon request.
Guests are home away from home during their safari holiday with modern amenities including free Wi-Fi, a coffee/tea making station and plush bathrobes and slippers.
Serena Sweetwaters Camp elegant restaurant features delicious international cuisine punctuated by remarkable water hole views through floor-to-ceiling windows. In addition to the restaurant, Sweetwaters Serena Camp offers a cosy bar with a fireplace, perfect for relaxing with friends after an exhilarating safari.
Lodging at Serena Sweetwaters Camp at Ol Pejeta Conservancy offer Day game drives and uncommon night game drives, an activity not available in most national parks and reserves in Kenya.
A night game drive offers visitors an opportunity to discover Ol Pejeta Conservancy ‘after hours’. Available daily between 7:00pm – 9:00pm and 9:00pm – 11:00pm.
Some of the memorable way of having exciting experience at Ol Pejeta is to take a morning or an evening ride within the 600- acre Endangered Species Enclosure, accompanied by knowledgeable staff on Ol Pejeta’s safari horses.
These rides will take you on a journey through a predator-free area set aside by Ol Pejeta for the recovery of the northern white rhinoceros. As well as meeting the last three remaining northern white rhinos on the planet, you will ride through herds of the highly endangered Gravy’s zebra and Jackson’s hartebeest.
It is also an opportunity to also encounter many other species including southern white rhinos and a myriad of plains game.
Another exciting experience is the Lion and Dog Tracking at Ol Pejeta. Dogs are imperative in anti-poaching efforts and each dog at Ol Pejeta’s K9 unit has a different specialty from tracking the scent of a poacher, to detecting ammunition and attacking and detaining potential suspects.
At Ol Pejeta’s K9 unit, guests are welcomed for a thrilling and interactive ‘dog tracking’ activity and mingle with one of wildlife’s friendly protectors, the bloodhounds.
The dogs known for their strong scent tracking abilities, visitors are encouraged to run and hide from the sniffer dogs who will seek them out.
The exercise will be repeated with visitors at the other end of another dog’s leash. This time, you will watch the hounds in action tracking the scent trail of a pretend poacher.