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Lewa House

Unesco

Activities and adventures

Wild experience, wild landscapes, wild life

Experience

How best to describe that intangible magic that opens the heart and re-invigorates the soul? Is it the dawn setting fire to the peaks of Mt. Kenya and spreading until it pierces the cold air on your cheek? Is it the hot thirsty elephants that, having slaked their thirst, discover their inner child in the river with the help of a little mud and water?

Or is it sipping a wild mint Margarita before a delicious dinner under the stars with a distant leopard calling up the valley? It’s unique. Every time. So experience it in as many ways as you can. At Lewa House.

“We were so sad to leave that I was actually in tears as we went to our next destination! We hope to return one day. I can't recommend Lewa House highly enough, and if you get to stay here, lucky you.”

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More experiences

  • Conservation activities
  • Cultural and archaeological
  • For children

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Game driving

If you love photography, our comfortable open sided vehicles — and our skilled guides — will get you in amongst the wildlife to get those all-important shots. Our four-wheel drive cars do what they are meant to and getting off the beaten track to see that cheetah kill is part of the experience of witnessing nature in tooth and claw. Keeping quiet and still when close to wildlife will give you the best experience and our fleece blankets will keep you warm on chilly mornings.

Joseph was superb and unlike many guides in Africa, he really does know his birds too (often we are told guides do, but it turns out they are not really on top of the birdlife). His enthusiasm for the animals and birds, his ability to plan surprises for us every day and show us new things was simply fantastic and his willingness to spend long hours taking us to see things - including additional birding trips at no extra cost - we greatly appreciated.

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The ‘big five’

  • Lions
  • Leopards
  • Elephants
  • Buffalo
  • Rhinos

Flying

Jump into a heli from the lawn and disappear for the day, stepping into other worldly landscapes rarely visited by others, or step up the elevation and photograph the rocky peaks of Mt Kenya with the doors off.

Horse and camel riding

You don’t have to be an expert but go for a horse-ride if you want to imagine life as a zebra out on the plains. Our horses have been trained to allow inexperienced riders to get on the hoof.

An experienced guide will lead the ride and deepen the experience of your encounters. Being on horseback means that wildlife doesn’t recognise you as human and you’ll travel through the plains as if wearing an invisible cloak.

“The ride was certainly a highlight - I never imagined I could get so close to newborn giraffes! Just amazing!”

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We have six horses equipped with English saddles that are available to people weighing under 90kg / 200lbs. If you’re staying three nights or more, we’re happy to throw a ride for free.

Walking

Being on foot brings you on intimate terms with this ancient land. From a few hours to a full day, immerse yourself in the wilderness.

I’m Calum and walking is my favourite thing. Being on foot opens up the more inaccessible valleys to our north and allows you to feel your true place in the landscape. Together we’ll experience the sights, smells and sounds of the African bush and I’ll introduce you to bushcraft that enables people to live here. We might even enjoy a game of mbau on an ancient board carved into rock.

“The walking safari led by Calum was one of the highlights of our whole trip. Walking really allowed us to appreciate the more intricate aspects (like the little busy insects) of the African wild.”

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Staying with us

Share stories around our roaring log fire

House

Our dramatic, thatched main house is the focal common area, with the accommodation being separate cottages around the grounds, each with unique views of Kenya’s Northern Frontier. If you need to stay connected, that will be easy with our Wifi.

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Why not take a refreshing dip in our pool before lunch is served in our pool house?

Dining

Our spacious dining room forms the heart of Lewa House. It’s where we share stories around the dining table. A roaring log fire keeps the mountain chill away and sometimes Jerry the Genet drops in for coffee. Our food style’s a reflection of who we are; European with inspiration from Kenyan, Indian and Asian cuisine. We incorporate fresh, local and seasonal ingredients.

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Our biodynamic fruit and vegetable garden is where we grow the foods we can’t buy locally.

Family cottages

If you’re traveling as a family and want to be close to each other, a thatched, family cottage is perfect for you.

Our charming cottages are part of the original house. They are built using the traditional Lewa architecture of rough stone walls and thatched roofs and are furnished with beautiful rough-hewn hardwood furniture.

Cottages consist of a double and twin room, each with an en-suite bathroom. Adjoining the two bedrooms is a large verandah where you and your family can sit and enjoy early-morning biscuits and coffees before heading out into the Conservancy.

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  • Two en-suite bathroom
  • Indoor showers
  • Shared verandah
  • Free Laundry service
  • Mosquito nets
  • In room safe
  • 24 hour solar power

Earth pods

The latest additions to Lewa House are four rooms (or earth pods.) Their novel architecture is designed to disappear into the landscape, collect and store rainwater and maintain an even temperature. They have a simple, elegant décor that compliments their views over the Northern Frontier of Kenya.

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  • En-suite bathroom
  • Indoor shower
  • Outdoor bath
  • Private verandah
  • Free Laundry service
  • Mosquito nets
  • In room safe
  • 24 hour solar power

Sustainability

The main house was built thirty years ago from locally sourced materials. Our new cottages have also been built with sensitivity to the environment. They’re structures that blend harmoniously into the landscape and harvest rain water. We’ very proud that all our power for electricity and water heating comes from solar panels.

Reducing waste and recycling resources

We try very hard to reduce our packaging waste. Our food waste is recycled through compost worms, pigs and chickens. As our water comes from a forest spring and we filter and UV treat it, then bottle it in re-fillable bottles to reduce plastic waste. We take all glass bottles to the central Lewa recycling project.

Supporting our communities

Whilst we love the idea of being self-sufficient, we believe that the best way to help our community is through trade. We buy our staples — potatoes, onions, carrots, cabbages, maize and wheat — from the communities around Lewa. Our local town is Meru and we source much of our fruit and grains from its weekly market.

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Wildlife and conservation

See the big five and more in their natural habitat

Wildlife

Lewa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and we have some of the best game viewing in the whole of East Africa. It’s home to 350 bird species and 70 mammal species so you’ll have a great chance to see all of the ‘big five’ — lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo and rhinos — well as specialised northern species:

  • Reticulated giraffe
  • Somali ostrich
  • Gerenuk
  • Beisa oryx

“This is indeed Africa! Over-whelmed, awestruck and completely abuzz! Incredible when you see your first lioness, herd of elephants, rhino, gazelle, buffalo, bird life and more on your first game drive!”

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LWC

Unesco

Habitat

Elevated between 4,500-7,500 feet, Lewa has a huge variety of habitats; from ancient Cedar forest to savannah grassland, from wetlands to steep valleys and imposing hills. These ecosystems support a rich variety of plant, bird and animal life.

“Lewa is leading not just Kenya but Africa in pioneering conservation practices, creating a vast and expertly-maintained conservation area around Lewa, developing education and employment opportunities for local villagers, and sharing its experience with others around the continent. So you won't just have a spectacular vacation there -- you'll be supporting a wonderful, important, word-leading conservation cause.”

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Endangered

Here at Lewa, we lead the way in rhino conservation in the 1980s, when rhinos were fast disappearing. Lewa’s now home to 15% of Kenya’s rhino population.

Other endangered species here include the Grevys Zebra — very different looking from the more common Plains zebra — of which Lewa has 20% of the world’s population.

“The game around the conservancy is excellent. I had only seen a few rhinos on a previous trip to Botswana, but saw over two dozen around Lewa House.”

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Conservation

“Always leave room for wildlife” said Sophie’s great Grandfather as Lewa moved from cattle ranch to conservancy. Lewa has since become a haven for the endangered black rhino since the mid 1980’s. Conservation been so successful that animals have been relocated to other areas where the black rhino was extinct. Our guests can visit HQ to understand more about the workings of conservancy.

  • 12% of Kenya’s black rhino
  • Lewa is 250 km2
  • Largest Grevy Zebra population
  • Costs $3m per year to run Lewa

Community

The greatest challenge for wildlife conservation is support from local communities. Without this, any conservation initiative will not be sustainable.

Lewa focuses on a number of initiatives, designed to foster sustainable, wildlife friendly economic growth. These include support for schools, clinics and micro-credit schemes. Guests staying with us are able to get involved in these projects.

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About Lewa House

Imbuing Lewa House with a warm spirit

Who we are

So who runs Lewa House? We’re Sophie and Calum and we live here at Lewa House in Kenya with our family of two small children.

I’m Sophie. I’m Kenyan and I grew up here at Lewa House. Our family connections to Lewa go back over five generations and it was my Great Grandfather who first started conserving wildlife alongside farming.

My grandparents established tourism with their tented camp and it was here that I spent my holidays watching them serve hospitality the old fashioned way.

I went to University in Scotland, where I met my future husband Calum, who was there studying zoology. Calum then worked in the African travel industry for five years and is a FGSA trained walking guide. We made Lewa House our home in 2012 and plan never to leave. We love Lewa House and we know you will too.

“All of the places we visited were outstanding, but we were especially impressed with the owners and staff of Lewa House. Sophie and Calum are the best. They are charming, delightful, very knowledgeable accessible and obviously love interacting with their guests. ”

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Our team

They come from every corner of Kenya and many are from local communities connected with us for generations. They all imbue Lewa House with a warm spirit.

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Our blog

Rock art at Lewa

One of Kenya’s oldest and most intriguing rock painting sites is found on Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and yesterday we took a trip to see them.

Vibrating Chameleon at Lewa House

A few days ago as Calum walked down to the Lewa House pool he noticed a stick on the path that seemed to “fall over” as he got near it – on closer inspection he realised it was a chameleon?! The first one we (or anyone we know) has seen on Lewa?

A helping hand – Lewa House guests help a wounded elephant

Yesterday morning during breakfast one of our guests saw a young bull elephant by the waterhole in front of the lodge. On closer inspection it appeared that the Elephant was limping.

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