Lewa Downs, Kenya
Lewa Wilderness is a small boutique lodge accommodating up to 22 guests in nine spacious thatched cottages. Situated in the wildlife-rich eastern corner of the conservancy, the lodge is part of the Craig family compound where guests have been entertained in luxury since 1972. The adjacent main house is the original Craig family homestead that was the headquarters for Lewa Downs when the property functioned as a cattle ranch from 1922 into the 1980s. Guest cottages are furnished in dark woods with traditional colonial touches, lending a feel of genteel comfort. Spacious en suite bathrooms have deep soaking tubs with a view on the bush beyond. Indoors, visitors can relax by the fireplace in Will and Emma Craig's cozy sitting room, play billiards and table tennis, or relax with a book in the library. Outside, play tennis and take a refreshing dip in the infinity pool before a rejuvenating massage. Fine meals are shared around a long banquet table on the open-air dining terrace. The chef's menu features home-raised livestock and produce source from the 5-acre organic garden on the grounds.
Located in the shadow of Mount Kenya rising like a sentinel in the south, Lewa Wilderness offers a comfortable base from which to explore one of Africa’s most extraordinary conservation success stories. This private 62,000-acre conservancy was originally established to protect Kenya's gravely endangered black rhinoceros population. Today, after removing a fence with the Borana Conservancy next door to open up 93,000 acres of continuous terrain, the jointly protected area is home to 83 black and 74 white rhinos, along with more than 300 endangered Grevy's zebra (nearly 10 percent of Africa’s total population) and a host of other species including lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, giraffe, and the elusive sitatunga, a rare water-adapted antelope. Explore the conservancy in safari vehicles on day and night wildlife drives, on horseback or camel, and on bush walks guided by local Maasai. As a private reserve, Lewa is one of the few places where guests can enjoy game drives after dark, the only way to view nocturnal species such as serval cat. A highlight is the leopard blind, a promising place to see these nocturnal hunting animals after darkness sets in.