Eco-tourism, wildlife and culture are key attractions at the Il ngwesi conservancy.
Following an approach from Ian Craig from neighbouring Lewa conservancy, Il Ngwesi became the first Maasai group ranch in 1996, in Laikipa to join Lewa on a conservation and community development journey. Community elders decided to set aside 21,000 acres of their grazing land for conservation. The ranch was initially a settlement area for the Il Ngwesi community prior to people moving out of the ranch to several neighbouring villages outside the conservancy.
Walking along the network of sandy footpaths, Il Ngwasi is simply rewarding. The conservancy hosts hundreds of elephants and giraffes. An open front side deck architecture gives an unobstructed view of the wild. The cottages of the lodge are designed on live tree trunks connecting to steeply pitched rooves thatched with water reeds.
You’re almost enveloped in greenery at certain times of year, and you may spot dik-diks and other smaller wildlife foraging in the undergrowth. The bird-life is wonderful, and Von der Decken’s hornbills are particularly common and tame. At the height of the long dry season (roughly from and from July to October) Il Ngwesi’s waterhole attracts game from a wide radius, including large herds of elephants that file along the valley. If you want to get closer to the waterhole you can be accompanied down the hillside to a bench and lookout point that serves as an informal hide.
Make a point to visit the ranch soon.