Ol Pejeta Conservancy (Sweetwaters Game Reserve)
Ol Pejeta Conservancy(Sweetwaters Game Reserve) – a 90,000-Acre Private Wildlife Conservancy – is Situated on the Equator, in Kenya’s Laikipia District, between the Foot Hills of the Aberdares and the Magnificent Snow-Capped Mount Kenya
Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s (Sweetwaters Game Reserve) main gate is 14 kilometers from the equator turn off, just before Nanyuki town. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is an important “not-for-profit” wildlife conservancy in the Laikipia District of Kenya and the largest sanctuary for black rhinos in East Africa.
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy boasts an astounding variety of animals, including the “Big Five” (the endangered black and white rhino, leopard, elephant, buffalo and lion), Grevy’s zebra, Jackson’s hartebeest, cheetah and chimpanzee.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy is the Largest Black Rhino Sanctuary in East Africa. The Ol Pejeta conservancy is home to 83 black rhinos (Diceros bicornis michaeli). In Kenya the numbers of black rhino dropped from an estimated 20,000 in the 1970s to less than 300 animals in the 1980s..
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is a not-for-profit organization situated in Kenya’s Laikipia County adjacent to Nanyuki town.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy works to conserve wildlife, provide a sanctuary for great apes and to generate income through wildlife tourism and complementary enterprises for re-investment in conservation and community development. Working closely with the Government of Kenya, our conservation activities are carried out to the highest international standards.
The revenue generating enterprises include world-class wildlife tourism and a fully integrated livestock production system. All surplus internally generated revenues are used in conjunction with donor funds to support an extensive community outreach programme, and to sustain conservation initiatives beyond our boundaries.
The combination of amazing wildlife and stunning views across the open plains of Ol Pejeta guarantees an unforgettable safari experience. As a safe and secure private sanctuary, Ol Pejeta Conservancy can guarantee a hassle-free safari experience with amazing wildlife viewing on good all-weather roads. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is only 3 hours drive from Nairobi and welcomes day visitors.
During your stay on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, you can visit the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary – the only place in Kenya where this highly endangered and remarkably intelligent species can be seen! Visitors to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy have free access to the Sanctuary, which is open daily from 10:00 to 15:30.
Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary opened in 1993 in a negotiated agreement between the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the Jane Goodall Institute. The facility was initially established to receive and provide lifelong refuge to orphaned and abused chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) from West and Central Africa.
An initial group of three chimpanzee orphans were brought to the sanctuary from a facility in Bujumbura, Burundi in 1993. This group of chimpanzees needed to be evacuated due to the outbreak of civil war in Burundi. This was followed in 1995 by another group of 9 adult chimpanzees, followed by another 10 in 1996.
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy currently holds the largest single herd of pure Boran cattle in the world: 2,000 top quality Boran breeding cows. On the Ol Pejeta Conservancy livestock ranching and wildlife conservation are not considered mutually exclusive. Ol Pejeta has pioneered the use of its livestock to manage the land, making us a “Model for Modern Wildlife Conservation.”
Ol Pejeta will continue to push the envelope with its Livestock Programme. A small proportion of the Conservancy has been set aside as a predator-free breeding centre, incorporating the 300 registered cows and their followers, and all the breeding bulls. A new quarantine center with facilities to collect embryos and semen has been up and running since early 2011.
Through business enterprises and with the help of willing donors (both large and small) the Ol Pejeta Conservancy works to develop the funding necessary to pay for our wildlife conservation work, and to provide financial assistance to projects that assist the people living within our neighboring communities.
Community Development Programme
By the end of 2011, Ol Pejeta Conservancy had raised and dispersed over US$ 4 million in support of its community development programme. We work with local government and a variety of elected community representatives across the district to identify projects that qualify for assistance from the Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
All projects supported are assessed on a case by case basis, and must contain some element of community contribution.
We aim to concentrate on the following core areas: health, education, water, roads, provision of agriculture and livestock extension services and the development of community-based conservation tourism ventures.
Based on regular socio-economic surveys, we aim to provide the support necessary to address real needs and to make a real difference to the lives of the people who live near by.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy welcomes support from willing donors to assist with the following:
- Agriculture and Livestock Extension
Things to do at Ol Pejeta Conservancy
Visit the Chimpanzees – Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary is home to 39 chimpanzees. The sole objective of the Sanctuary is to provide a safe, secure and permanent refuge for these chimpanzees. The Sanctuary is open from 9am -10:30am and from 3:30pm to 4:30pm
Visit our Endangered Species Boma – Our endangered species boma is home to four (4) northern white rhinos, the endangered Grevy’s zebra and the Kongoni (or Jackson’s Hartebeest). During your visit you will meet Najin, Fatu, Suni and Sudan, four of only seven northern white rhinos in the world, and learn about their story and the story of their species. Visit starts from the Morani Information Center.
Visit to the Morani Information Center – The Morani Information Center offers visitors a chance to learn about the various species of wildlife present on the Conservancy and to provide comprehensive information about how a modern wildlife Conservancy works. Visitors to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy have free access to the Morani Information Centre and to Baraka, our tame black rhino. Come visit and feed Baraka from 10.30am to 6.00pm everyday!
Night Game Drives – Thanks to Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s private status it is able to offer the unique pleasure of night game drives
Game Viewing – Offering an abundance of indigenous wildlife as well as breathtaking views of Mt. Kenya and the Aberdare ranges, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy is truly an authentic African safari holiday. Experience close up viewing of the Big Five – lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo – as well as multitudes of other wildlife from the comfort of your vehicle.
Guided Bush Walks – Explore Ol Pejeta’s vast Savannah on foot and experience the very best in African wildlife viewing. Learn more about animal behaviour, how to identify animal tracks/droppings and discover the diverse flora and fauna from our well-trained guides. The walk is offered in the morning between 6.30 and 9.30am or afternoon between 3.30 and 6.30pm
Lion Tracking – Accompany our research teams to radio track our lion prides across the Conservancy. The tracking is offered in the morning between 6.30 and 9.30am or afternoon between 3.30 and 6.30pm
Bird Watching – With well over 300 recorded species of bird, Ol Pejeta is an ornithologist’s paradise
Camel Rides – Camel rides are available from Sweetwaters Tented Camp
A Morning with the Cattle Management Team – Visitors are provided with the opportunity to witness the success of the wildlife-cattle integration system. In addition, visitors can visit the “bomas”, which are mobile predator-proof structures, where the cattle are held overnight.
Community Visit – An opportunity to visit our surrounding communities and observe the tangible social benefits Ol Pejeta has created. Visitors can also get engaged at various levels to support community projects
Outdoor Adventures – Join Kenya’s premier outdoor activity and adventure company, Rift Valley Adventures, for adrenaline filled activities across Ol Pejeta. Some of the outdoor activities offered on Ol Pejeta include; cycling safaris, canoeing, kayaking and rafting, rock climbing, abseiling, hiking up Mt. Kenya, corporate training and team building amongst others.