Lewa Wilderness is one of Kenya’s oldest private safari experiences. For forty years guests have been coming to this remarkable region to be part of an adventure like no other. Those four decades have seen that passion passed down through the Craig family who proudly continue to run Lewa Wilderness today.
Lewa Wilderness is one of the original family homes and is still home to Will and Emma Craig. Guests can relax by the fire in the cozy sitting room and share meals around a long banquet table in the open-air dining room. Natural springs, home-raised livestock, and a 5-acre organic garden are transformed by skilled chefs into incredible, healthy and delicious food.
There are just nine exclusive rooms: Five are Hill Rooms looking down the Lewa’s Western Marania Valley, the other four are Garden Rooms on the lush lawn adjacent to the main living areas. All have a sitting room area with a well stocked bar and open log fireplace, for our frequent cool nights, as well as spacious en suite facilities.
The Garden rooms at Lewa Wilderness are nearest the main areas and are built in pairs with private en suite facilities and a shared veranda and sitting room. The layout of these rooms is ideal for a family or those who do not want to walk too far as they are nearer the main facilities. The rooms are flanked and fronted by well kept lawns which give families that extra outdoor space to use. There is a view down to the bush pool and onto the Lewa Wilderness valley beyond. These Garden rooms were built to cater for families and remain very close to the heart of everything that happens here.
The Hill rooms have been added most recently to take advantage of the stunning northerly views from Lewa. On a clear day, which is most days, the view stretches away giving a true perspective of just how remote this setting is. Each room is quite different in its layout and sleeping configuration and takes advantage of the uneven hill side to form unusual shapes which load them with character. Every room has en suite facilities and its own private sitting area, bar and veranda.
A private ranch, a private house, a private paradise – Lewa Wilderness.
With over forty horses in our stables Lewa Wilderness is well equipped to explore our wilderness. With everything from ponies up, they are able to cater for a wide range of experience levels and have become very accustomed to accommodating groups of mixed ability. They offer extensive exploration on horseback and it is one of the very popular ways to investigate and safari through the open lands to the east of the lodge.
Walking with Masai
One of the most popular ways to explore the conservancy is in a more traditional fashion – on foot. Lewa Wilderness’ expert Masai walking guides, who have lived here all their lives, explore Lewa with guests to really get up close to many of our wild neighbours. Out walking almost nothing is a barrier and ground is covered very easily making the safari experience so much more real. Guests either walk in the early morning or early evening before dark. For the more in depth walking we suggest a few nights on Walking Wild.
A team of fully-qualified driver guides are on hand for vehicle safaris across the conservancy. The specially adapted open vehicles allow for excellent viewing but it is the richness of the game that our guests talk about. All the main safari predators, the rare Grevy zebra and of course the threatened rhino can be viewed in abundance. A particular favourite and well recognised aspect of the area near the lodge are the good elephant numbers and at least weekly sightings of the illusive wild dogs. The game drives are on your terms using our experience and are not limited to daylight hours. We often explore the conservancy by night using spotlight and the full moon when it obliges.
Fly the Wilds
Those seeking the ultimate thrill have access to an open-cockpit biplane. Parked just a short drive from Wilderness Trails on a bush strip is the WACO YMF-5 which will always represent the true essence of aviation pleasure. Piloted by Will Craig the flight skims over the primary forests and flies down the gorges which are otherwise almost inaccessible. It gives a wonderful eagle’s eye view of the conservancy and something so much more intangible. A wonderful addition to any safari.
Cultural visits to local communities
Farm and craft tours
Visits to local school
Horizon saltwater swimming pool overlooking ravine
“Leave room for the wildlife” has been the Craig ethic since the 1920s. The area is committed to the conservation of wildlife and diverse habitats found on the northern slopes of Mt. Kenya. Endangered species, such as Grevy zebra, rhino and sitatunga, abound in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.
Just a short walk from the main house are a few of the community projects that Lewa Wilderness is involved with. The first is the carpet making project which is an income generating project for local communities. The participants are manufacturing carpets by hand using traditional methods. Lewa Wilderness then distribute and sell these to generate income. A further short walk through the bush and you come to the workshops which turn out award winning furniture of all shapes and sizes. Like the carpets this too generates income and skills which is now known in all corners of the globe.
On the perimeters of the conservancy Lewa Wilderness has been working with the communities who do not benefit directly from tourism. These are their neighbours and with whom they share resources, as well as a past and future, but cannot work with on a daily basis. Lewa Wilderness is firmly committed as a major employer in the region to reaching beyond their own boundaries. This includes an innovative programme to support HIV orphans and their families as well as water projects to help secure increasingly stretched water sources. A range of their quality produce appears in the Lewa Wilderness shop and guests are welcome to visit any of these projects and are actively encouraged to do so to understand the broader issues facing this wonderful region.
Kate Spencer, Lodge Manager
Kate joined the Lewa Wilderness team in 2010. She is from a small horse farm in Virginia, USA, and has come to Lewa because of her interest in wildlife conservation. Before coming to Wilderness, she worked in lodges in Greece and in Kenya, and she worked for an environmental organization in Virginia doing community outreach and advocacy. Kate learned about Lewa when she saw the film, Milking the Rhino, at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington D.C., and that’s when she decided she wanted to get involved in sustainable tourism and conservation work in Kenya. “Lewa never ceases to amaze and inspire me. Just come here, take a ride in Will’s bi-plane, and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.”
Karmushu Kiama, Lodge Manager
Karmushu started at Lewa Wilderness over twelve years ago as a spotter. He then worked his way up to be a walking guide, then a driver guide, and then he became head guide at Wilderness. He has now been hosting at the lodge for over six years. His home is just outside the conservancy, so he has grown up knowing Lewa as a very special place. He developed a passion for wildlife as a young Maasai boy watching his family’s cows out in the bush, and the elders in his community trained him as a tracker. Karmushu enjoys sharing his knowledge of nature, bush skills and the traditional Maasai culture. He lives here at Wilderness with his lovely wife, Fatuma, and their four children, but he still goes home to his cows and his family in a nearby village.