Lewa Wildlife Conservancy was previously a cattle ranch owned by David and Delia Craig, who together with Ana Mertz and Peter Jenkins, initially set aside 5,000 acres to protect and breed rhinos, whose population had dropped precipitously from 20,000 to less than 300 in the 1970′s. Within a decade, the success of the project drove demand for more space and, in 1995, the Craigs decided to dedicate their entire ranch to the conservation of wildlife.
Lewa has served as a catalyst for conservation across the region, stimulating the creation of numerous conservancies, both private and community-owned, increasing the amount of land under conservation management in northern Kenya to over almost 2 million acres since the mid-1990s.
In July 2009, Cheli & Peacock (now the Elewana Collection) took over the management of Lewa Safari Camp, the only tourism property owned by the Conservancy itself, with the aim of boosting the conservancy’s revenue through camp occupancy. All camp profits and conservancy fees generated by the camp are reinvested directly into the conservation and community efforts of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.
Lewa Safari Camp has undergone major refurbishments since Cheli & Peacock, now the Elewana Collection, took over the property in 2009. Many of the improvements have been “behind the scenes” to make the camp environmentally friendly and a safe and comfortable place to work. Improvements include solar water heating, new small efficient power generators, environmental waste disposal and recycling, as well as new staff housing, kitchen and recreation rooms. The vehicle fleet is still being upgraded to more modern fuel efficient vehicles, and effluent disposal systems are being overhauled.
Lewa Safari Camp has been awarded “Gold Level” by Ecotourism Kenya, a great acknowledgement of our progress of upgrading all the back of house systems to make the camp as environmentally responsible as possible; as befits the Conservancy ethos.