The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (also known as Lewa Downs) is located in northern Kenya and covers 60,000 acres. The Sanctuary also incorporates the adjoining Ngare Ndare Forests
The Craig/Douglas family first came to Lewa Downs in 1922 and managed it as a cattle ranch for over 50 years. Unlike many other ranchers in the area, they had always valued the wildlife that shared the land with the cattle and developed wildlife tourism as an additional activity. Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is located south of Isiolo town but north of Mount Kenya.
This wildlife sanctuary is home to a wide variety of wildlife including the rare and endangered black rhino, Grevy’s zebra and sitatunga. It also includes the big five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and African buffalo). Lewa holds over 12% of Kenya’s black rhino population and the largest single population of Grevy’s zebras in the world (approximately 350 individuals).
Lewa also has important archaeological sites, including a 1 million year old hand axe site and pastoral cave.
The other very important aspect to Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is the local people. Lewa’s amibition is not only to conserve the environment but also to act as a stimulus to development and economic growth in the local area. Part of this includes an active social development programme which backs water schemes, clinics and schools. Lewa helped set up and still backs Il Ngwesi Lodge, and was also instrumental in setting up the Namunyak Wildlife Conservation Trust (which includes Sarara Camp).
Annually, the Lewa Marathon is held in the Lewa Conservancy for fundraising purposes. Unlike normal marathons, Lewa Marathon is contested on dirt track.
Lewa is run as a non profit-making organisation with a board of directors.