In the northern frontier of Kenya lies the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy, an area of 850,000 acres of pristine wilderness surrounding the Mathews Range of mountains. The savannah plains and lush mountain slopes are home to elephant, leopard, reticulated giraffe, wild dog and kudu in ever-increasing numbers. This remote and dramatic landscape is also home to the local Samburu people whose age-old traditions, including the famed Singing Wells, are as much a part of the fabric of this land as the wildlife.

Namunyak surrounds the Mathews Mountain range and includes the Kitich forest; a treasure trove of rare and often uncatalogued species. It is home to the rare and beautiful De Brazza colobus monkey and the IUCN red-listed sub species of the Cycad, Encephalartos tegulaneus. Namunyak serves as a critical wildlife refuge for many species and holds important northern populations of giraffe, gerenuk, leopard, African wild dog, impala lion, greater kudu and many bird species. The conservancy is particularly important for elephant as they move seasonally between the Mathews Range and the Mt. Kenya and Ngare Ndare Forest, a route they have been using for decades. Poaching for ivory in the area has been particularly bad in the past, with 34 elephants within the first three months of 2012.

Given the scale of the problem, Namunyak is of particular focus for the ‘9.1’ anti-poaching unit. Established with the help of NRT in 2009, the team consists of 12 rangers drawn from all four conservancies in which it operates (including Melako, Sera and Biliqo-Bulesa.) All rangers were trained by a former British army officer and have also received advanced medical training, and are a vital weapon in the war on poaching. They work closely with the 61 local rangers from the Namunyak communities. Over the past three years (2012 – 2014) 9-1 and conservancy rangers have contributed to a 43% reduction in elephant poaching in NRT conservancies. This, at a time when other African countries face rising poaching levels, is a significant achievement, and one which the rangers are rightfully proud of.

Ideal Destination For

  • Adventure
  • Bucket List
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  • Safari
  • Special Interest

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