Space, personal experience, wildlife, heritage and culture-the five elements combined define the Laikipia tourism experience, which makes it unique and different from most other destination.
Laikipia County is richly endowed with wildlife, which is widely distributed in the semi-arid lands extending to Aberdares, Samburu, Meru and Mt. Kenya wildlife corridors/ecosystems.
Laikipia County has the greatest number of wildlife outside of the gazetted protected areas in the country. Most of the wildlife is found in the large scale ranches, which occupy over 50 per cent of the total area of the county. The rest is found in the unsettled smallholdings, group ranches owned by the pastoral Laikipia Maasai and also in the gazetted forests of Mukogodo, Rumuruti and Marmanet.
The major wildlife species are the Lion, Giraffe, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and the Rhinocerus though other smaller wildlife species are also abundant particularly the African Wild Dog, Zebras, Grevy Zebras and gazelles.
Key attractions in the county include: Yaaku museum, Proximity to Mt Kenya Game Park, Beautiful Mt. Kenya peaks' view, Unique Maasai culture, Eco-tourism and Conservancies, Thomson falls in Nyahururu, Panorama view points at Kamwenje, Expansive savanna landscape, Game lodge and Restaurants, Hotels and camping sites, Elephant corridors from Mt. Kenya to Marmanet forest for breeding and reproduction, Equator crossing points at Nanyuki, Oljogi conservancy (wildlife orphanage, rescue Centre and tamed elephants), Kurikuri cultural museum, rhino sanctuaries, art galleries, settlers stores, Historical sites such as Mau Mau caves in Mukogodo forest and Forests that are rich in diversity of flora and fauna. There are also the unique cultural lifestyles among the Laikipian Maasai and the Pokot.
Most of the tourists are hosted in conservancy lodges. The county has four international standard classified hotels i.e. Sweet Waters Tented Camp at Ol Pejeta, Sportsman Arms Hotel at Nanyuki, Thompson Falls Lodge at Nyahururu and Illingwesi Lodge at Illingwesi Community Ranch. The county has 43 active tourism facilities and 1230 beds.
The county receives over 86,000 visitors (tourists) annually and generates annual gross revenue of over kshs 1.5 billion. With ongoing local and international branding and marketing initiatives the number of visitors is projected to increase with a minimum of 14 percent annually in the next three years.On average the gross annual revenue per available bed in a lodge generates about kshs 1,716,500, kshs 1,544,800 in a resort and kshs.739, 300 in a community lodge.
On average facilities operating in the low occupancy band generates about kshs 400,800 gross annual revenue per available bed, those in the middle occupancy band generates kshs 819,000 and those in the high occupancy band kshs 2,519,000.The average length of stay at any single facility in Laikipia is one week.
Laikipia county plateau has been suggested by New Yorks Times as one of the six favorite tourist destinations in Africa. Ranked 19 among the 52 destinations that made it to the final list globally (New Yorks Times, 28th January 2014)
Laikipia tourism generates approx. 2.5 % of the total national tourism revenue for Kenya annually. The tourism sector in Laikipia contributes to the wider social and infrastructure development in the region by investing approximately 72 million Kenya shillings annually. Through direct and indirect employment about 6500 people are dependent on tourism.
18.5714px;">The importance of wildlife is manifested by existence of a strong ranching organization called the Laikipia Wildlife Forum. Tourism Investment Opportunities in Laikipia include.
- Hotels, accommodation, exhibitions and conference facilities
- Eco-tourism and conservancies
- Tours and Travel companies
- Game reserves and parks
- Lodges, Eco-lodges, luxury tented camps and cottages heritage and culture (traditional cuisines and artifacts, arts centres, museums and historical sites) Entertainment tourism (music, film, amusement parks, casinos, clubs and theatres)
- Artifacts making and marketing
- Health tourism (Spa, gym, naturopathy, yoga and meditation)
- Resort and Golf tourism
- Elephant view points
- Sports tourism (high altitude training centres, hiking, biking, motor sports, sports facilities)