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Sweetwaters Game Reserve
Sweetwaters Game Reserve is 24,000-acre private ranch with magnificent views across the plains to the snow capped peaks of Mount Kenya. It is another of the famous Kenya safari destinations. This game sanctuary is the closest reserve to Nairobi (2.5 hours drive) home to all the big five game, and has the highest ratio of game-to-area of any park or reserve in Kenya. Its popular waterhole is floodlit by night, providing excellent and secluded rarely seen game viewing.
Game drives at Sweetwaters Game Reserve are indeed a pleasure and enriches one’s Kenya safaris program. Game viewing may also take the form of game walks accompanied by a Resident Naturalist, and game rides on horseback. Camel riding, night game drives and “bush” lunches or dinners are a delight. The Chimpanzee Sanctuary & Information Centre, Morani ,the tame black rhino and the Visitor’s Information Centre are most informative and entertaining and should all be visited while in the Game Reserve.
Located on the Sweetwaters Game Reserve is one of several Jane Goodall Institute Sanctuaries maintained in East Africa. Kept here are a group of chimpanzees originally housed at the JGI sanctuary in Bujumbura, Burundi. When the Burundi government became unstable in 1994, the chimpanzees were relocated here.
Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary is a 200-acre sanctuary set up at Sweetwaters Game Reserve, a 15-minute drive from Sweetwaters Tented Camp. A visit to this Sanctuary and the 30-minute walk in the bushes along the river is a good add to your stay at Sweetwaters.
The aim of the project, initiated by Lonrho East Africa, Kenya Wildlife Services and the Jane Goodall Institute, was to set up a colony where chimps could be introduced, rehabilitated and taught to fend for themselves in an area similar to their natural living conditions.
Priority is given to orphaned and abused chimps. The Sanctuary currently has 26 chimps, including two babies born in the Sanctuary. There is also a new Visitor’s Information Centre at Morani’s Boma, which is a must for all visiting clients staying both at Sweetwaters Tented Camp and Ol Pejeta House. Attractions includes Morani, a tame black rhino(a rare phenomenon) born in 1974. He was brought to the ranch after his mother was killed by poachers, and ever
since is resident in his own sub-sanctuary 8 km away from Sweetwaters Tented Camp. A visit to Morani is an especially wonderful treat for children. At the entrance to Morani’s Boma is the new Visitor’s Centre which is aimed at teaching guests about the Game Reserve.Other activities are walking safaris, camel rides or join the experienced rangers on rhino patrols in addition to the 2-3 hours game drive.
Wild dogs (LYCAON PICTUS) return to Sweetwaters after an absence of 30 years. A pack of between 12-14 wild dog has recently been sighted on a number of occasions within the Sweetwaters Game Reserve in Laikipia. This pack currently appears to be moving between the neighbouring Ol Pejeta Ranch and the Sweetwaters game reserve, having originated from nothern Laikipia. This particular group is well known to the Laikipia Predator Project which is based on Mpala ranch to the north.
Wild dogs are one of the rarest carnivores in Africa, having disappeared from large parts of their former ranges. Indeed, this species was all but eliminated from Laikipia 30 years ago, persecuted by pastoralists and farmers alike. Their return demonstrates how Laikipia has begun to emerge as one of Kenya’s foremost conservation areas. Laikipia now boasts a thriving wildlife tourism industry and a density of wildlife second only to the Mara area of southern.
Sweetwaters in Ol Pejeta conservancy offers a great holiday outing, whether its a weekend getaway or as part of a greater safari. The private reserve is accessible from Nairobi, 3 hours drive.