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Traveller's Tales: 48 Hours in Laikipia

Matthew spent a day at Sosian Lodge and a day at Laikipia Wilderness. Read about his experience here



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Published on

16 Apr 2024

Sosian Riding

I had the incredibly fortunate opportunity recently to check out two beautiful lodges in North Laikipia, Kenya: Sosian Lodge, and Laikipia Wilderness Camp. While I only had a brief stay in each, they both won me over with the charm of their location, the wonderful people hosting, the incredible wildlife, their range of activities on offer, and with it the different ways one can enjoy this beautiful part of Kenya. While on neighbouring ranches, they are both very different and unique in their offering. This blog hopefully will let you understand what they offer and the more people that can explore and enjoy this part of the world, the better in my eyes, and these two places are the perfect gateway into safari in Kenya, and Laikipia in particular.

Laikipia, Kenya
Samburu warrior in Laikipia


Sosian and Laikipia Wilderness are both situated in North Laikipia, and are located on neighbouring ranches. These ranches in Laikipai form the back bone of wildlife protection and ensure that conservation efforts are able to occur there, by offering protected, unfenced spaces for wildlife to roam freely , while also both being home to cattle ranching, ensuring the space is used as efficiently as possible.

Elephants Laikipia
Elephants wind their way through the bush

Laikipia is a remarkable region in central Kenya that offers visitors a chance to experience the stunning beauty and diverse wildlife of the African savanna. Spanning over 9,700 square kilometres, the Laikipia plateau is a vast expanse of rolling grasslands, acacia woodlands, and rugged hills that provide a home to an incredible array of flora and fauna.

Laikipia, Kenya
Laikipia landscapes

This wild and undeveloped landscape is characterized by its sheer scale and sense of remoteness. Large swaths of Laikipia remain unfenced and unfragmented, allowing wildlife to roam freely across the region. The region is home to one of the highest diversities of large mammal species in the world, including the iconic Big Five - lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo. Laikipia also boasts healthy populations of rarer species such as the Grevy's zebra, Beisa oryx, and wild dog.

In addition to its remarkable wildlife, Laikipia is known for its rugged, dramatic landscapes. From the deeply incised valleys of the Ewaso Nyiro River to the towering peaks of Mount Kenya, the area offers a stunning array of natural scenery. Visitors can explore vast, open plains dotted with stunning rock formations, winding through dense riverine forests, or trekking up into the highlands for panoramic views.

Grevy Zebra, Laikipia, Kenya
The endangered Grevy's Zebra

Laikipia offers a wealth of activities and experiences for visitors. Wildlife safaris are the big draw, with numerous private ranches and conservancies providing opportunities to spot the region's diverse animal populations. Many of these protected areas offer walking safaris, night drives, and specialized wildlife encounters.

Beyond the classic game drives, Laikipia also attracts adventurous travelers seeking more active pursuits. Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and camel trekking are all popular activities that allow visitors to intimately explore the landscapes. The region's rivers provide options for white-water rafting and kayaking as well.

Ewaso Nyiro, Laikipia, Kenya
The Ewaso Nyiro

Sosian Lodge

My first stop was Sosian Lodge, one of Laikipia’s hidden gems. Nestled within 24,000 acres of pristine wilderness, Sosian is both a working cattle ranch and a charming safari lodge, offering visitors an authentic taste of Kenyan bush life. The Lodge itself exudes old-school charm, being a former ranch house. The rooms are simple easy cottages with a particular treat being the honeymoon room, known as "the Italian cottage," which was built in the early twentieth century. The main lodge and area are beautiful with a homely fire in the main room and a large veranda to enjoy watching the world go by. It also has a pool and a small library for those seeking ways to pass the time after a hard morning spent exploring the ranch.

Sosian Lodge, Kenya
Sosian Lodge

The journey to Sosian was an adventure in itself. After a two-hour drive along some rather interesting dirt roads, I arrived just in time for afternoon tea - my favourite part of the day. For those not as excited about the drive, Sosian also has an airstrip for private charter flights to arrive into, and there is another airstrip about an hour away where scheduled flights land, offering a lovely hour-long game drive as your welcome to the lodge.

Living room, Sosian, Kenya
The living room at Sosian

As I sipped my cuppa and enjoyed the homemade biscuits that make any safari trip special, I met my two guides for the evening game drive. The game drive that followed was brilliant. Within minutes, we encountered a pride of lions lazing in the shade, their full bellies evidence of the giraffe that they had managed to take down a few nights earlier. Further on, we watched a herd of elephants gracefully made their way through the bush. Giraffe, zebra, and impala dotted the landscape, while a vibrant red-and-yellow barbet flitted between the branches overhead. And of course, no safari would be complete without the dik-dik, those diminutive antelope that dart between the bushes and stare up at you as you pass

Game drive, Sosian, Kenya
A game drive at Sosian

As the sun began to dip below the horizon, we made our way to a scenic spot for sundowners - my other favourite part of the day! Sipping on a refreshing G&T, I watched as the sun set, casting a beautiful orange glow over the horizon.

Dinner that evening was a communal affair, with all the guests gathered around a large table to swap stories of the day and enjoy the food. The homely atmosphere is what makes this place special, basking in the warmth of the crackling fire, as you feel welcomed by everyone. After dinner, I headed to my room, falling into a deep, peaceful slumber - save for a brief moment of panic when a rather large camel spider decided to make an appearance.

Cottage, Sosian, Kenya
View from my cottage

The next morning, I was up bright and early, eager to explore more of Sosian. After a quick cup of morning tea, I saddled up my trusty steed, Wellington, and set out on a ride to breakfast. Wellington, despite a momentary fright at the sight of some cows, proved to be a great horse, as we trotted past buffalo and zebra, with Mount Kenya looming majestically in the distance.

The highlight of the trip was for me very much the horses. The lodge has over 30 horses which can cater to all levels of riders. They are wonderfully trained and the riding options across the ranch are brilliant. With a great set of guides it really does make for a memorable experience as you get close and personal to the animals in a way you can’t really do anywhere else. For those feeling more adventurous they also offer longer riding trips which allow guests to sleep out and explore some of the other neighbouring ranches.

Riding, Sosian, Kenya
Riding with Mt Kenya in the background

As we rounded a bend, the most idyllic bush breakfast scene unfolded before me - a beautifully set table perched on a platform overlooking a lush valley. The spread was brilliant from banana pancakes to a full fry up!

Breakfast, Sosian, Kenya
Breakfast after the ride

After the ride, back at the lodge I had the chance to relax by the pool before having to head onward. The pool and tennis court area is a charming little oasis towards the edge of the lodge where guests can enjoy lunch or just have a chance to lounge in the pool, well positioned with views over the land below, I had giraffe strolling past as I sat there enjoying the late morning. If sitting around doesn’t quite cut it then for those feeling more active the tennis court is well looked after, with all equipment provided and there is also a Bocci court for those looking for something a little different.

Swimming Pool High Res CM
Swimming pool at the Lodge

Guests can also elect to sleep out generally and get the chance to enjoy life under the open stars by a camp fire as you are rocked to sleep by the night sounds of safari, from lions roaring to hyenas giggling, it is a wonderful way to experience the bush and really get back to nature. While out, guests can also head out for river experiences, from fishing to waterfall jumping, having the river so close adds another element to life there.

All too soon, it was time for me to depart Sosian. As I drove away, I couldn't help but feel a sense of longing to return to this magical place and try all the activities! Sosian Lodge is a true gem, offering visitors the perfect balance of homely comfort and wild adventure. The home away from home atmosphere combined with the riding and other activities are what truly make this place special.

Riding Safari, Sosian, Laikipia, Kenya
Riding with giraffe

Laikipia Wilderness

Next up was Laikipia Wilderness, Laikipia Wilderness is a beautiful, permanently tented camp on the neighbouring ranch to Sosian. There are three camps there; the original Laikipia Wilderness Camp, and two more that can now be taken for exclusive use - Palm Camp and the River Camp.

Laikipia Wilderness Camp is up on a kopje and enjoys mesmerising, uninterrupted views out towards eastern Laikipia, while on the other side the Ewaso Narok thunders past, offering an incredible sight as you leave camp and head out on safari. The tents are nicely done with that classic canvas feel but have all the permanent refinements you expect from a lodge of this standing. The mess is a charming spot on top of the hill where guests come together for meals, complete with a lovely fire and dining area. A fire pit offers the chance to enjoy the night sky with a drink hand before and after dinner, as you listen to the night's sounds and watch the stars above.

Lounge, Laikipia Wilderness, Kenya
Afternoon tea view

As with Sosian, I arrived at Wilderness in time for afternoon tea, which was had up in the mess, enjoying the view. We then went off on an afternoon game drive to see what we could find. The area was alive with game and was beautifully green following the recent rains. Before long we had tracked down a pack of wild dogs. These animals are some of the most fascinating social creatures and some of the most highly successful hunters in the animal kingdom. We were incredibly fortunate to get to see them wake up after their afternoon siesta and start playing with each other before they started heading out for an evening hunt in the cool of the day. They were remarkably relaxed and wandered straight by the cars. These particular dogs are one of the few packs in Kenya and are monitored by researchers, which offers guests the opportunity to spend a day tracking them if they wish. We watched them play and chase dik-dik around as it started to get dark.

Wild dog Laikipia
Wild dog at Laikipia Wilderness

One of the main draws of this area of Laikipia is the presence of melanistic (black) leopards. A particular gene has meant that this is a hotspot for anyone wishing to try their luck at spotting one of these incredible creatures. We slowly headed back towards the river towards where a particularly famous one, Giza, is known to have a territory. Along the way we stopped by the river and enjoyed a sundowner as the night life slowly came out to play.

Giza, Laikipia Wilderness, Kenya

Not long after sundowners we were incredibly privileged to spot Giza with our brilliant guide somehow picking out her black form in the surrounding darkness with the spotlight. A truly incredibly experience seeing an animal like that. The rosettes shining through the black fur and her relaxed nature made it one of the most memorable wildlife sightings I’ve had, and I couldn’t recommend it more to others. We left her to enjoy some happy hunting for the rest of the night and returned to camp for a lovely dinner and chat by the fire. Wild dog and a melanistic leopard within three hours of arriving. Not bad!

Mess, Laikipia Wilderness, Kenya
The evening set up

The night was lovely with leopards calling and that sound of rain on the roof acting as a lullaby. The next morning we were up early with the first light for a walk. Steve Carey, who owns and manages Laikipia Wilderness is a brilliant, experienced guide and took our little group for a two-hour hike up through the ridge lines and valleys of the surrounding area. The views were stunning and the bird life was incredible, with eagle owls and white morph paradise flycatchers. We finished in a pristine, untouched valley, where we met the car for a cup of tea and some muffins. From there we had a game drive towards brunch, and found the pack of fourteen wild dogs again along the way and watched them chill as the sun started heating up.

Sunrise, Laikipia Wilderness, Kenya
Sunrise before the walk

Brunch on the dam was lovely, and then far too soon before we had to head back and head off. It was a brilliant trip from start to finish, and the relaxed feel of the camp combined with the amazing game makes this a top spot in Laikipia for those looking to experience some serious wildlife viewing.

As well as the black leopard and wild dogs, the area is home to a high density of regular leopards as well as there being good lion sightings with a couple of resident prides and lots of elephants and other game, from zebra and impala to a couple of bat-eared foxes, enjoying the river and surrounding land.

Laikipia Lion
Lion in North Laikipia

The walk was wonderfully done with great guiding and beautiful views, but the lodge also offers other activities from fishing and trips to the river with rafting to fly-camping. They are a great base for those looking for some more adventurous trips with the opportunity to go on mobile expeditions, and the chance to head on from there up through North Kenya as another trip opportunity.

It was a brilliant stay and the sheer wildlife density is amazing. What a brilliant place to enjoy Laikipia and enjoy a sense of the rustic charm of days gone by surrounded by beautiful views and beautiful game.

Fly camp, Laikipia Wilderness, Kenya
Fly camping from Laikipia Wilderness


All in all, an outstanding time in Laikipia, with both camps offering something special. What I love about this area is how two lodges on neighbouring conservancies can be so different but so unbelievably brilliant in their own ways. Sosian offers that home-away-from-home feeling where you can really feel like you are living in the bush with riding and camping and waterfall jumping. Laikipia Wilderness offers more of that wildlife viewing traditional old school safari with the tented camps and rustic charm, both unique, but both special.

At the heart of each, and what makes Laikipia so special is the chance to spend quality time with quality people surrounded by some of the most stunning wildlife that Africa has to offer. Whether you are just going out on game drives or trying one of the many different activities on offer at these two places, they are a wonderful way to experience wild Africa and ensure that you will make memories that last a lifetime.

Wild dog, Laikipia, Kenya
Close and personal with the Wild Dog

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When to go to Kenya

Find out the best time to visit Kenya with our month by month guide.

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  • Mixed
  • Jan
  • Feb
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  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
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January is a great time for wildlife viewing. The landscapes are lush and green after the 'short rains' and newborn animals can been seen. It is hot, but brief afternoon or evening showers cool things down, without compromising your safari. Over on the coast the sea is clear, making it ideal for diving and snorkelling, and the days are warm and bright.



February is an ideal time to visit Kenya, and great for game viewing. The landscapes are green and thriving thanks to the short rains, and newborn animals will be hopping around the plains. There maybe a few afternoon showers which are welcome in the heat, and don't impact on wildlife viewing. Water clarify is excellent at the moment, which is good news for watersports enthusiasts. And if you want to spot a whale shark, now is the time to try.



Still a good option for wildlife viewing and diving, although with the 'long rains' just around the corner, expect wetter and hotter weather.



April brings the start of the 'long rains' which means game reserves and national parks become muddy and harder to drive around. Over on the coast it's hot and wet, so it isn't the best time of year to travel. Some camps and lodges close during this period.



The 'long rains' continue into May, making park tracks difficult to navigate in the mud, and the coast very warm and wet. There will be less accommodation choice at this time as several lodges and camps during this period.



June is a beautiful time of year to visit Kenya, with the rains receding to just light showers, and the long dry season not far ahead. The high grasses can sometimes make it more of a challenge to spot game, but the landscapes are lush and some animals may begin arriving early for the migration. At altitude nights can be cool, but elsewhere the temperature is pleasant.



July marks the beginning of the great migration into the Masai Mara, and with warm and generally dry weather, this is a great time of year to visit. Days are sunny, skies are blue and there isn't too much dust around, so it's a great time for photography.



The migration is now in full swing in the Masai Mara, with lots of river crossing action, so if you want to see those massive herds of wildebeest and zebra, now is the time to come. Game viewing in general is excellent and it's one of the most popular times of year to visit, so some of the main parks do become crowded. Temperatures are warm and dry.



Game viewing continues to be excellent, and the weather is generally dry so this is another ideal month to visit Kenya's parks. The bush is less dense and as animals gather around waterholes and rivers it makes wildlife spotting much easier.



October is a great time if you want to avoid the crowds and don't mind the temperature slowly starting to rise. There may be a few short showers, but game viewing remains excellent with the end of the migration, and it's a good time to holiday anywhere in Kenya.



November heralds the start of the 'short rains' and with hotter temperatures some camps are closed. The Mara however is still open, and despite sometimes stormy skies, game viewing is still good. Fewer crowds and lower prices make this an attractive month to visit. Over on the coast water clarify is good for snorkelling and diving.



The 'short rains' are bringing the landscapes back to life, and as the plains start to become green again, wildlife viewing remains good, and it's a great time for birding. Some camps are closed (mainly in the north of Kenya) but many others remain open. The showers tend to fall in the afternoons and don't impact greatly on a safari. Take advantage of reduced visitor numbers and lower prices.


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