A different kind of safari awaits at the Ol’ Pejeta Conservancy. At a 4 hour drive from Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this is heaven on earth for rhino fans. With a population of 140 black rhinos, it’s the largest sanctuary for these massive animals in East and Central Africa.
Black rhinos have been acutely threatened with extinction since 1993. At that time, there were only an estimated 2300 animals left worldwide. Today their numbers have risen again to over 5000. In Ol Pejeta their number has grown from 20 in 1995 to 140 today, which makes Ol Pejeta definitely worth a visit! In addition, there are also 41 (39 southern and 2 northern) white rhinos living here. Since white rhinos are relatively peaceful and easy to spot, the park offers the opportunity to observe them up close.
The last two northern white rhinos in the world
Najin and her daughter Fatu are the last two northern white rhinos in the world. Najin was excluded from the breeding program at the end of 2021, which aims to save the species from extinction, because she has become too old (over 30 years old). Fatu is now the only remaining donor in the program, which aims to implant artificially developed embryos into another, more common rhino species in Kenya.
The conservancy is home to more wildlife than rhinos. It also hosts all members of the Big Five and many other “regular” safari animals. Endangered species like the African wild dog, the Oryx, Jackson’s hartebeest, Grevy’s zebra, serval, cheetah and the bat-eared fox have a home here.
Last but not least, the conservancy is home to the Sweetwaters Sanctuary. This is a sanctuary for orphaned or abused chimpanzees. Even though these beautiful primates are not native to Kenya, the conservancy is a safe haven for them. They started doing this after another sanctuary in Burundi had to close down due to the war in 1993. Together with the Jane Goodall Institute and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), they managed to continue the good work of giving chimps from all over the world a new safe home.