Lewa Wilderness Trails Lodge

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya - Classic 4

One of Kenya's original ranches, Lewa Downs has been the Craig family home since 1924 when the Craig grandparents came from England and began raising cattle here. Now incorporated in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, which includes Anna Merz's highly respected Ngare Sergoi Rhino Sanctuary and the Ngare Ndare forest, the area is committed to the conservation of the extremely diverse indigenous wildlife and habitat, as well as benefiting the local community by providing employment, schools and clinics.

Set in stunning arid landscape Wilderness Trails is an oasis of comfort and tranquillity. Six cottages in the grounds of the main house provide accommodation for guests. Cool and restful, the rooms all have the stylish wooden furniture that is made on the estate, fresh, simple fabrics and bathrooms in which to relax. The large sitting and dining room is eclectically decorated in true country house style. A highly polished games table, generous vases of brightly coloured flowers from the gardens, a vast coffee table, seriously comfy chairs - they all intensify the travellers sense of being a guest in a friend's house. The delicious meals are made entirely from the freshest of produce, all grown on the estate and are often taken alfresco in a pretty loggia with a twig roof covered in vines.

Wilderness Trails is a wonderful base from which to explore the fauna and flora of the area. Game drives are in custom four-wheel drive vehicles and, because it is a private conservancy, you may also go on night drives which will allow you to see nocturnal animals. Horseback safaris, on very gentle steeds, allow close encounters with the wildlife, while a camel safari is not to be missed! Other facilities include a lovely swimming pool of muted aquamarine that is far more in keeping with the landscape than a brighter colour would be. The side of the pool appears to drop away to the valley below permitting fabulous panoramic views. A large thatched pool house contains colonial style furniture, games, magazines and an array of the softest straw-coloured towels. The tennis court is also popular. However, the great glory of Lewa is the space, the privacy and the gorgeous country.