The Legacy

The Original Lodge on Lewa

Since 1922, the Craig/Douglas family ran Lewa Downs as a cattle ranch encouraging the large number of resident wildlife to co-exist with the ranch cattle. In 1972, they began hosting visitors – the first private ranch in Kenya to do so. In 1990, David and Delia Craig retired and their son, Will and his wife, Emma, took over the running of the lodge. Lewa Wilderness is today still the family home of Will and Emma Craig where, with the help of their team, they proudly continue to entertain guests and provide a truly unique and personal safari experience.

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is what it is today because of a lady called Anna Merz, a dear friend of David and Delia Craig She approached them in the early 80s with a request: horrified by the population decline of rhino throughout Africa, Anna wanted to build a rhino sanctuary to protect the last remaining members of the species. At this point in time, demand for rhino horn had reduced Kenya’s 20,000 rhino to a few hundred in less than 15 years.

The partnership between Anna and the Craigs led to the creation of the Ngare Sergoi Rhino Sanctuary, a fenced and guarded 5,000-acre refuge at the western end of Lewa Downs. In less than a year they were given permission from the Kenyan government to collect all of the rhinos they could find still living in the wild in northern Kenya and formed security and wildlife supervision teams to manage their protection.

The breeding program and conservation were extremely successful and began attracting tourists from around the world, anxious to see some of the last remaining rhinos in Kenya. Despite being a vast expanse of protect habitat, Lewa was surrounded by unprotected land and the only way conservation efforts in the area would sustain was if local people could see tangible benefits resulting from the work.