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Lewa might be one of Kenya’s finest wildlife viewing areas and Kalama might offer one of the most luxurious and chic safaris, but for a true East African wilderness experience look no further than Kitich Camp in the Matthews Mountain range. These dramatic mountain slopes, which rise up out of the semi-desert to the north of Kalana and Lewa, are carpeted in misty forests and support a wealth of wildlife, including elephants, lions, buffalos and what might be Kenya’s largest wild dog population. The mountains fall under the protection of the Namunyak Wildlife Conservation Trust, another community-run conservation area that was established in 1995  by the mountains’ Samburu people. Today, it is one of Kenya’s most successful community conservation programs and and this accomplishment has seen animal populations rise dramatically. It acts as a vital corridor for elephants migrating across barren northern Kenya and it is one of the few places in the country where wild dog populations and Grevy’s zebra are increasing.. And the Kitich Camp itself is arguably the most remote camp in Kenya; staying here is a true wild Africa experience. Elephants pass through almost daily -- coming so close to your tent at night that you can hear them breathing -- and passing lions are not unheard of either.

With private conservancies starting to pop up all across Kenya, the Samburu, Maasai and other pastoralist communities are laughing again. This time though, it is due to the joy that they have finally found a way of combining their traditional lifestyle, conservation and the demands of the modern world into one happy, wildlife-filled bundle.

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