Kigio Wildlife Conservancy is a noteworthy 3,500-acre protected Conservancy near Gilgil, between Nakuru and Naivasha in Kenya, about 2 hours drive from Nairobi. It was originally a cattle ranch owned by a colonial settler family. It was sold by the family to the local community who after a few years decided to forgo cattle ranching in favour of wildlife conservation. The community now receives a regular income and the conservancy fee each guest pays helps towards the maintenance of the conservancy. The beautiful conservancy, with stunning views of Mt Longonot, Naivasha and Aberdares, has wide ranging habitats, from riverine and euphorbia woodlands to short grass and Leleshwa shrub, and holds approx. 3,500 heads of wildlife including the endangered Rothschild Giraffe, a 200 strong herd of buffalo, zebra, waterbuck, impala, Grant's and Thomson's gazelle, eland, hyena, leopard, hippo and over 200 bird species. It is protected by an electric fence on three sides and the Malewa River on one. In addition, the conservancy is at the forefront of protecting nearly 100 species of indigenous plant species which are being destroyed rapidly outside the conservancy. The Conservancy's rich bio-diversity has been recognized internationally by Tusk Trust, Born Free Trust, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and several private donors who have provided funds to improve the infrastructure in the conservancy and help wildlife conservation and surrounding communities. Accommodation is available at 2 stunning ecolodges - Malewa Wildlife Lodge and Kigio Wildlife Camp, both built in a sympathetic way using traditional building methods and natural materials. Malewa Wildlife Lodge has 10 cottages (4 single traditional cottages, 1 x 2-storey traditional cottage, 4 river suites) while Kigio Wildlife Camp has 13 suites (11 single suites and 1 x 2 bedroom family suite). The Conservancy is at the forefront of ecotourism in the Rift Valley lakes area. Guests are encouraged to participate in complimentary low impact activities - guided nature/bird walks, cycling, fishing - to ensure that the fragile environment is disturbed as little as possible. Day or night game drives are conducted in open-sided 4x4 vehicles and are available at extra cost. Night game drives are often rewarding as there is a chance to see hunting hyenas, leopard, caracal, aardvark, aardwolf, honey badger, spring hare and several other nocturnal species which thrive in this protected area. The lodges work closely with the local community and support several enterprises, schools and an orphanage. For a small fee, guests can visit a group of widows that craft sisal baskets, a group that makes jewellery from recycled paper and a rug weaving factory. The lodges only sell what is made by the community and pay a fair price. A large percentage of the price is donated to the community fund. Every year, hundreds of children from the local community and schools are invited to participate in ecotourism workshops in the hope that the future generations will be able to protect and improve their environment. Kigio Wildllife Conservancy may be a small conservancy but it is as important as any other protected area in Kenya and, together with the two ecolodges, shows how responsible ecotourism can help sustain wildlife, environment and marginalised communities. Your stay with us will be very rewarding and will provide a crucial lifeline to wildlife, plants and communities.