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Laikipia update by Phil Birley from World Odyssey
The whole region is exceptionally dry at present with no significant rain since last year. Most people are saying that this is the driest spell of weather since 2000.
The disruption in North West Laikipia has been caused by the lack of grass for livestock further north, resulting in Pokot and Samburu herders driving their cattle southwards in search of grazing land.
Subsequent political incitement in this election year has stirred up ill feeling amongst these herders, leading to the disturbances which have been widely reported in the press.
Of the 63 conservancies in Laikipia only 6 or 7 have been badly affected by land encroachment. Thus about 90 percent of the Laikipia region remains peaceful. Many conservancies have been willing to share any remaining grazing and water resources with local communities in this critical period.
Grass has all but disappeared now throughout the region meaning that rain is now desperately needed. The long rains of April and May have been forecast to start in the next week or so. Once the rains have begun it is generally accepted that all illegal grazers will be returning to their homeland to the north of Laikipia and that by June the problems will be all but over.
Our route took us south from Samburu to Lewa, then across to Enasoit, Karisia, Sabuk, Ol Malo, Loisaba and Laikipia Wilderness Camp, crisscrossing the heart of Laikipia on both main roads and bush tracks. At no point did we come across any unusual activity or feel in the least way threatened, on the contrary the local people were as welcoming and friendly as ever.
The game viewing in all these areas was excellent with the animals concentrated around remaining river pools and waterholes. The wild animals have generally fared quite well during this period with few visible signs of distress.
There is absolutely no reason to avoid travelling to the vast majority of Laikipia currently and within the next couple of months the whole region should be back to normal. Laikipia remains one of Africas most successful conservation stories and continues to offer a unique safari experience with a diverse range of activities in passionately owner hosted camps and lodges.