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Sweetwaters Camp – Ol Pejeta Conservancy – Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary- Kenya

Sweetwaters camp a small luxury safari camp owned by Serena hotels and lodges is located in Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Nanyuki Kenya, Sweetwaters Tented Camp is a intimate tented camp, a member of classic safari camps of Africa and small luxury hotels of the world offers the epitome of out of Africa safari experience, Serena Sweetwaters Camp located close to Ol Pejeta House is built is as Kenya safari camp style with tented lodge areas reflecting a contemporary take on tented living, Sweet waters Camp is more than a luxury camp, more than a dream safari destination, more than an African escape… Sweetwaters Camp offers an authentically Kenyan wildlife experience, matched with sincere commitment to passionate conservation of the environment, Styled to replicate the elegant hunting camps of such legendary ‘white hunters' as Denys Finch Hatton and Baron Bror Blixen, Sweetwaters safari camp is located adjacent to the famous Mount Kenya National park with views to Mt Kenya its self, Built in the 1970’s, the camp’s main building was originally the residence of the ranch manager. Tents, all thatched using traditional methods, have private verandas or balconies overlooking a central watering hole, where many animals are seen coming to drink water and bask along the banks during the day and night. Located 227 Kilometers from Nairobi and 57 Kilometers from Serena Mountain Lodge, Ol Pejeta Conservancy is the home to two Serena Hotel properties, namely, Sweetwaters Serena Tented Camp and Ol Pejeta House. The two properties can be accessed by both air and road, by road; the drive will take you approximately three to four hours from Nairobi. Alternatively, if you are accessing the conservancy by air, it should take you less than one hour to be at either of the two Serena hotels properties. The air route will first take you to Nanyuki airstrip ostensibly from Wilson airport where light aircraft carriers can be chartered. The flight from Wilson airport in Nairobi to Nanyuki airstrip is a 30-45 minutes flight and then you can have a transfer to the conservancy organized by either Serena Sweetwaters Tented Camp or Serena OlPejeta House depending on your destination in advance; this is ideally what is recommended however you can also make your own transfer arrangements from the airstrip. The distance from the airstrip to the conservancy is roughly 15-17 kilometers. The only point of concern to make at this time is that the stretch of road to the conservancy from the Naro Moru – Nanyuki main road is currently under renovation and as such it is advisable to have a car that can handle that stretch of road that is if you are driving yourself from Nairobi. Also, due to the road maintenance the stretch of road can be very dusty especially at this time of the year. The Sweetwaters Camp in Nanyuki is a sheltered oasis, clustered around a water hole and set in the pristine calm of the private Ol Pejeta Conservancy; this tented camp offers a charming blend of under-canvas ambiance and superb Kenya safari, Located on the plains of Mount Kenya, the safari camp features luxury tents, each with its own private veranda overlooking the water hole. The central Rhino Restaurant is housed in the former manager’s house of this once colonial farm, and offers both regional and international cuisine. Also within the house is the Kashoggi Bar and lounge, which centers on a blazing log fire. The Waterhole Bar, built in the style of a game-viewing hide, overlooks the waterhole and offers unrivaled wildlife-watching. Serena hotels Kenya chain has recently put up new luxury tents in the area adjacent to the watering hole in what is now called the Morani wing, from an initial thirty nine tents, despite the downturn in tourism, to bring the total number of tents to fifty six tents, The tented camp accommodation offers a unique experience from your normal accommodation that one is used at home. The tents are spacious and come with all the facilities that one has come to expect in a Serena Hotels and Lodges. Due to the extreme fluctuation in weather temperatures, during the day it can be very hot and at night very cold. The Sweetwaters Camp in Kenya provides hot water bottles to help you keep warm at night! Unwind you day at the well-stocked Kashoggi Bar and lounge which has a vantage view to the water hole. As you quench your thirst, the animals as well will be coming to the water hole to quench their thirst and you will be able to have walk to the water hole, if you need to, for an up close with the animals that frequent the water hole during the day. During your stay there, you will see elephants at night which came to drink water and graze near the Sweet waters camp. Also you see this rhinoceros couple that has made the watering hole their spot, they sleep there every night. Also, if you wake up early you can get to view the sunrise either from the verandah of your tent or near the watering hole. The Serena Sweetwaters Camp Nanyuki has extensive grounds in which one can indulge on a camel safaris ride. This is ideal activity, especially if one is accompanied by their kids on a family safari, for the young ones and young at heart. The Camel treks usually go around the fenced Serena Sweetwaters property and during the camel ride, the guides get to share with you interesting tit-bits and facts. If you are not a camel type of person, during designated times usually in the morning, there are guided nature walks around the facility. This way, you get to do your morning exercise while learning a thing or two. Other activities one can indulge into while still at the Serena Sweetwater Camp Kenya are bird watching. At an extra cost one can undertake the following activities while at either Sweetwaters Camp in Kenya or at the Ol Pajeta House; Day and night game drives daily, The Serena drivers who have a great understanding of the sanctuary will give you a two hours game drive. Due to the high wildlife to area ratio you are bound to see most of the big five in the span of the two hours game drive. However, if you want to increase your odds of viewing the lions, you can arrange for the lion tracking safari option (under this option, you pay an extra fee which goes towards the conservation efforts). This option is available between 0630-0930 Hrs and 1530-1830 Hrs. Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Safari and Rhino Sanctuary, During the day visit the Sweetwaters Chimpanzees sanctuary which is run by Jane Gondall Foundation. Learn about the foundations work and how they are going about saving Chimpanzees which come from Burundi. The other sanctuary to visit obviously while at Ol Pejeta Conservancy is the Rhino Sanctuary. Get a chance to interact with Baraka, the blind Rhinoceros. A short drive from the Sweetwaters Serena Camp is the once grand ranch house of multi-millionaire Adnan Kashoggi, now the OlPajeta House, which is a facility run by Serena Hotels. This imposing and magnificent house stands at the centre of the private Ol Pejeta Conservancy very near to Nanyuki. Set in extensive grounds, with glorious views of Mount Kenya, this opulent mansion features a series of reception rooms, including an elegant drawing room with baronial fireplace and a series of scenic verandas, which extend right around the house. The OR Pejeta house is a luxury villa house built by the then owner, Saudi Arabian born and Western educated billionaire business tycoon Adnan Kashoggi. The ORPejeta house was built in the late seventies/early eighties and it served as a vacation rental home to the then richest man in the world, who is reported, built the house for his wife. The house also served as a party central of sorts since Mr. Adnan was as Gatsby as it gets and it is reported that the high and mighty in the early eighties at some point in time, they might have visited the house for a little party in the ranch! Mr. Adnan fell out with the powers be in the aftermath of the 82 coup and was unwelcome to the country thereafter. Lonrho Africa took over running Mr. Adnan’s ranch after he was kicked out of the country. The current house does not have anything that would tell you of its unique historical past apart from the interior décor esp. in the living room and the exquisite paintings that hang on the walls, which show a widely travelled and cultured man, Mr. Kashoggi was. And perhaps all arm dealers are, as it is purported he was! There is nothing else that indicates or showcases of this treasure trove apart from the occasional staff that are well acquainted with the stories of the houses past. The OR Pajeta offers almost similar activities and interactions as the Sweetwater Tented Camp. However, safari house is most ideal safari destination for small delegation that wishes to have their privacy. Also, weddings which could make use of the extensive Ol Pejeta House grounds and afterwards a honeymoon holiday for the newlyweds!

Sweetwaters Tented Camp Restaurant

Sweetwaters Tented Camp African inspired fusion cuisine will certainly be a highlight of your stay. Made from the freshest ingredients, the tastes and presentation will astound you, but the experience of dining at Sweetwaters Tented Camp goes far beyond the food itself. Dinners to the sounds of the African evening by candle light in the dining tent, by star light on the deck, by campfire light deep in the bush, or by lantern light in the privacy of your own deck; Each meal will bring surprises and memories to cherish.
Available at any time, breakfast is buffet style consisting of freshly brewed coffee, a variety of teas and fresh juices; toast a daily selection of pastries and muffins; cold meats and cheese; cereal, including home made meusli; and fresh fruit salad - a very healthy way to start the day. Cooked breakfasts are available to order. Should you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when you make your reservation. We take pride in fulfilling your every desire, but a little preplanning may be necessary on our part. The buffet lunch consists of a selection of hot dishes, including vegetarian, a variety of fresh salads and the hot "special bread" of the day rounded off with a petite desert or selection of cheeses. Lunch is served in the dining tent, deep in the bush. To fortify you before your afternoon activity, freshly made lemonade or iced tea is served with a selection of sweet and savoury delicacies. Whilst not a formal affair, dinners consist of five courses of fine dining served with wines. Dinner is served at our hosted table where you can share the adventures of the day, Breakfast is served from 6.30–8.30am, lunch from 12.30–2.30pm and dinner from 7.30–9pm. Tea and coffee are available all day long and there’s a wake-up service with tea or coffee and cookies from 6am and afternoon tea with cookies at 4pm. Room service is available at no extra charge. Sweetwaters is good for families and chidlren: “We are a family lodge". Childrens’ menus and early dinners are available. Babysitting (by ladies from housekeeping) can be arranged. There is no formal payment rate, but a tip is expected. Sweetwaters is a safe and dependable choice for younger families and the atmosphere is informal and busy enough to avoid any sense that your offspring might be disturbing others. Children can freely roam the grounds inside the electric fence. Little ones would obviously need supervision, and bear in mind that bushbuck and waterbuck also roam the grounds. Bushbuck are medium-sized, timid and essentially harmless antelope (think “roe deer") but waterbuck are a much larger antelope and can very occasionally be aggressive (think “cow"). The camp’s security staff generally keep animals in control, and a baboon chaser is stationed at the end of the standard wing to keep those pesky primates in check. Airtel and Safaricom signals are good. There’s free wifi in the lounge and most tents but not in the restaurant. Borehole water is treated in their own treatment plant. Bottled water for drinking is provided to all guests in their tents on a daily basis. This is usually one half-litre bottle per guest per day. Extra bottles may be provided on request, but the camp clearly expects most guests to buy water with meals. A nurse is available on site at all times. First-aid kits are available. In addition, Nanyuki Cottage Hospital is very good – one of Kenya’s best outside Nairobi. In an emergency, a helicopter could land easily at Sweetwaters. The Rhino Dining Room is located within what was once the ranch manager's house and has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the waterhole. The bar is also located within the house and features a blazing log fire and a typically colonial ambiance. The Water Hole Bar is located in a traditional ‘hide' which overlooks the water and offers unique opportunities for wildlife viewing.
Khashoggi Lounge: Also located in the main building, the Khashoggi Bar is a comfortable lounge which extends into 3 sections: 2 of these have a shared fireplace lit from 5.00 p.m. to 11.00 p.m., while the third is an annex to the Rhino Restaurant. This annex has a small verandah, which leads out into the Waterhole Bar, and is decorated in warm colors with cushions and deep stuffed sofas and rugs. Afternoon tea is served here from 4.00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Rhino Restaurant: Set in the main building, the Rhino Restaurant's windows let in a lot of natural light and a delightful breeze in this warm climate. The restaurant has a view of the waterhole. The menu is a combination of European, African and Asian dishes, made from an abundance of fresh Kenyan produce. Both breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style, while dinner is a 5-course Table D'hôte, with a choice of main courses. The restaurant can seat 80 people, and is open for breakfast from 7.00 a.m. to 9.30 a.m., lunch 12.30 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. and dinner 7.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.. Children's early dinner (on request) is from 6.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.
Waterhole Lounge: Elevated some 20 feet off the ground, this lounge overlooks the waterhole giving you a superb view of the wildlife visiting to quench their thirst. The Waterhole Lounge is an ideal venue for small cocktail parties or dinner parties. The seating capacity is 30 people, or for cocktails 20 people. Private dinners can be arranged here for up to 12 people.
Swimming Pool Verandah: Located by the swimming pool, the verandah has a generous barbeque pit. The area is und the swimming pool is ideal for private cocktail parties, dinners and barbeques. Barbeque dinners are served on request, and curry lunches on Sundays, weather permitting.
Room Service: Room service only offers tea/coffee with wake-up calls. This service is not a common feature at Sweetwaters but meals and beverages can be served in tents on request. Our wine list offers a broad selection of old- and new-world wines, and local and imported beers and spirits. We also offer a wide range of soft drinks including an array of freshly-made local fruit juices. We serve only the finest Kenyan coffee and tea; we also offer a wide range of fruit and herbal infusions.

What to Expect at Nanyuki Sweetwaters Camp

Being the oldest lodgings in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Sweetwaters Serena safari Camp is a large tented camp in the eastern sector of the conservancy, catering predominantly to a mid-range, drive-in group safari market, Part of the international Serena Hotels group owned by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, the camp has full hotel facilities. Serena Sweetwaters Lodge is one of eight Serena camps, lodges and hotels in Kenya, the most important of which is Mara Serena Safari Lodge in the western part of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Located on the equator, Sweetwaters Game Reserve is a 24.000 acre private ranch and includes a 200 acre Chimpanzee Sanctuary, maintained by the Jane Goodall Institute. Orphaned and abused chimps are rehabilitated here and taught to fend for themselves in an area similar to their natural living conditions. Approaching Sweetwaters Serena from Nanyuki Airport, first impressions can be somewhat underwhelming as you leave the dusty outskirts of Nanyuki town, clear the formalities at the conservancy gate and drive across an open plain. Ten minutes later you turn into Sweetwaters’ grove of acacias and palm trees near the waterhole and the overall impression improves. Set on level terrain, the cool reception and main central building under a red-tiled roof has floor-to-ceiling views through its large windows and French doors onto the conservancy, with the nearby waterhole – illuminated at night – taking centre stage. Sweetwater Tented Camp’ waterhole is protected by a discreet electric fence and ditch from the camp, effectively bringing the wilds of the conservancy into the heart of the camp, with the tents spread around it in a rough semi-circle. The waterhole attracts plenty of wildlife, including impala, waterbuck, plains zebra and some of the wildlife for which OlPajata ranch is famous – rare Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe and occasionally white rhino. While you don’t have any elevation from which to watch down on the waterhole, the wildlife that is attracted to it is often quite close to visitors, and the fence means you can approach on foot. At night, floodlights pick out nocturnal creatures, and also attract vast clouds of insects, including some spectacular moths and beetles (fortunately, mosquito controls in this area have largely removed that menace). It’s worth bearing in mind that, while the waterhole and wildlife numbers are a big plus, the proximity of Nanyuki town on this eastern side of the conservancy is another plus, There are three styles of guest tents at Sweetwaters – old and new standard tents and superior tents. The 39 standard tents (12 doubles and 27 twins) stretch out through landscaped gardens to the north of the central areas, curling around to face the waterhole, while the superior tents, in a row known as the “Morani Wing" stretch around to the east. The new brown/khaki coloured standard tents are fine, large canvas tents, with solid thatched roofs above and solid ensuite bathrooms behind. There’s a shaded deck with directors’ chairs and a table and inside either twin beds or a king-size double a writing desk and an armchair, electric lighting and power points. The tiled bathrooms include a conventional flush loo, single basin and a shower behind a curtain, Good towels and toiletries are provided, for the best views of waterhole action, the lower-numbered, front room standard tents on the ground are best placed and those in the second row, to the rear, are mounted on 2-metre high platforms, The 11 superior tents (five doubles, four twins, two triples), spread out to the east of the tented camp’s central area, and are of a much higher standard. Here, despite the use of canvas walls, the sense of being in a luxury hotel room is even more accentuated. Inside, however, the tents are bright and warmly furnished in multi-coloured hues. They have plenty of space, the beds are firm and very comfortable, with high-weave sheets and the bathrooms have double basins and are fitted out to a reasonably high standard. While the camp perimeter fence runs fairly close to the front of these tents, so wildlife can sometimes be seen quite near, the superior tents are all some very small distance beyond the waterhole and the tents at the far end are a 30-metre 2 minute) walk from the dining room and pool. For wheelchair users there is one adapted superior tent, with wide access and rails. Other superior tents are relatively practical, too. Wheelchairs are also available to borrow. The camp driver/guides are used to having disabled passengers in their vehicles, though these are adapted. The main activities at Sweetwaters are morning and afternoon game drives, using the camp’s closed Land Cruisers with roof hatches (some guests will be using their own vehicles and some come in group road packaged Kenya safaris that we organise for our guests and many safari companies based in Nairobi and Mombasa, but also Sweetwaters safaris camp tailor-made safaris in Laikipia invariably use the airport at Nanyuki and our camp’s own vehicles). Game drives around the well-managed and densely wildlife-populated Ol Pejeta Conservancy are invariably productive and rewarding. Many of the land transfers and included tours will be by private van, while others may be shared with other travellers depending on availability and to cut costs, please specify if you would like a private safari or shared safari from Nairobi With sliding windows and a large pop-up roofs, these vans are designed for game viewing. Road conditions can run the full range of conditions from new to very poor. This style of travel is by no means luxurious, but the seats are comfortable and having our own private vehicles allows us the flexibility of making stops when needed, and to stay and watch that crouching lion prepare for an attack. Speed governors set to 80kph are used on all vehicles to ensure a safe driving speed. Please note for your own safety it is mandatory to wear your seat belt at all times when in a vehicle. All our vehicles are regularly serviced and follow a strict maintenance schedule. White rhinos are almost always easily seen, while the much more numerous black rhinos tend to be elusive and skittish, with sightings more fleeting. Ol Pejeta’s wild dogs also make an appearance for most visitors, and their exuberant and fascinating social behavior, and indifference to visitors, makes them relatively straightforward to track down (allowing for the fact that they can move 50km in a couple of days and leave the conservancy altogether). Bush walks are easy to organize, go direct from camp and return after a loop through the bush, and are accompanied by a scout and a licensed gun-holding guide. You can get relatively close to the white rhinos on these, though black rhinos, elephants and big cats are deliberately avoided. In common with all the camps on Ol Pejeta, you’ll be offered the option of visiting the “Endangered Species Boma" – a large, secure paddock for the conservancy’s two female and one male northern white rhinos and the Chimpanzee Sanctuary, a welfare facility (rather than a breeding and conservation project) for previously captive and orphaned chimpanzees from other parts of Africa. We recommend the visit to the northern whites, which allows you to get very close to three of the last remaining five individuals of this subspecies, and also includes close sightings of Jackson’s hartebeest and Grevy’s zebra, and the chance to pay your respects to the blind black rhino Baraka. Back at camp, the swimming pool is an attractive magnet, big enough to do short lengths, and close to the dining room and bar. There’s also a small spa and beauty treatment centre. Unusually, Sweetwaters Serena has no tip box in reception. A tip can be added to your final drinks and extras bill and will be shared among the staff. This is a comfortable and secure option for a stay at O Pejeta, and we think it’s particularly suitable for young families and some first-time visitors new to the safari experience. The waterhole attracts plenty of wildlife and Mount Kenya is often visible, for more information including photos or high quality pictures, booking information, location, Map and prices please contact our reservations department from the telephone and email address provided on this website, we have special discounted rates during the low season

Sweetwaters Camp Family Safaris

At Sweetwaters Serena Camp in Kenya, we appreciate the importance of quality family time. We're also committed to ensuring that you can relax, secure in the knowledge that you and the children are having a great family safari holiday. With this in mind we offer a wide range of family-friendly tent options; children's dining; baby-sitting, and plenty of adventure, sports and educational entertainment for children of all ages. We can arrange for accommodation of families. We can also offer additional beds. Cots and baby-sitting services can be provided (prior notice appreciated). All our meals are generous buffet-styled presentations, with something to suit absolutely everyone. High-chairs can be provided, as can baby-friendly food. We are also delighted to offer slightly earlier children's meals (as early as 12 noon and 6.30 pm) - tailored to suit your children. The lodge offers its own swimming pool (supervised by a qualified life-guard but not suited to small children other than under parental supervision). We also offer a wide selection of board-games and books on Africa and the wilderness. Our professional nature guides also offer nightly talks and video presentations on wildlife. Added to this, we can offer: Lion-tracking on an early morning game drive - to locate a number of radio-collared lions, which can be tracked with GPS devices. Camel rides around the camp or in the surrounding conservancy. Visits to the chimpanzee sanctuary - home to 43 chimps and with its own education centre. Visits to the Ol Pejeta Educational Centre. Visit to the Ereri Cultural Village, home to a group of Maasai, Pokot and Samburu people. One hour guided nature walks. Family game drives (day and night)- in our custom-built open-sided safari vehicles, which are ideal for children. Family breakfasts by the river. Maasai and Samburu dancing and cultural displays. We can also arrange for culturally-interactive trips to local villages and/or schools. Educational evening talks by our resident naturalists. A selection of board games and books on Africa and wildlife.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Located in central Kenya under the watchful eye of Mount Kenya is the Laikipia region, increasingly recognised as one of Kenya’s best-kept conservation secrets. Characterised by a network of streams and rivers that flow into the ever-present Ewaso Nyiro, the region contains some of the highest densities of wildlife in Kenya and a wealth of endangered species, including wild dog, Grevy’s zebra and the locally threatened Jackson’s hartebeest. Significantly, the region is also home to some of the most pioneering and successful conservation initiatives of recent years, and Ol Pejeta Conservancy is a beacon amongst them. A former cattle ranch, the 400sq km conservancy in the foothills of the Aberdares is a splendid example of sustainable and quantifiable conservation benefiting both local communities and wildlife. Cutting-edge equipment combined with smart fencing schemes are redefining the future of conservation, whilst effective land-management programs on the vast swathes of land create jobs for local pastoralists, putting Ol Pejeta Conservancy firmly on the map as one of the most successful conservation initiatives in the world. The rolling plains are home to high concentrations of mammals and day and night drives from Sweetwaters Camp offer impressive sightings of lion languishing in the shade and leopard darting in and out of the evergreen thickets. Buffalo, elephant and the smaller plains game are all to be found in the area and importantly, graze peacefully alongside the world’s largest herd of Boran cattle in a pioneering and mutually beneficial land management system that adds to the unique and varied safari to Kenya experience. 100 critically endangered black rhino live on the land along with 20 Southern white rhino, and a sanctuary for the last 3 remaining Northern white rhino in the world. As well as catching a glimpse of these magnificent beasts in the wild, guests may also visit the Northern white rhino sanctuary and learn a little more about what makes Ol Pejeta one of the role models in modern day rhino conservation. Covering an area of 400 sq km, Ol Pejeta Conservancy boasts one of the greatest game-to-area ratios of any reserve in Kenya. From evergreen thickets to gnarled acacia forests, Sweetwaters Lodge offers easy access to a diverse range of habitats. The Big 5 can all be found in the area, alongside some of the rarer Northern species of Grevy’s zebra, Beisa oryx and Jackson’s hartebeest, and of course the majestic black and white rhino. The area also offers excellent birding opportunities with over 200 migrant and resident species in a great ornithological gathering that ensures excellent sightings. Alongside the traditional game drives and superb bush walks with, activities from Sweetwaters focus on the unique conservation projects in the conservancy. Visits to the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary and the Northern white rhino enclosure are both on offer, as well as mornings or afternoons spent with the local communities to gain an insight into the daily workings of the conservancy. However you choose to spend your days, Ol Pejeta guarantees a wonderfully varied safari adventure in this unique corner of Kenya and a chance to make a true difference to the future of conservation. The Common Chimpanzee can be tracked in Uganda in the Kibale Forest, Kyambura, Rabongo Forest, and Semliki Park, and at Budongo and Kanyiyo, close to the Murchison Falls National Park. In Rwanda, they can be tracked in the Nyungwe and Cyamdongo Forests, and it may soon be possible to track them at the Gishwati Forest. In Tanzania, Chimps can be tracked in the Mahale and Gombe Stream National Parks. There are also chimps on Tanzania’s Rubondo Island, which are slowly habituating to humans, but sightings cannot be guaranteed. For chimp tracking, the terrain in Rwanda is more challenging than it is in Tanzania and in Uganda, and if you would like to see these endangered, and extremely beautiful monkeys, we recommend that you track them at the Mahale and Gombe Stream National Parks in Tanzania, and at the Kibale Forest in Uganda. Visits to the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Kenya, for exiting chimpanzee tracking safaris and to the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Uganda offer a unique opportunity for close viewing of chimpanzees in a natural forested environment. Pre-arranged supplementary feeding times bring the chimpanzees to within meters of the raised walkway specially designed for easy viewing. Excellent photographic opportunities are available as well as just enjoying being near one of our closest animal relatives with behaviours similar to ours. These chimp sanctuary visits are also ideal for children, who may not be old enough yet to enjoy the chimpanzee tracking safari experience.


Sweetwaters Camp Chimpanzee
With 24-hour veterinary support and a stimulating quarantine enclosure, chimpanzees arriving at the Sanctuary are carefully nursed back to health. When they are ready, they are introduced into one of the two large groups at the Sanctuary, who live in vast natural enclosures separated by the Ewaso Nyiro River. The chimps have set feeding times, and return to their indoor enclosures at night – but other than that they spend their days exploring, climbing, socialising, and learning to be chimpanzees all over again. Sweetwaters is a chartered member of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA), an alliance of 18 sanctuaries in 12 African countries; currently caring for over 800 orphaned and/or confiscated chimpanzees. PASA’s role is to help conserve chimpanzees and other primates and their habitats through public education and lobbying for political goodwill.
Chimpanzee Trekking
Enjoy a unique opportunity of viewing chimpanzees behind the scenes and learn more about the day to day care of the chimpanzees in our care. Chimpanzees are not indigenous to Kenya and Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary is the only place to see them in Kenya. Get exclusive access and see the chimpanzees during their feeding time and as they engage in enrichment activities within their enclosures.
Booking Conditions
Group size restricted to 6 people and subject to welfare of animals at the time of your visit
Absolutely no physical contact will be allowed between chimpanzees and visitors
Visitors will not be allowed to feed the chimpanzees (feeding only done by caregivers)
To minimize the possible transmission of human diseases, visitors are asked to maintain a distance of 4 meters from the chimpanzees.
If you are sick with a cold, flu or any other contagious illness, a visit behind the scenes at the Chimpanzee Sanctuary will not be possible.
All behind scenes tours will be accompanied by Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary staff member
Maximum 6 people per group
If the chimps become uncontrollable chimpanzee sanctuary staff reserve the right to ask the visitors to leave
Chimpanzee Photography will only be allowed outside the chimps houses
This activity is available twice a day between 12.00 - 1.00 PM and in the evening from 4.30 - 6.00 PM. All bookings for this Chimpanzee safaris must be done and paid for in advance, no refunds in cases where chimpanzee become uncontrollable Book your behind the scenes tour here

Wildlife Safaris

The Laikipia region has the richest diversity of wildlife in Kenya outside of the Maasai Mara – and protected areas like Ol Pejeta are key to conserving this natural wonder. Our innovative fencing techniques allow wide-ranging species like elephant and wild dog to migrate through Ol Pejeta to neighbouring ranches and conservancies, while at the same time keeping our rhino secure. Ol Pejeta’s 90,000 acres is grazed by wildlife and livestock, in a partnership that is as beneficial to the grasslands as it is to the animals. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy holds some of the highest predator densities in Kenya. The lions are the most numerous of our big cats, with six resident prides bringing the total lion population to 72. The Conservancy is also home to around 30 cheetahs, and 20 elusive leopards. Spotted hyena (population around 100), black-backed jackal, caracal and the bat-eared fox can also be found here. Since 2011, there have been regular sighting of two packs of African wild dogs on Ol Pejeta, totaling 133 individuals. This is a promising sign for Laikipia as numbers of this endangered species continue to decline. In 2014, this migratory pack chose to have a litter of puppies on Ol Pejeta, causing much excitement for our Ecological Monitoring Unit (EMU), and for tourists too. The Ol Pejeta’s EMU strives to collect as much species-specific information on the Conservancy’s predators as possible. There are many ways they do this, such as tracking collared lions and setting camera traps. This information helps experts build up a picture of population sizes, home ranges and behavior patterns, all of which ultimately helps to provide conservation solutions. If you want to get your hands dirty with on-the-ground conservation that can have a real impact on Kenya’s wildlife, then sign yourself up to go lion tracking with one of Ol Pejeta’s lion rangers. You will help track collared lions using a receiver, and gather information on each individual pride member. You will be directly contributing to lion conservation, while having a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Ol Pejeta’s mission to safeguard vulnerable species extends far beyond black rhino and chimpanzees. Other vulnerable or endangered species that live here include elephant, African wild dog, cheetah, lion, leopard, hippo, Grevy’s zebra and the locally threatened Jackson’s hartebeest. The Conservancy has incorporated wildlife corridors within its northern boundary fence to ensure migratory animals like elephants can move safely out of Ol Pejeta to the greater Laikipia/Samburu ecosystem. These innovative corridors allow free movement of all species on the Conservancy except for rhinos. A few infamous elephants have to be closely observed by Ol Pejeta’s Ecological Monitoring Unit, due to their habit of breaking fences and raiding crops on neighbouring farms. Notorious “fence- breakers” may have their tusks shortened, which has shown to significantly reduce the rate of fence breakage.

Ol Pajeta Game drives

with the snowy peaks of Mt. Kenya as your backdrop, your safari in Kenya largest black rhino sanctuary is sure to be as beautiful as it is diverse. Find yourself and the Big Five as you explore 90,000 acres of pure wild with an experienced guide who will share his expert knowledge with you. Venture out there for close encounters with elephants, wild dog, lion, hyena, buffalo, cheetah, rhino, and all the plains herbivores. Download our mammal checklist and discover what else you could come across. Early morning and evening are the best times to explore the Conservancy, as predators are on the hunt and their prey is on high alert. Ol Pejeta is the closest place to Nairobi to see the Big Five – just three hours drive from Kenya’s capital means you can easily escape for the weekend, or even just do it in a day. Supersize your safaris in Kenya experience with a night game drives. This opportunity is not available in most wildlife conservancies, so wrap up warm and let lose that intrepid explorer inside you. Sunset is a game changer in the African wilderness - this is when the truly weird and wonderful come out to play, this is nature at its most raw. With the help of a spot light and an expert Ol Pejeta safari guide, you stand the chance of spotting some of Kenya’s more unusual critters while on you night safari. Aardvark, zorillas, bat-eared foxes, leopard, and lion hunts are just some of sights included in our guest’s campfire tales when they return. We provide spotlights. Available daily between 19:00 – 23:00

Lion Tracking Safari

Did you know that you could guess how old a lion is by the colour of its nose? Feed your imagination by learning more fascinating facts about this vulnerable big cat, and help us protect them, by going lion tracking safaris on Ol Pejeta. A few of our lions have been fitted with radio collars, and you can accompany one of our specialised lion trackers as he searches for their signal. When a pride is found, you can help identify individual lions by recording whisker patterns, scars, ear tears and other characteristics. The data you collect goes straight to our ecological monitoring department and help us find solutions to the challenges facing Laikipia’s lions. Available daily between 06:30 - 09:30 and 15:30 – 18:30. Guests remain in the vehicle at all times.

Bird watching Safaris

Laikipia is home to a breathtaking variety of birds. From the massive 140kg ostrich, to the endangered white-backed vulture, the majestic martial eagle, the cinnamon-chested bee-eater, and everything in between. The activity is not suitable for children under 12 years, and is restricted to a maximum group size of 6 people. Available daily between 06:30 – 09:30 and 15:30 – 18:30. Download our bird list and see what you might discover on Ol Pejeta's bird walk with an expert guide, who will share his in depth knowledge of the birdlife around you. All senses alert - get ready to experience the wilderness like never before. Book your bird walk now by booking a guided bush walk.

Walking Safaris

Few things will awaken your animal instinct like following the fresh tracks of an elephant through the African bush on foot. Touch, smell, see and hear nature as you explore Ol Pejeta with an experienced armed ranger. Learn to identify different animal tracks and spoors, as he shares his expert knowledge of the birds, insects, mammals and plants of the area. All senses alert - get ready to experience the wilderness like never before. The activity is not suitable for children under 12 years, and is restricted to a maximum group size of 6 people. Available daily between 06:30 – 09:30 and 15:30 – 18:30.

Feeding Rhinos

Visit Ol Pejeta new family member, our southern white rhino calf. Abandoned by his mother, we are now looking out for this baby's welfare. Enjoy a rare experience and spend quality time with the calf, and interact with his caregivers as they prepare his milk bottles and help to feed him. Group sizes are restricted to 6 people at one time, and physical interaction with the calf will be relatively restricted. Activity takes place at 10:45am from the Endangered Species Boma at the Morani Information Center. Approximately 45 minutes. The morning feed must be booked and paid in advance as only group sizes are restricted to 6 people, Meet Ol Pejeta's baby rhino and the northern white rhinos: afternoon feeds, Why not combine a visit to the baby rhino, with an exclusive behind scenes meeting with Sudan, Najin and Fatu - the world's last remaining three northern white rhinos. Hear their dedicated keepers tell the amazing story of the rhino's journey from the Czech Republic, to the grasslands of Kenya, and hear about the battle being fought by scientists to try and save the sub species. Group sizes are restricted to 6 people at one time, and physical interaction with the rhinos will be relatively restricted. Only neutral colored 4 wheel drive vehicles are allowed in the endangered species enclosure, to avoid disappointment confirm with your tour operator or travel agent the colour of their land cruiser and be advised safari vans are not permitted, please contact us for more clarification as we can rent our land-cruiser for this activity or as a package that includes safaris in Kenya on request. Activity takes place at 2:45pm from the Endangered Species Boma at the Morani Information Center. Approximately 2 hours.

Visitors Center

The Morani Information Centre was named after a tame black rhino that used to live in the conservancy. The black rhino Morani was brought to the conservancy after his mother was killed by poachers; he was an ambassador and an icon at Ol Pejeta Conservancy. The information center was build for educational purposes especially for children. The Morani Information Centre also gives an insight into how Ol Pejeta Conservancy works and how they safeguard the wildlife as well as preserving the wilderness in the conservancy. The Morani Information Centre is open every day from 9 AM to 5 PM and is free, when visiting the conservancy it is recommended to stop by the visitor centre.

Horseback Riding & Game Walks

At the Ol Pejeta Conservancy it is possible to get a different type of wilderness experience on horseback or a game walk accompanied by a local Naturalist. Your senses are really awakened when following the fresh tracks of an elephant through the bush on foot or horseback. While on a walking safari you will be able to touch, smell, see and hear the sounds of wild as you explore the wilderness. Expert knowledge from a local guide sharing his knowledge about the wildlife including birds, mammals, insects and plants of the area creates a wilderness experience like no other. If you are lucky you will get to see some of the endangered birds such as the majestic martial eagle, white-backed vulture or the cinnamon-chested bee-eater.

How to plan a visit

With our online booking system, most of your adventure can be booked and paid for ahead of time – whether you’re staying a day or a month. Not only does this save you money, but also allows you to avoid disappointment. We're worth visiting! We won the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2015 for the fourth year in a row! Ol Pejeta was also awarded the EcoWarrior Judges Recognition Award for the best private conservancy of the year 2015. Ol Pejeta is the first wildlife conservancy in Kenya to have online booking accommodation and activites. Not only does this save you time at the gate, but it could also save you up to US$10 a day. Activities and the tented camp can be booked online quickly, ensuring you can plan your itinerary and avoid disappointment. Booking online also allows you to put together packages that include safaris to Kenya, and take advantage of any latest offers, kindly specify if you are Kenya tour operator or overseas safari company, please note that Ol Pejeta park entrance fees or Ol Pejeta conservation fees are payable directly, large enough to accommodate a whole host of unique activities, game drive routes and diverse wildlife, but small enough that you can do almost all of them in eight hours. For the pressed-for-time and the spontaneous, Ol Pejeta is one of the best wildlife conservancy's in Kenya to do a day trip. After a morning game drive, day trippers can visit the chimpanzees and endangered species enclosure, before grabbing a bite to eat at Sweetwaters Camp. The afternoon can be spent visiting Baraka the blind black rhino, keeping curiosity wild at the education centre, and perhaps winding down with another game drive before leaving. Typically, Kenya's long rains occur in April, May and early June. This is followed by a cooler dry season between July and October. The short rains fall for a few weeks in November, and the hotter dry season is December to March. Ol Pejeta Conservancy has excellent game all year round. For self drive visitors, a 4x4 is essential in the rainy season. Un-armed rangers are available to escort clients on guided game drives around the Conservancy. The rangers on Ol Pejeta know the 90,000 acres like the backs of their hands. They are out all day every day, and know the routes, the best places to see wildlife, and a lot of fascinating information about the different species. Available for self-drive clients only. Nairobi is one of the biggest transport hubs on the continent. International flights arrive in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), the largest airport in east and central Africa, which serves a daily average of 19,000 passengers from Africa, Europe and Asia. Located in the south east of Kenya's capital, getting from the airport into the city or out to the suburbs is easy, if not a bit time-consuming if Nairobi's notorious traffic is at its peak. Most domestic flights, including flights to Nanyuki (Ol Pejeta's closest airstrip) leave from Nairobi Wilson Airport (WIL). It is important to check your visa requirements before entering into Kenya. You must now buy your visa online before entering Kenya, check the e-visa website for more details. It is also important to check with your doctor what vaccinations you require, and whether you should be taking anti-malarial tablets. Ol Pejeta is not a high risk malaria zone, but if you are travelling elsewhere in Kenya you may be advised to take it. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy – a 90,000-acre private wildlife conservancy – is situated on the equator, in Kenya's Laikipia District, between the foot hills of the Aberdares and the magnificent snow-capped Mount Kenya. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy boasts an astounding variety of animals, including the Big Five (the endangered black and white rhino , leopard, elephant, buffalo and lion), Grevy’s zebra, Jackson’s hartebeest, cheetah and chimpanzee. The combination of amazing wildlife and stunning views across the open plains of Ol Pejeta guarantees an unforgettable safari experience. As a safe and secure private sanctuary, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy can guarantee a hassle-free safari experience with amazing wildlife viewing on good all-weather roads. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is only 3 hours drive from Nairobi and welcomes day visitors. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s main gate is 14 kilometres from the equator turn off, just before Nanyuki town. Visitors to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy will pay a conservation fee for each day spent inside the Conservancy which includes a visit to the Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Gates open at 7am and all vehicles must leave the Conservancy by 7pm. Ol Pejeta integrates cattle with wildlife, and use livestock as a means to manage the rangelands more effectively. They spend their days grazing on the plains of Ol Pejeta, and at night, the cattle are corralled in a predator-proof enclosure (boma). Ol Pejeta employ 100 cattle herders; one for every 60 head of cattle. The herders know the terrain well, and spend all day out in the bush with the livestock, herding them to water points, pasture and back to the boma at night. In addition, Ol Pejeta supports pastoral communities in the north of Kenya by fattening and marketing 1,500 cattle a year as part of the NRT. There is decent cell coverage in certain areas of the Conservancy, but it shouldn't be relied upon. Some areas are out of network completely. Kenyan mobile operators include Safaricom, Airtel and Orange. The nearest town is Nanyuki, and it is a 40 minute drive from the Ol Pejeta main gate. Nanyuki has several supermarkets that sell groceries and toiletries, the biggest one is Nakumatt. Nanyuki also has two hospitals, several restaurants, car garages, hardware stores, and cyber cafes. Your security on Ol Pejeta is very important to us. Ol Pejeta employees and staff at the lodge or camp you are staying in will do everything they can to ensure you feel safe. Normal precautions should be taken both in the Conservancy and the surrounding areas, but here on Ol Pejeta, your belongings are more likely to get lifted by a naughty baboon than a human being if you forget to shut your tent!

Jane Goodall

Fifty years ago, a slender young Englishwoman was walking through a rainforest reserve at Gombe, in Tanzania, when she came across a dark figure hunched over a termite nest. A large male chimpanzee was foraging for food. So she stopped and watched the animal through her binoculars as he carefully took a twig, bent it, stripped it of its leaves, and finally stuck it into the nest. Then he began to spoon termites into his mouth. Thus Jane Goodall made one of the most important scientific observations of modern times in that remote African rainforest. She witnessed a creature, other than a human, in the act not just of using a tool but of making one. "It was hard for me to believe," she recalls. "At that time, it was thought that humans, and only humans, used and made tools. I had been told from school onwards that the best definition of a human being was man the tool-maker – yet I had just watched a chimp tool-maker in action. I remember that day as vividly as if it was yesterday." Goodall telegraphed her boss, the fossil-hunter Louis Leakey (father of Richard Leakey), with the news. His response has since become the stuff of scientific legend: "Now we must redefine man, redefine tools, or accept chimpanzees as humans." Leakey was exaggerating but not by much. Certainly, there is little doubt about the importance of Goodall's discovery five decades ago. As the distinguished Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould put it, this was "one of the great achievements of 20th-century scholarship". Goodall's subsequent observations found that not only did Pan troglodytes – the chimpanzee – make and use tools but that our nearest evolutionary cousins embraced, hugged, and kissed each other. They experienced adolescence, developed powerful mother-and-child bonds, and used political chicanery to get what they wanted. They also made war, wiping out members of their own species with almost genocidal brutality on one occasion that was observed by Goodall. This work has held up a mirror, albeit a blurred one, to our own species, suggesting that a great many of our behaviours, once thought to be uniquely human, may have been inherited from the common ancestors that Homo sapiensshared with chimpanzees six million years ago. We therefore have much to commemorate 50 years after Goodall began her strolls through Gombe. Today, Goodall is a gracefully aged replica of the young woman who first set foot at Gombe five decades ago. Her long blond hair, tied back as usual, has turned silvery grey. Now aged 76, she exudes a calm confidence as she travels the world, promoting green causes established by the Jane Goodall Institute, which she set up in 1977 in order to promote research at Gombe and to protect chimpanzees and their habitats. But in 1960, she looked an unlikely scientific pioneer. Goodall had no academic training, having grown up in the middle-class gentility of Bournemouth in the postwar years, a time when women were expected to be wives and little else. However, she burned with two passions: a love of animals and a love of Africa. "I got my love of animals from the Dr Dolittle books and my love of Africa from the Tarzan novels," she says. "I remember my mum taking me to the first Tarzan film, which starred Johnny Weissmuller, and bursting into tears. It wasn't what I had imagined at all." A friend took a job in Kenya, and Goodall decided to join her, working as a waitress to raise funds for her trip. In Nairobi, Goodall was introduced to Louis Leakey, the scientist whose fossil discoveries had finally proved mankind's roots were African, not Asian, as had previously been supposed. At this time, Leakey was looking for someone to study chimpanzees in the wild and to find evidence of shared ancestry between humans and the great apes. Previous studies of primates had been confined to captive animals but Leakey believed, presciently, that much more could be learned by studying them in the wild. More to the point, Goodall would make a perfect observer, he believed, coming – as she did – "with a mind uncluttered and unbiased by theory", a point that is acknowledged by Goodall. There was slightly more to the relationship than this, however. Leakey found the presence of this pretty, hazel-eyed blonde too much for him and although then in his late 50s, and married with three children, he bombarded Goodall with protestations of his love. "I was in a very difficult position, because on the one hand I hugely admired him," says Goodall. "He knew so much. He also had my whole future in his hands. On the other hand, I thought: 'No thanks.'" Their friendship survived the incident and Goodall went off to Gombe to study her chimpanzees, while Leakey selected two other female researchers, Dian Fossey and Birute Galdikas, to study gorillas and orangutans. Galdikas, like Goodall, is still going strong. The fate of Fossey, played by Sigourney Weaver in the film Gorillas in the Mist, was to be a grim one, however. Fossey was murdered in 1985 after trying to punish local people following incidents in which several of her beloved gorillas were killed. "Dian was a tragic figure," says Goodall. "She was very, very tall, statuesque and really, really wanted to get married. She would say to people, 'Do you know a man who is six foot five and loves gorillas?' So she got a little bitter later on when I got married and Birute got married and she didn't. And she wasn't diplomatic. She tackled poachers by chasing them and did things that I would not have been brave enough to have done. Sometimes she was very stupid. But she brought the plight of the gorillas to everyone's attention." The violent death of Dian Fossey contrasts with Goodall's relatively peaceful time in Tanzania, although her life at Gombe – on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika, north of Kigoma – certainly did not lack incident. "I arrived with my mother because the local authorities were adamant that a young English girl could not live on her own in the bush without a European escort," she says. In fact, this ruling may not have been an altogether bad thing because the Belgian Congo had just erupted into civil war and Kigoma was filled with refuges. "There was nowhere to go so we had to put up our tent in a prison camp. They said that was the safest place for us and wouldn't let us go to Gombe for several weeks." Eventually the two women (plus a cook) made it to the reserve and Goodall began the tricky business of getting Gombe's chimps to accept her. "I remember my first day, looking up from the shore to the forest, hearing the apes and the birds, and smelling the plants, and thinking this is very, very unreal," she says. "Then I started walking through the forest and as soon as a chimp saw me, it would run away." After a few weeks one male, who she named David Greybeard because of his white-tufted chin, let her approach him – tempted by the odd banana – and allowed her to observe him as he foraged for food. (It was David Greybeard who Goodall later watched making that leafy tool to obtain termites.) More and more troop members followed suit and Goodall was eventually allowed to observe their behaviour almost as if she was a chimpanzee herself. Slowly she built up a picture of chimp life in all its domestic detail: the grooming, the food-sharing, the status wrangles, and the fights. Goodall gave her chimps names – David Greybeard, Flint, Goliath, Passion, Frodo and Fifi – much to the irritation of academics. At this time scientists were particularly sensitive about giving human attributes to animals. Anthropomorphism was simply not on, they told Goodall when, in the early 60s, she took a PhD at Cambridge at the insistence of Leakey – who was desperate for his protege to gain academic respectability. "These people were trying to make ethology a hard science," Goodall recalls. "So they objected – quite unpleasantly – to me naming my subjects and for suggesting that they had personalities, minds and feelings. I didn't care. I didn't want to become a professor or get tenure or teach or anything. All I wanted to do was get a degree because Louis Leakey said I needed one, which was right, and once I succeeded I could get back to the field." In any case, Goodall (who got her PhD in 1965) believes it is simple nonsense to say that animals, particularly chimpanzees which are so closely related to humans, do not have personalities. "You cannot share your life with a dog, as I had done in Bournemouth, or a cat, and not know perfectly well that animals have personalities and minds and feelings. You know it and I think every single one of those scientists knew it too but because they couldn't prove it, they wouldn't talk about it. But I did talk about it. In a way, my dog Rusty gave me the courage of my convictions." In 1964 Goodall married wildlife photographer Baron Hugo van Lawick– becoming Baroness Jane van Lawick-Goodall. Three years later, the couple had a son, Hugo, who was raised at Gombe where he known simply as "Grub". The presence of lots of chimpanzee mothers had a considerable influence on the way Goodall raised Hugo. "There are certain characteristics that define a good chimp mother," she says. "She is patient, she is protective but she is not over-protective – that is really important. She is tolerant but she can impose discipline. She is affectionate. She plays. And the most important of all: she is supportive. So that if her kid gets into a fight, even if it is with a higher-ranking individual, she will not hesitate to go in and help." Goodall contrasts the behaviour of Flo, a good mother, with that of Passion, a poor one. "It was a common sight to see Passion walking along followed by a whimpering infant who was frantically trying to catch up and climb aboard her for transport," Goodall records in her book In the Shadow of Man. By contrast, Flo's child Fifi was a noticeably confident adolescent, Goodall states, "her relaxed behaviour with her elders stemming from the fact that she enjoyed a particularly friendly relationship with her mother". Fifi's strong start in life was to have profound effects. She too became a good mother and produced many grandchildren for Flo while Passion had relatively few. There is reproductive advantage in good motherhood, in other words. Being a patient, playful, protective mother is largely common sense, adds Goodall, who is scornful of child-rearing books that suggest otherwise. "Do you pick up a crying baby or do you leave it to cry?" she asks. "Let's just say I picked my baby up when he cried." Gina Ford, please take note. Van Lawick and Goodall divorced and she later married Derek Bryceson, then director of Tanzania's national parks. His subsequent death in 1978, of cancer, left her devastated. Around this time, Goodall noted a split was taking place among Gombe chimpanzees. Eventually, two groups were created – a new, relatively small troop set up in the south, leaving the northern part under the control of the original Gombe population. "Once the original community realized they were the stronger of the two groups, and that there were still more of them than the others, they went for the split-off group," says Goodall. "There were gang attacks of extraordinary brutality. The male chimps pounded and pounded their victims and left them to die of awful injuries. They did things to their fellow chimps that they would never do within a community but which they do when they are trying to kill a prey animal." It was the equivalent, in our own species, of dehumanising the enemy, a frequent prelude to an atrocity. "The war was a disaster," says Goodall. "It was awful, not just for the chimps but for me. I thought they were like us but nicer. It was a real shock to see what they did to each other. That is why it was so dreadful." The parallels between Homo sapiens and Pan troglodytes are deep and numerous, we now know – thanks to Goodall. Equally, there are the crucial differences that divide our species. "The most important one is straightforward," says Goodall. "We have language and they do not. Chimps communicate by embracing, patting, looking – all these things. And they have lots of sounds. But they cannot sit and discuss. They cannot teach about things that are not present, as far as we know." And this takes us to the heart of Goodall's discoveries about the nature of the chimpanzee and its implications for our understanding of our nature. Language and discussion develop the intellect, she argues. "The brain of a chimp and the brain of a human are not that different anatomically. But we started to talk to each other and that drove the brain – because there were more and more things that we could do with it. "Chimps can do all sorts of things we thought that only we could do – like tool-making and abstraction and generalisation. They can learn a language – sign language and they can use the signs. But when you think of our intellects, even the brightest chimp looks like a very small child." Clearly, we have learned a great deal not just about our evolutionary cousins but about ourselves thanks to the work that Goodall began at Gombe 50 years ago and to the other chimp observation projects that have been set up in the wake of her study. The tragedy is that many of these programmes are now threatened by the current catastrophic decline in population of the chimpanzee across Africa. One hundred years ago, there were two million of them. Today there are less than 200,000, with habitat destruction and bushmeat trade being responsible for the loss of increasing numbers. Many populations are now poised at the edge of eradication – taking with them our chance to learn about their unique cultures, for chimps vary from place to place in the manner in which they catch termites or baboons, a knowledge that is passed down from adult to child. The implications for science and for our understanding of ourselves are profound, as Stephen Jay Gould makes clear in his introduction to the revised edition of Goodall's In the Shadow of Man. "We can never know, by studying ourselves alone, whether important aspects of our mental capacities reflect an ancestral evolutionary heritage or new features evolved or socially acquired by our lineage. Chimpanzees are the best natural experiment we will ever have for exploring this central question." Yet at the present rate that the habitat of these wonderful creatures is being destroyed, that great natural experiment is likely to be brought to an abrupt end only a few decades after Goodall began her work. Hence her efforts to raise awareness of their plight and her involvement in a range of international projects – including Roots & Shoots, her environmental youth programme – which are aimed at protecting African habitats and chimpanzee homelands. "At the end of the day, I still think we can do it," she says. "Everywhere I go there are young people with shining eyes wanting to tell Dr Jane what they are doing to make the world better. You have to be hopeful." During your stay on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, you can visit the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary - the only place in Kenya where this highly endangered and remarkably intelligent species can be seen! Visitors to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy have free access to the Sanctuary, which is open daily at 9:00am to 10:30am and 3pm to 4:30pm. The Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary opened in 1993 in a negotiated agreement between the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Jane Goodall Institute. The facility was initially established to receive and provide lifelong refuge to orphaned and abused chimpanzees from West and Central Africa. An initial group of three chimpanzee orphans were brought to the sanctuary from a facility in Bujumbura, Burundi in 1993. This group of chimpanzees needed to be evacuated due to the outbreak of civil war in Burundi. This was followed in 1995 by another group of 9 adult chimpanzees, followed by another 10 in 1996. Over the last decade Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary has been compelled to keep accepting chimpanzees rescued from traumatic situations bringing the total number of chimpanzees in the Sanctuary to 42. At Sweetwaters Sanctuary chimpanzees are being carefully nursed back to health so they can enjoy the rest of their days in the safety of a vast natural enclosure. The chimpanzees live in two large groups separated by the Ewaso Nyiro River. Sweetwaters is a chartered member of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance. an alliance of 18 sanctuaries in 12 African countries, currently caring for over 800 orphaned and/or confiscated chimpanzees. PASA’s role is to help conserve chimpanzees and other primates and their habitats through public education and lobbying for political goodwill. CHIMPANZEE FACTS Noisy and curious, intelligent and social, chimpanzees are the closest living relatives of humans, sharing approximately 98\% of our genetic blueprint. These mammals have the ability to stand and walk upright while also having the ability to move effectively on all fours. Thanks to the opposable thumbs on their hands and feet, chimpanzees make use of tools such as rocks to crack nuts in half or sticks inserted into mounds to ‘fish’ for termites, and are the only primates to have developed tool use to such an advanced level. Learn more at our visitors centre located within the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary.