Ensuring a Future

Lewa Downs, Kenya

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Wool awaiting spinning at Lewa Downs
Wool awaiting spinning
at Lewa Downs

One of Kenya's major private conservation successes at the foot of Mt Kenya, Lewa Downs has been the Craig family home since 1924 when the Craig grandparents came from England and began raising cattle here.

After being a cattle ranch it became a heavily guarded black rhino sanctuary, and it is now the headquarters for a wildlife conservancy, which has gained a world-wide reputation for extending the benefits of conservation beyond its borders.

Spinning new wool at Lewa Downs
Spinning new wool
at Lewa Downs

"Leave room for the wildlife" has been the Craig ethic since the 1920s. The area is committed to the conservation of wildlife and diverse habitats found on the northern slopes of Mt Kenya. Endangered species abound in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.

Community conservation programmes have been at the forefront of long term sustainable development activities at Lewa Downs. Furniture, rugs and carpets are manufactured by community groups, raising vital income for families living around the Lewa Downs Conservation Area.

Weaving looms at Lewa
Weaving looms at Lewa

The Lewa Rugs are produced using goat and sheeps wool collected from the local herds surrounding Lewa Downs. Fifteen weavers work on producing rugs of varying sizes and designs which are then sent to global destinations. No additional colours are added to the wool; all the colours used are totally natural. The additional revenue from the sale of rugs helps extended families around the locality who may not directly benefit from tourism. The project also helps develop skills and training for the staff.

The finished articles!
The finished articles!

Tourism has taken a significant leap forward for local communities who now run various safari lodges and camps as going concerns. This provides much needed employment and community support for employees and their extended families.