Luxury experiential and conservation company &Beyond has extended its lodge circuit in Kenya with the announcement of an Exclusive Tourism Concession over the 44 000 acre (approximately 18 000 hectares) Suyian Conservancy in Kenya in partnership with global conservation charity Space for Giants. The multi-decade long-term lease and partnership gives &Beyond exclusive access to over 44 000 acres of prime wilderness land on Suyian Conservancy in north-western Laikipia. As the sole luxury lodge and tented camp operator on the conservancy, the lease enables &Beyond to use its extensive lodge operating experience to build and develop, over time, the finest lodge, tented camp, sky beds and mobile camping experience in Kenya on this pristine and private wildlife conservancy.
“Our expansion into Laikipia is the culmination of a long-held desire to increase our impact and lodge operating footprint in Kenya. Laikipia is a prime wilderness area that is home to a greater population of wildlife than anywhere else in Kenya outside of the Masai Mara. This includes a large number of globally threatened mammals that make it particularly important from a conservation perspective. Representing a critical piece of the Kenyan circuit, it not only offers a world-class game experience but also aligns with many of our ambitious impact objectives in terms of securing and protecting endangered wildlife and habitat ecosystems, as well as enabling conservation through empowered communities,” explains Joss Kent, &Beyond CEO and Executive Chairman.
“In Suyian Conservancy and Space for Giants we have found the perfect partnership through which to bring our dream to reality. We are totally aligned in our goals to create one of the finest conservancy and lodge operations in Kenya and, indeed, Africa.”
Space for Giants was founded by Dr Max Graham ten years ago, off the back of research into the conflict between people and elephants in Laikipia, home to the second largest population of elephants in Kenya and one of the largest free-roaming populations on the continent. A key lesson from this research, the importance of removing the cost of wildlife to local people and replacing it with benefits, has driven a strategy of transforming private ranches into wildlife conservancies owned by not-for-profit trusts, attracting investment into enterprises that can ensure the region is valued, not just because it protects critically important biodiversity, but also because it generates employment and builds the local and national economy.
“Space for Giants has grown immensely in the last ten years and now operates across eleven countries in Africa,” explains Dr Graham. “If Laikipia is the heart of the organisation, Suyian is its soul. Last year, through the generosity of the former owners of Suyian and a transformational gift by American philanthropist Louis Bacon, we were able to support the transition of ownership of the 44 000 acres to the Suyian Conservancy Trust, a Kenyan not-for-profit.
This will ensure Suyian and its wildlife are protected in perpetuity for the benefit of Kenyans and, indeed, the world.”
The partnership between &Beyond and Suyian Conservancy represents an important milestone in the property becoming a leading financially self-sufficient model for Protected Area Management in Africa.
“In &Beyond we have a company that shares our values and has the capacity to ensure this magical natural ecosystem is not only protected but thrives,” concludes Dr Graham. “We could not have dreamed of a better partnership as a start to Suyian’s exciting journey.”
Forming part of a vital wildlife movement corridor and home to a huge diversity of wildlife, including a significant number of endangered species, Suyian boasts a variety of compelling landscapes that include grassland, savanna,
rocky outcrops or kopjes, dense vechellia woodland and more than 16 km (10 miles) of river frontage alongside the Ewaso Narok River. A thriving wildlife population includes rarities such as the melanistic, or black, leopard and
African wild dog, as well as northern Kenyan species like Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, desert warthog and more. Elephant and buffalo are present in healthy numbers, as are lion, leopard and cheetah, in addition to both striped and spotted hyena. General game includes dik dik, giraffe, Laikipia hartebeest, Beisa oryx and lesser kudu.
With its remarkable wildlife and varying landscapes, Suyian is the ideal destination not only for an exclusive safari experience but also less commonly found activities such as walking safaris, camel safaris and horse-riding safaris on a neighbouring conservancy. The diversity of flora lends itself to engaging botany walks and the rich cultural history includes evidence of cave paintings and artefacts from as far back as the Stone Age. Guests will also be able to interact with local pastoral tribes such as the Samburu and Pokot, as well as participate in conservation and research activities.
Easily accessed by air or road from Nairobi, Suyian is also a gateway to more remote adventures, such as helicopter safaris and visits to the Northern Frontier region of Kenya, including Samburu, the Matthews Range and the Endoto
Range, Lake Turkana and the fabled Suguta Valley. The conservancy not only offers magnificent views of Mount Kenya but can also be used as a base for scenic flights or even fishing trips to this majestic and beautiful mountain.
Transformed from pure cattle ranching to land managed for conservation with a limited number of cattle, Suyian combines rapidly evolving conservation practices with the opportunity for community development. The
conservancy utilises a unique model of limited cattle ranching that uses rotational grazing to improve soil health and biodiversity. In combination with wildlife conservation and tourism, this not only contributes towards the economic development of neighbouring communities but also ensures a more diversified income stream.
“As a partner of Suyian Conservancy, our intention is to make an impactful contribution towards the development of conservation and community projects in the fragile Laikipia ecosystem,” says Kent. “Over the past thirty years, we have learned a lot of impact lessons across our 29 lodges and 1 million acres of primary conservation land under management in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is our hope that we can share some of these learnings to support and assist in the various projects at Suyian.”
The &Beyond ethos of Care of the Land, Wildlife and People is directly aligned with the existing aims of Suyian Conservancy, which include land stewardship, wildlife protection and security, as well as community support for schools, health programmes and education. Being contiguous with other nature conservancies such as Loisaba and Sosian provides the opportunity to work on shared conservation projects, as well as the possibility of creating a larger ‘super conservancy’ at some time in the future. Suyian also shares borders with the research conservancy of Mpala, which is run by Princeton University and offers the option for &Beyond guests to learn about and become
involved in a multitude of conservation topics.
“Suyian offers the perfect potential for &Beyond to make a contribution to community and conservation efforts in Kenya while creating an exceptional experience for our guests,” concludes Kent. “Its untouched nature and wild spaces, combined with our strict conservation ethics, will make this the ideal exclusive wildlife viewing destination, far from the large tourist numbers that can often be found in other parts of East Africa.”
&Beyond Suyian Lodge is expected to open in 2025. Log on to andBeyond.com or follow &Beyond on social media for further updates.