Happy Thursday! 😀 Are you thinking of supporting the 2022 Lewa Safari Marathon? Well, here are 5 good reasons why you should consider running in the wild this year…
About 3 weeks ago, I got to visit Lewa Conservancy, thanks to Safaricom PLC. I was more than thrilled to go… It’s been my long-time desire to visit Lewa! 🙂
This also presented an amazing opportunity to see the projects supported by funds from the Lewa Safari Marathon. I was especially keen to see how the Lewa Conservancy interacts with the local community.
What is the Lewa Safari Marathon?
Safaricom PLC has sponsored the Lewa Safari Marathon since its inception, about 22 years ago. The marathon is held annually at the Lewa Conservancy, in a bid to raise funds for wildlife conservation as well as community development projects.
Lewa Conservancy, located in Northern Kenya, is about 239km away from Nairobi. The nature conservancy is home to a host of wildlife species: lions, rhinos, warthogs, elephants, giraffes and more.
Nature and adventure-lovers get to run in the wild, in what can only be described as an ‘endurance race,’ due to the natural terrain in Lewa, generously surrounded by wildlife.
The race includes three race categories: the Full Marathon (42km), Half Marathon (21km) and the Children’s 5km Race.
In 2020, the Marathon took on a virtual aspect due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, however, the Lewa Safari Marathon will be held physically in Lewa, on 25th June 2022.
P.S. If you’d like to attend the Marathon as a spectator, it costs £150. You can visit the Lewa Safari Marathon website for more details on taking part & registration.
5 Good Reasons To Support The Lewa Marathon
On this trip, I got to travel with fellow influencers: Winnie Rioba, Brian Bunde and Frankie of Just Gym It.
Our drive from Nairobi to Lewa went by quite fast. I especially enjoyed the beautiful views in Timau, although the flowers aren’t fully grown this time of year… It is usually quite a sight to behold! 🙂
On arriving, we got a warm reception from the Lewa and Safaricom Teams, who then gave us a quick brief on what to expect during our stay, as we had lunch at Ngiri House…
Make a difference in Education: Enter A.I.P.C.A. Rugusu Primary School
Our first stop after lunch was Rugusu Primary school, one of the 23 schools that receive support from the Lewa Safari Marathon Education Project.
Approximately 1,000 children have benefitted from the project so far.
We met the headteacher, as the pupils scrambled back to their classrooms from the playground. That tiny moment took me back to my schooling days. It feels like a lifetime ago though! 😀
Shortly after meeting their teachers, we had a sit-down session with some pupils from Class 6 and Class 8. It was an interesting Q&A session as they asked questions on matters like: ‘how to choose a career.’
You could see the glimmer of hope and determination in their young faces.
Later on, we did a walk-about to see the Lewa Safari Marathon funded projects… They’ve received a water tank, desks and a piece of land for farming through the marathon.
However, I got to really feel the full impact of it all on our last day… We’d made a quick stop at the Lewa Education Center, when I happened to run into a girl at the ladies’ room.
She mentioned in passing, how she found the the process of choosing a course daunting… At first, I was a little confused, so I engaged her for a few minutes… She told me about how she’d been fortunate to get her primary and secondary schooling sponsored by Lewa.
Moreover, she was among the top performing K.C.S.E. students, so they’d come for guidance in selecting their University courses. I wished her well as we went our separate ways.
That encounter, however, stayed with me… I think it’s beautiful how, through individuals & organisations like Safaricom PLC, the lives of these children will forever be changed for the better. 🙂
You’ll Contribute To Protecting & Conserving Wildlife
Our second day in Lewa started out with an early morning game drive… We chanced upon a pack of 7 lions patiently waiting to hunt a buffalo for breakfast.
Although we didn’t catch the actual hunt in action, it was still an exciting experience!
Such moments help me appreciate why conservation efforts are key to wildlife survival in our country. 🙂
The Lewa Conservancy covers about 62,000 acres providing a home for wildlife and critically endangered species like the Grévy’s Zebra and black rhinos…
Later that morning, we stopped by the Lewa Anti-Poaching Team, that exists under the National Police Reservist Unit.
Through funds from the Marathon, they’ve received equipment that enables them to protect and keep track of the animals in the conservancy.
Rhinos are often targeted by poachers for their horns, and were nearly extinct in Kenya. Since the Lewa Safari Marathon launched in the year 2000, over 200 rhinos have been born there. Lewa now houses at least 15% of the black rhino population.
Furthermore, Lewa conservancy protects about 25% of the endangered Grévy’s Zebra.
I certainly enjoyed meeting Rubi, a beautiful, friendly dog that’s part of the Anti-Poaching Unit.
I was particularly pleased to learn about how the NPR works in close collaboration with the community to maintain security. And in turn, the community has benefitted through employment opportunities.
You will save lives: Enter the Lewa Clinic
Have you ever traveled so far out of ‘civilisation’ that you wondered how the residents get essential services? Whenever we travel to remote areas, that question often comes up for me.
One of Safaricom PLC’s mandates is to improve access to quality and affordable healthcare services. So I was genuinely pleased to learn that one of the projects under the Lewa Safari Marathon is a Health Clinic.
When it started in 2015, they had but one building… Thanks to support from Safaricom PLC and the Lewa Safari Marathon funding, they now have these essential facilities: laboratory, ward, waiting areas, reception, pharmacy and a maternity unit.
The clinic has made a huge difference, providing affordable health access to approx. 40,000 since it was established. And at least 30-50 women give birth at the clinic, monthly, thus reducing maternal and infant mortality rates.
You will help save our forests
In the recent past, you may have seen News coverage on wildfires affecting the Mount Kenya region… It’s quite scary, isn’t it?
We got to visit the Mount Kenya Trust Marania Base, one of the beneficiaries of the Marathon. Their Patrol team works in collaboration with the Lewa Conservancy, and local community to maintain security and preventing wildfires.
On horseback, the patrol team gets access to areas that are not accessible by vehicle. Additionally, they get to cover more ground of up to 35Kms per day, with their horses than on foot.
You’ll Help Provide Livelihoods…
Lewa plays a big role in supporting the neighbouring local communities to maintain their livelihoods. The adverse hot weather often leads to drought in the area… To mitigate this, Lewa donated a water tank to the community that’s allowed the for the residents to carry out farming. We visited a thriving onion farm, and you could see how different that area is from the drier more arid parts of Lewa.
Hence, the not only get to provide food for their families, but they also sell their produce, thus providing a sustainable sources of income.
Bonus: Enjoy The Beauty of Lewa Conservancy!
Well, this wouldn’t be a travel blog post if we didn’t dive into the beauty of visiting Lewa Conservancy, right? 😀
Lewa Conservancy has a variety of unique lodges to choose from, and they also have designated camping spaces, if that’s more of your style.
During our stay, we stayed at Ngiri House, a nice boutique-style guest house with a cozy feel that makes you feel right at home.
One of the things I enjoyed most about being in Lewa was the early mornings… You’ll wake up to wildlife like elephants, warthogs and gazelles coming in for a drink at the watering hole. And at night, the sky is beautifully star-studded, away from the light pollution in the city.
On our last evening, they drove us out for sundowner drinks… They’d chosen a vantage point that offers panoramic views of the conservancy spreading out as far as the eye can see. Although the sunset hid behind some clouds, it was still such a glorious sight to behold! 🙂
Lewa truly is, the perfect place to go an unwind for a weekend… Tourism accounts for about 30% of Lewa’s income.
So, whether you choose to visit as a tourist or to run in the Lewa Safari Marathon, it will all add up to a good cause. 🙂
Quick Travel Tips:
- Carry plenty of water as it’s hot, and note that plastic is not allowed in Lewa.
- Bring a sunhat, sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen.
- Carry a headscarf as it gets really dusty.
- Insect repellent will come in handy at night.
- Check out this website HERE for more information on the park entry fees.
This trip was such an eye-opening opportunity for me… I realised that the wildlife, the forests, even the the cool weather we get to enjoy, is indeed culmination of joint efforts by people who put in a lot of work to help maintain it. Let’s make intentional decisions to preserve our environment and to support conservation where we can.
Thank you for reading my friends! 😀 I hope you are inspired to support the Lewa Safari Marathon this and every year to come!
I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment down below, and I’ll be certain to respond!! Until the next one, take care.
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