Tailor-Made Holiday

Kenya - Lion Collaring in Laikipia

One-Off Tracking, Darting and Collaring Experience

7 days

from £4,095pp (excluding flights)

Take part in tracking, darting and collaring a pair of lionesses at Borana Lodge, in Laikipia. Spread over two days, this fantastic experience is exclusive to Steppes and offers the chance to gain hands-on knowledge of lion conservation and research.

  • Join two days of lion collaring in Laikipia
  • Meet Alayne Cotterill, project director for the Laikipia Predator Project
  • Support conservation through a donation to Borana Conservancy and Living with Lions
  • Gain hands-on experience of collaring a lion; fit a collar to a tranquilised animal

COLLARING

Set out twice, in the company of rangers, researchers and a vet. Explore the beautiful Borana Conservancy – home to elephants, rhinos and antelopes – in search of a specific pride of lions. Track down a lioness and get close enough to dart her.

A change in the pride dynamics in the reserve mean that collaring two more lionesses is imperative. Not only do these collars provide valuable scientific data, they allow for tracking. This, in turn, helps to minimise the risk to nearby livestock. Cattle attacks have risen recently, making further collaring even more important.

Once the lioness has been darted by a vet from the Kenyan Wildlife Service, wait for the tranquiliser to take effect. After several minutes, and once the rangers have scared away the pride’s dominant male, approach on foot. Take measurements from the unconscious animal and assist Alayne Cotterell, from Living with Lions, with fitting the collar.

Finally, watch as the vet administers the antidote and leave the lioness to groggily regain her senses.

DATES AND FLEXIBILITY

For the first time, Steppes are offering the chance to join a team of rangers and researchers in collaring a lion. The dates of the collaring are yet to be confirmed, but are usually between June and September.

Up to six people will be able to take part in the experience, which is available exclusively to Steppes. Either side of these dates, there is total flexibility - the attached itinerary is merely a suggestion. This means the collaring can easily become part of a longer Kenya holiday. For example, combine some time in Laikipia with a few days in the Chyulu Hills.

CONSERVATION AND DONATION

$500 per person goes towards conservation – this is included in the price of the trip. After the costs of the collars and vet have been covered, the remaining donation will be split equally between the Borana Conservancy and Living with Lions.

Both of these organisations do fantastic conservation work in Kenya. Living with Lions runs the Laikipia Predator Project, whilst Borana is tasked with protecting its threatened rhino population. Committed to conserving Laikipian wildlife, Borana Lodge donates an additional $105 per person, per night, to the conservancy.

WHY WE LIKE IT

The chance to take part in lion collaring is unusual and unique. It offers the opportunity to experience on-the-ground conservation and get incredibly close to one of the world’s most fearsome predators.

This trip also supports two very important organisations – Living with Lions and the Borana Conservancy – both of which are at the forefront of Kenyan wildlife conservation.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 4095 £ 700
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation and meals as stated in the itinerary
  • Voyage gratuities
  • All transfers

PLEASE NOTE THE COST SHOWN INCLUDES INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK, BASED ON AN APPROXIMATE AIR FARE. PLEASE ASK YOUR TRAVEL EXPERT FOR AN ACCURATE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT QUOTE. INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Addis Ababa overnight

Day 2

Fly Addis Ababa to Nairobi

Travel from Nairobi to Laikipia (Air Transfer Journey)


Stretching from the rim of the Great Rift Valley to Mount Kenya, the Laikipia Plateau offers a truly great safari experience, allowing you to get away from the crowds and into a remote and untouched slice of Africa.

From fertile savannah to the wild shores of Lake Turkana, the area has a wide range of landscapes, including high plains and low forested valleys. Home to more endangered species than anywhere else in East Africa, this is the place to see African wild dogs - set against a rugged and dramatic wilderness.


You will be staying at Borana Lodge, All inclusive

Day 3

First Day of Lion Collaring
Set out in the Borana Conservancy in search of one of their prides of lions. Collaring these wild lions is done to collect data about the lions' activities, location and the energy they expend when hunting. Drive through the Laikipian landscape in an open 4x4, accompanied by a guide, vet and Alayne Cotterell from Living with Lions.
Tracking the lions across the rugged terrain can be challenging and time consuming. Success is not guaranteed, but the lodge will begin tracking the target prides several days beforehand to facilitate darting. Their rangers are exceptionally experienced and rarely fail to locate the lions.
Once close to a suitable lioness, stop and watch as the vet shoots her with a tranquiliser dart. Follow, at a distance, for 5-10 minutes as the drugs take effect. Eventually, locate the unconscious female, who may well be guarded by the pride's dominant male. If this is the case, the rangers will scare him away before the collaring begins.
Assist Alayne (or her colleague) and the vet, helping to attach the collar. This is the closest most people will ever get to a wild lion. Whilst the lioness is being collared, take measurements from her, including the length of her teeth and her unique markings. After the process is complete, the vet will administer the antidote, which will begin to wake the animal.
Afterwards, return to the lodge. Depending on how long the collaring takes, there may be time for a game drive or other activities.


Game Drives
Set out on game drives in a 4x4, open-sided vehicle, accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. As Borana Lodge is located on a private conservancy, there are none of the restrictive rules that apply to national parks. Drive with flexibility, in search of the reserve's prolific game. Night game drives are also available, allowing for an insight into the nocturnal life in the bush.


You will be staying at Borana Lodge, All inclusive

Day 4

Second Day of Lion Collaring
Set out to collar a second lioness. The tracking, darting and collaring will follow the same schedule as the day before, but will this time target a different pride.

There is a need to collar two lionesses due to a big change in pride dynamics and the splitting of prides in the conservancy. The information that the collars provide helps to reduce conflict between livestock and lions. Recently, there has been a spike in attacks on cattle, emphasising the need for more collars.

Afterwards, again return to the lodge and, if there is time, take advantage of the other activities available.


You will be staying at Borana Lodge, All inclusive

Day 5

Game Walks
Perhaps, take a guided game walk today - this is one of the most tranquil ways to see wildlife. An experienced guide will share their extensive knowledge of the bush and its wildlife. This slower pace allows for a more immersive bush experience, with time to admire the smaller animals that are often overlooked whilst on a game drive.


Rhino Activities at Borana
Borana Lodge is at the forefront of a pioneering rhino conservation initiative - a commitment which few others are willing to take on, given the cost and logistics involved. At the heart of this lies Borana's anti-poaching security team.

Numbering over 100 specially trained rangers, they are employed 24 hours a day to protect the rhinos. This includes a rapid-response team who continually check the movements of the animals. The last line of defence against poaching, they are sponsored by Tusk Trust.

In addition to the excellent rhino sightings at Borana, there will be the chance to meet some of the team. Find out a little more about the vital and challenging work they do, gaining a genuine insight into modern-day, anti-poaching initiatives.


You will be staying at Borana Lodge, All inclusive

Day 6

Travel from Laikipia to Nairobi (Air Transfer Journey)

Fly Nairobi to Addis Ababa

Day 7

Fly Addis Ababa to London

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Borana Lodge

Borana Lodge

There are eight cottages, each with their own veranda, an open-fireplace lit every evening, with enormous bathrooms overlooking the plains and a wonderful homely feel given that generations of the Dyer family have grown up here....

View Accommodation

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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