Inscription year 1997 Country Kenya



Mount Kenya is an ancient extinct volcano and Africa’s second highest mountain. Its rugged ice-capped summits and cloud-forested mid-slopes form one of the most impressive east African landscapes. It has twelve remnant glaciers, all receding rapidly, and four secondary peaks at the head of steep glacial valleys. Its Afro-alpine and sub-alpine moorland flora provide outstanding examples of ecological evolution and processes and possess a wide range of rare and endemic species. Its forests are part of the largest continuous block of indigenous closed canopy forest in the country. A narrow 10 km corridor through farmland links its forested northern slopes with the wide plains and semi-arid savanna grasslands of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and with the Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve adjoining it on the south. The extension creates a site at the interface of two biomes, Afromontane and Somali-Maasai.




Mount Kenya National Park / Natural Forest (includes the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Ngare Ngdare Forest Reserve)


1997: Inscribed on the World Heritage List under natural criteria (vii) and (ix).

2013: Extended to include Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Ngare Ngdare Forest Reserve (LWC-NNFR) under the same criteria.


The UNESCO World Heritage Committee issued the following statement at the time of inscription.

Brief Synthesis

Mount Kenya straddles the equator about 140 km north-east of Nairobi and about 240 km from the Kenyan coast. At 5,199m, Mount Kenya is the second highest peak in Africa and is an ancient extinct volcano. There are twelve remnant glaciers on the mountain, all receding rapidly, and four secondary peaks that sit at the head of the U-shaped glacial valleys. With its rugged glacier-clad summits and forested middle slopes, Mount Kenya is one of the most impressive landscapes in East Africa. The evolution and ecology of its afro-alpine flora also provide an outstanding example of ecological processes.

The property includes the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve (LWC-NNFR) to the north. The two component parts of the property are connected via a wildlife corridor which is part of the buffer zone of the property, and which provides vital connectivity for elephants moving between Mount Kenya and the larger conservation complex of the Somali/Maasai ecosystem. The LWC-NNFR extension incorporates the forested foothills and steep valleys of the lower slopes of Mount Kenya and extends northwards onto the relatively flat, arid, volcanic soils supporting grassland and open woodland communities on the Laikipia plain.

Criterion (vii):

At 5,199m, Mount Kenya is the second-highest peak in Africa. It is an ancient extinct volcano, which during its period of activity (3.1-2.6 million years ago) is thought to have risen to 6,500m. The entire mountain is deeply dissected by valleys radiating from the peaks, which are largely attributed to glacial erosion. There are about 20 glacial tarns (small lakes) of varying sizes and numerous glacial moraine features between 3,950 m and 4,800 m. a.s.l. The highest peaks are Batian (5,199m) and Nelion (5,188m). There are 12 remnant glaciers on the mountain, all receding rapidly, and four secondary peaks that sit at the head of the U-shaped glacial valleys.

With its rugged glacier-clad summits and forested middle slopes, Mount Kenya is one of the most impressive landscapes in East Africa. This setting is enhanced by the visual contrast and diversity of landscapes created between the Kenyan Highlands and Mount Kenya looming over the flat, arid, grassland and sparse wooded plains of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy extension to its north.

Mount Kenya is also regarded as a holy mountain by all the communities (Kikuyu and Meru) living adjacent to it. They use the mountain for traditional rituals based on the belief that their traditional God Ngai and his wife Mumbi live on the peak of the mountain.

Criterion (ix):

The evolution and ecology of the afro-alpine flora of Mount Kenya provide outstanding examples of ecological processes in this type of environment. Vegetation varies with altitude and rainfall and the property supports a rich alpine and subalpine flora. Juniperus procera and Podocarpus species are predominant in the drier parts of the lower zone (below 2,500m). Cassipourea malosana predominates in wetter areas to the south-west and north-east. Higher altitudes (2,500-3,000m) are dominated by bamboo and Podocarpus milanjianus. Above 3,000m the alpine zone offers a diversity of ecosystems: grassy glades, moorlands, tussock grasslands and sedges. Continuous vegetation stops at about 4,500m although isolated vascular plants have been found over 5,000m.

In the lower forest and bamboo zone mammals include giant forest hog, tree hyrax, white-tailed mongoose, elephant, black rhinoceros, suni, black-fronted duiker and leopard. Moorland mammals include the localized Mount Kenya mouse shrew, hyrax and common duiker. The endemic mole-rat is common throughout the northern slopes and the Hinder Valley at elevations up to 4,000m. Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve enhance the species diversity within the property and include the home of the largest resident population of Grevys’ Zebra in the world. An impressive array of birdlife includes green ibis (local Mount Kenya race); Ayres hawk eagle; Abyssinian long-eared owl; scaly francolin; Rüppell's robin-chat; numerous sunbirds (Nectariniidae); the locally threatened scarce swift; and near endemic alpine swift.

The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve component of the property incorporates lower lying scenic foothills and arid habitats of high biological richness and diversity. The component lies at the ecological transition zone between the Afro-Tropical Mountain ecosystem and the semi-arid East African Savannah Grasslands. Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve also lie within the traditional migration route of the African elephant population of the Mount Kenya – Somali/Maasai ecosystem and has always been the traditional dry season feeding area for elephants.


The serial property comprises Mount Kenya National Park managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and parts of the Mount Kenya Forest Reserve managed by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS). Both protected areas are designed to protect the main natural values and the watershed of the mountain above the 2,000 - 2,500m elevations. To the north the property is connected via a 9.8 km elephant corridor to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve which adds drier lowland ecosystems and habitats and a suite of additional species to the property. The corridor is within the buffer zone but is critical to maintain ecological connectivity between the two components of the property. Despite a number of threats to the property, wildlife populations, though reduced from the years prior to the first inscription of the property on the World Heritage List, are still considered healthy.

The boundaries of the property on the main area of Mount Kenya are limited to the upper reaches of the mountain above the montane forest zone and most of the forest destruction, illegal grazing, poaching and other human activities which impact the broader ecosystem. These occur outside the property in the area of forested natural reserve that serves as a buffer zone. Understanding and mitigating these threats to the broader ecosystem is important because they impact the long-term viability of the property.

Climate change is probably one of the most serious long-term threats to the site. Glaciers are melting fast and may disappear altogether within a few decades. As the climate warms the vegetation zones can be expected to shift higher up the mountain. For example, the lower parts of the bamboo zone (which occur at the lower limit of the property) will likely gradually be replaced with mixed montane forest. It is essential that the threat of climate change is buffered through enhanced connectivity and ensuring that natural habitats covering the full range of altitude are maintained as a continuum, thus providing ecosystem resilience and allowing for adaptation to the inevitable change. The LWC-NNFR, by establishing the corridor and regional linkages via several conservancies to link with Samburu National Park, Shaba National Reserve and Buffalo Springs to the north and to the Matthews Range beyond, have made a significant proactive intervention to mitigate climate change impacts on the biodiversity of this region of East Africa, providing mobility for biodiversity to adapt to changing temperature and rainfall regimes.

Protection and Management Requirements:

The property’s legislative framework is generally sound and provides for adequate protection of the site. The most relevant legislation is provided by the Wildlife Act, the Environment Management and Coordination Act (1999), the Water Act (2002), and the Forest Act (2005). The Government of Kenya, through the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has promoted the formation of wildlife conservancies amongst owners of large tracts of land especially amongst local communities as a long-term strategy to increase range for biodiversity conservation and management in the country. The LWC is managed for the conservation of biological diversity and thus has met the national legal requirements for designation as a conservancy. In addition the National Land Policy of the Ministry of Lands supports the establishment of corridors for biodiversity conservation.

Three institutions require close coordination to manage the serial property. These include the KWS and Kenya Forest Service (KFS) as well as the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy which is managed through a Board of Trustees. The KWS and KFS are signatories to the Mount Kenya Ecosystem Management Plan which provides an overarching management planning framework. It is essential that the separate management plans applying to the components of the property are harmonised in terms of management approaches and timeframes.

More sustainable management of various sections of the forest has been supported through the establishment of Community Forestry Associations (CFAs) and the production of operational forest management plans and related agreements signed between KFS and the CFAs.

There is a major problem with crop damage caused by elephant, buffalo and other large mammals moving into fields along the lower boundary of the Mount Kenya Natural Forest Reserve. Various attempts have been made to mitigate this human-wildlife conflict problem by fencing and construction of other barriers to stop animals moving out of the reserve. These have had mixed results; nevertheless, as experience has shown elsewhere, effective and well considered fencing is likely to be the best option for mitigating human-wildlife conflict in such a densely populated landscape.

Past threats from commercial tree plantation development and associated cultivation and habitat destruction have been alleviated through long term efforts. The Government's policy not to convert any more natural forest for plantation development has significantly reduced the threat to the property from plantation development and associated cultivation in the adjacent buffer zone. Nevertheless, the ecological consequences of the failed plantation development activities of past decades remain. Areas which were cleared for plantations but never planted, have been colonised by grasses and are being maintained as open grazing lands, rather than being allowed to revert to natural forest.

Threats from illegal logging, grazing, poaching and tourism are being managed and appear to be stable notwithstanding on-going issues. Continued monitoring and effective management of these issues will be needed. Fire is a major threat, especially in the high altitude moorlands of the World Heritage property. The threat is exacerbated by the increasing number of people living around the periphery of the forest, who make daily incursions up the mountain to graze livestock and collect non-timber forest products. Stakeholders have jointly developed a Mount Kenya Hotspot Strategic Fire Plan to guide future fire preparedness within the ecosystem.

The maintenance of the 9.8 km elephant corridor connecting Mount Kenya to the lowland areas of the LWC-NNFR is critical to provide a contiguous link between the two components of the property, thereby supporting wildlife movements and buffering against climate change impacts. It is also critical to explore other opportunities to create connectivity within the larger ecosystem complex to enhance the ecological viability of the property.


1978: Mount Kenya designated a Biosphere Reserve under the UNESCO Man & Biosphere Programme (71,759 ha).


Mount Kenya National Park: II National Park
Mount Kenya Natural Forest: IV Natural Forest
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy: IV Habitat /Species Management Area
Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve: IV Natural Forest


East African Highlands (3.21.12) / Somalian (3-14-12)


Mount Kenya straddles the equator east of the Rift valley about 140 km north-northeast of Nairobi, lying in Eastern and Central Provinces. The site includes the adjacent natural forest between 1,600m and 3,100m. Centred on S 0°10' by E 37° 20'. Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve lie 10km north of the existing site. They include savannah grassland and forest from 1,450m to 2,300m. Centred on N 0°13'20” by E 37°27'5”.


1922: Lewa Downs ranch created by the Craig family to raise cattle and also preserve wildlife;

1932: Mount Kenya gazetted as a Forest Reserve (199,500 ha) managed by the Kenya Forest Service;

1949: The National Park established over upper Mount Kenya by Legal Notice 69 and boundary plan 204/6 under the management of the Kenya Wildlife Service; extended 1968 (71,500 ha);

1978: The Park area designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve;

1983: Ngare Sergoi Rhinoceros Sanctuary established in western Lewa; later expanded;

1995: Lewa Wildlife Conservancy established as a private not-for-profit trust;

2000: The upper half of the Forest Reserve re-designated as Mount Kenya Natural Forest and put under the management of the Kenya Wildlife Service; 2,520 ha of forest was de-gazetted, leaving a total reserve area of 196,980 ha; Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve registered;

2008: Management of the two main sections of the property combined under the Kenya Wildlife Service;

2013: Site extended to include Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve (19,834 ha).


The Park and Forest are state-owned. Since 2000, the National Park and, since 2008, the Natural Forest section of the property, have been managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), as is Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve, all under the Ministry of Lands. Lewa is privately owned, two thirds by the Chikwa Company, one third by the Craig family, and managed by the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Trust. The extension is surrounded by a buffer of protected areas: Borana Conservancy and Il Ngwesi Group Ranch to the west, the Leparua Conservancy to the north and a 200m-wide buffer strip around its borders to the east and south.


Total World Heritage site: 202,334 ha (UNESCO, 2013). Buffer zone of 69,339 ha excluded from total.

Mt Kenya N.P. & Nat. Forest: 182,500 ha (KWS Nomination, 2013):

  • Mt. Kenya National Park: 71,500 ha + Natural Forest + 111,000 ha (182,500 ha).

  • Lewa Conservancy: 14,294 ha + Ngare Ndare Reserve: 5,540 ha (19,834 ha).

  • Elephant corridor: 1,011 ha.


National Park: \~3,100m to 5,199m (Batian Peak)

Natural Forest: 1,600m to \~3,100m (the Park’s lowest salients)

LWC + NNFR: 1,450m to 2,300m


Mount Kenya is an ancient extinct volcano and Africa’s second highest mountain. It is an impressive island massif 60 km wide around the base, rising high above the surrounding plains, formed of the eroded plug of a volcano once over 6,500m high, built up by intermittent eruptions of alkaline sodium-rich magma between 3.1 to 2.6 million years ago. Jagged snow and ice-covered rock forms the existing summits. The peaks and the entire mountain are deeply dissected by radial steep-sided once-glaciated valleys with ridges three to five kilometres wide, except on the drier less rugged northern slopes. The highest peaks are Batian (5,199m) and Nelion (5,188m), rising for the last 500m or more in sheer cliffs. Point Lenana (4,985m) is the highest fairly easily accessible peak. Although the northern foothills are on the equator, the area of the peak is an ice-capped wilderness with twelve small rapidly shrinking glaciers, some 20 glacial tarns of varying sizes and numerous glacial morainal features between 3,950m and 4,800m (Bussmann, 1994). The volcanic rocks are predominantly Pleistocene and recent. Above about 3,200m, most of the Park rises above the tree line; below it, the rich volcanic soils are clothed in forest which is a vital water catchment for some seven million people.

The mountain is the source of some twenty tributaries to the great Tana and Uaso Nyiro rivers, three of which flow through the extension. It looms massively from the south over the scenic rough foothills and flat sparsely wooded semi-arid Laikipia plains in Lewa Conservancy, some 3,000m below, where the volcanic soils are dry, though there are four springs and two large swamps on the site, three dams and a borehole. The area is mainly covered by black poorly draining clayey sediments over basement rocks, with some areas of erodible red salty (solonetz) soils with poor grazing, riverine soils and rocky outcrop hills. Since 2010, the two very different biomes, Afrotropical and Somalian, have been connected along a wooded farmland valley by a narrow 9.8 km-long fenced wildlife migration corridor which crosses a major highway in a tunnel. The whole border including the corridor is protected by an electrified fence.


Mount Kenya has two wet seasons, the long rains from March to June and the short rains from October to December. January to February is dry. The prevailing winds drive rainfall from the southeast; it ranges from 2,500mm on the well forested south eastern slopes to 800mm on the treeless northern slopes (KWS, 1996). A stratiform cloud layer and belt of maximum rainfall persists between 2,750m and 3,750m, leaving the air above it quite dry. The snow line is between 4,500m and 4,700m, with depths on the glaciers of a metre and more. The annual temperature range is about 2°C, lowest in March to April and highest between July and August, but the large diurnal temperature range from 12°C in July to August to 20°C in January to February, and in effect creates summer conditions by day and winter by night. The mountain's weather is very changeable. The diurnal wind circulation is vigorous: down slope winds blow from evening through the night to mid-morning, drawing in the persistent cloud, and up-slope winds blow from then on into the afternoon. Very strong winds blow round the peak in the early morning, the speeds gradually decreasing with sunrise (Allan, 1991). Climate warming is shrinking the glaciers and is bound to affect the vegetation zoning in the future.

The lowland plains to the north lie in the rain shadow of the massif, their semi-desert conditions contrasting strongly with the tropical climate of the mountain. Their average annual rainfall is 513mm, falling seasonally as on the mountain, though with shorter long rains. The daily maximum temperature range is from 24°C to 32°C, and minimum from 8°C to 16°C.


Ecologically, the mountain is an island rising high above the semi-arid landscape of the country. Its vegetation shows a marked gradient varying with altitude, and the amount of rainfall spreading from the southeast. Its forests are part of the largest continuous block of indigenous closed canopy forest in Kenya. In the National Park and Natural Forest, there are some 882 plant species, subspecies and variants, 81 high altitude plants being endemic (Gathara, 1999). Above the forests are five distinct vegetation zones, mainly in the National Park: scrub, rosewood woodland, giant heath, Afro-alpine moorland and nival. Below this, there are six main forest types: rainforest, mid-level moist evergreen forest, mid-level leguminous forest, mid to high-level drier forest and Juniper-Olive dry forest. Between the highland and forest zones is a belt of dense bamboo.

The National Park includes all the land above 3,200m and is almost entirely above the tree line, except for two lower salients along the Sirimon and Naro Moru tracks. It starts just above the bamboo Arundinaria alpina zone, a dense crescent of which with scattered trees, dominate slopes between 2,000m and 2,600m on the south and east sides of the mountain with rainfall of over 2,000mm per year. The bamboo can grow to 12 meters and suppresses other species, so that little else grows with it. A mosaic of bamboo and the conifer yellowwood Podocarpus milanjianus with east African rosewood Hagenia abyssinica is dominant between 2,600m and 2,800m. Above that, it begins to merge with the Hagenia woodland; towards the west and north of the mountain, it becomes progressively smaller and is completely absent on the northern slopes, which at this height are dry unforested scrub (KWS, 1993).

In areas between 2,000m and 3,200m, with rainfall up to 2,400mm a year, is a cloud woodland and parkland predominantly Hagenia abyssinica and H. revolutum with an understorey dominated by giant St John’s wort Hypericum keniensis. Many of the trees are festooned with mosses and the lichen old man’s beard Usnea longissima. Wild flowers include red-hot poker Kniphofia thomsoni, Alchemilla spp., Impatiens spp. and violets Viola spp. (KWS, 1993). At higher elevations, the trees become smaller, with yellowwood and rosewood scattered amongst glades which are especially common on ridges. The zone of high altitude heath, where ‘everlasting’ species are conspicuous, starts between 3,000m and 3,500m, where cold becomes an important factor and the air is dryer. The dominant plants are aromatic small-leaved shrubs: tree heathers Erica arborea and Phillippia species, African sage Artemisia afra, Hypericum keniense, Protea kilimandscharica, Helichrysum chionides and Euryops brownei. There are several gentians Swertia spp. and sedges Carex spp.

The Afro-alpine flora lies above 3,500m in two zones. The lower zone between 3,500m and 3,800m is high tussock-grass moorland characterized by high rainfall, a thick humus layer, low topographic diversity and low species richness. The tussock grasses Festuca pilgeri, growing waist-high, and sedges Carex monostachya predominate. Between the tussocks there are Alchemilla cyclophylla, A. johnstonii, and Geranium vagans (KWS, 1993). The upper alpine zone between 3,800m and 4,500m is the more topographically diverse, with a flora adapted to the extreme conditions, which is both scenically and floristically outstanding. This includes the rosettes of giant lobelias and groundsels Lobelia telekii, L. aberdarica, L. deckenii keniensis and L. bambuseti, Carduus keniensis, Senecio keniodendron and S. senecio brassica, which is found in both the lower and upper alpine zones. Flowers include alpine buttercup Ranunculus orephytus and Gladiolus thomsoni. There is a variety of grasses on well-drained ground and along the streams and river banks, with megaphytes such as Senecio battescombei and Helichrysum kilimanjari. The limit of continuous plant cover is about 4,500m. The nival vegetation is mostly mosses and lichens with everlasting Helichrysum spp.,Alchemilla chrysophylla and A. cyclophylla amongst the rocks, although isolated vascular plants can be found over 5,000m.

In the Forest Reserves, 31% is closed canopy forest between 2,000m and 2,900m, 32% bamboo and bamboo-forest mosaic, 17% scrub, grassland and cultivation, 10% forest with scrub, and 10% plantations (Fishpool & Evans, 2001). The rainforest is luxuriant montane forest of cedar Juniperus procera and the valuable termite-resistant giant camphorwood Ocotea usambarensis on wet (2,500mm) south-eastern slopes up to 2,400 m, growing in the wettest areas, as high as 3,200m. In the north-east, a moist forest of many species that includes camphorwood, Meru oak Vitex kiniensis and pillarwood Cassipourea malosana has been devastated by logging. The lower level evergreen forest of Croton megalocarpus, Brachylaena huillensis and Calodendron capense lies on northwest and wetter southwestern slopes to 1,900m. There is Podocarpus falcatus forest on drier northwest and southwestern slopes to 1,850m, and on northeastern slopes between 1,500m and 1,800m, Croton sylvaticus and Premna forest (KWS, 1993). On the dry lower eastern slopes up to 1,800m, leguminous Newtonia buchananii forest grows. The mid to high-level forests are predominantly cedar Juniperus procera, Nuxia congesta and Podocarpus falcatus on the drier eastern slopes, and more open much-logged cedar with east African olive Juniperus procera and Olea capensis forest on the drier west to northeast slopes to about 2,300m. Mixed Podocarpus latifolius forest grows on north-western slopes to 2,600 m. The northern slopes of the mountain are dry scrub, which receive less than 800mm of rainfall. The lower limit of the indigenous forest is now between 2,000-2,500m.

Extension: It lies on the transition zone between the Afromontane and Somalian biomes (the latter a Centre of Endemism), so the low semi-arid plains of the Conservancy have a rich but markedly different biodiversity from the mountain slopes; in fact, the vegetation has more genera per family than the mountain. Most of the land at lower altitudes outside the Natural Reserve has been cleared and is now used for growing wheat as high as the 2,000m level, and farmland separates the main site from the extension. But the forested foothills below 2000m of Ngare Ndare and the southern part of Lewa are covered by a tall Juniperus procera forest. with Stipa dregeana grassland in good condition and Acacia drepanolobium-Themeda triandra thicket. The Conservancy contains 11 major types of dryland vegetation and 249 species of plants, including 20 endemics. At lower levels, the trees and shrubs of the Juniperus forest community become more widely spaced and grade into the Acacia tortilis and Chrysopogon plumulosus low thicket, dominant in the west and north, the Acacia drepanolobium and A. seyal open low woodland of the southeast above 1,650m, and the extensive Pennisetum stramineum grasslands of the central savannah. Below 1,650m, Acacia mellifera, A. tortilis and A. nilotica are commoner. Commiphora africana and A. tortilis grow on the rocky northern hills. Along river courses, Acacia xanthophloea is the dominant woodland tree, and the two extensive swamps contain species such as Typha domingenisis, Cyperus dives, Echinochloa spp. and Pennisetum spp.


The wildlife populations of the property are healthy, despite reductions during the last twenty years. In the Afro-alpine moorland large mammals are rare, except in the north where plains zebra Equus quagga (some being white) and eland Tragelaphus oryx are common, and even occasionally reach 4,300m; rarely, lions Panthera leo (VU) are also seen. The Mt. Kenya rock hyrax Procavia capensis mackinderi is common, as are the African mole-rat Tachyoryctes splendens throughout the northern slopes and in the Hinde Valley up to 4,000m; the highlands shrew Crocidura allex (VU), the groove-tooth rat Otomys otomys and the East African mole rat Tachyoryctes splendens are also found. The giant thicket rat Grammomys gigas (EN) and Mt. Kenya mole shrew Surdisorex polulus (VU) are the only other mammals endemic to the mountain. Several other small rodents are present. The grey duiker Sylvicapra grimmia altivallis is common. Visitors to the upper gallery forest include leopards Panthera pardus, elephants Loxodonta africana (VU: up to 2,000 individuals estimated), central African savannah buffaloes Syncerus caffer aequinoctialis, black-fronted duiker Cephalophus nigrifrons hooki and suni antelope Neotragus moschatus. Blue monkey Cercopithecus mitis kolbi, zorilla Ictonyx striatus and African golden cat Caracal aurata are also seen. The heathland has species found in both moorland and forest. Reptiles include the mountain endemic Mt. Kenya bush viper Atheris desaixi, the near endemic alpine meadow lizard Adolphus alleni, the Kenyan side-striped chameleon Chameleo schubotzi, Jackson’s chameleon Chamaeleo jacksonii, and various skinks (Fishpool & Evans, 2001).

There is also a wide variety of animals in the bamboo and forest zones. The most visible mammals are eastern black-and-white colobus Colobus guereza kikuyuensis, green monkey Chlorocebus aethiops, buffalo, and bushbuck Tragelaphus scriptus, along with some 2,000 elephants. In the lower forest, there are also olive baboon Papio anubis, spotted hyaena Crocuta crocuta, large spotted genet Genetta tigrina, white-tailed mongoose Ichneumia albicauda, leopard Panthera pardus, eastern tree hyrax Dendrohyrax arboreus, giant forest hog Hylochoerus meinertzhageni, bush pig Potomocoerus porcus, a very few eastern black rhinoceros Diceros bicornis michaeli (CR), buffalo, Harvey’s red duiker Cephalophus harveyi, Chanler’s mountain reedbuck Redunca fulvorufula chanleri (VU), waterbuck Kobus ellipsiprymnus, and the extremely rare eastern bongo Tragelaphus eurycerus isaaci (CR), which is being re-introduced from stock in Florida. The butterfly Capys meruensis is restricted to the mountain area.

Extension: On the semi-arid plains of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, a relatively rich fauna also exists, although a third of the large animals have declined in number during the past eleven years. 34 species of mammals are recorded, 28 of which are not found on the Mount Kenya site; 28 reptile species, 24 not found on Mount Kenya, including crocodile Crocodylus niloticus, and 9 species of amphibians, none known on the mountain. The most distinctive species is the world's largest population of Grevy's zebra Equus grevyi (EN) which has declined fast in the past half century due to competition and hunting, but is now stable at about 370 individuals on the site, and the black rhinoceros, a keystone species. Poaching for horn reduced Kenya's rhino population from some 20,000 in the mid-1970s to less than 300 in the early 1980s and protection became imperative, at first on the private reserve of Ngare Sergoi. The subsequent protection and translocation to restock other parks, of eastern black rhinoceros (CR), and the later introduction of southern white rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum simum have been a main aim of Lewa and the Conservancy for 30 years. In 2013, there were 74 individuals of the former (IUCN, 2013) and 59 of the latter species in the Conservancy. There are also wild dog Lycaon pictus (EN), cheetah Acinonyx jubatus (VU), lion, (VU), leopard Panthera pardus and the uncommon small swamp dwelling sitatunga antelope Tragelaphus spekei, which was introduced to the site.

Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve and Lewa also lie on the route of the Mount Kenya elephants, which when the mountain becomes too cold and wet, migrate to their traditional dry season foraging areas on the plains. A narrow 9.8 km electric-fenced link following a wooded valley across farmlands in the buffer zone has been set aside to allow for a movement which may increase as the climate warms. Monitoring since 2010 has proved their successful use of this corridor enabling them to cross Lewa through two gaps left in the fencing to Borana Ranch and Leparua Conservancy to reach reserves of the Northern Rangeland Trust: Samburu National Park, Shaba and Buffalo Springs National Reserves and the Matthews Range. The restoration of this natural connection between the two regions will enhance their ecological resilience in face of climate change by allowing freedom of movement within natural elephant migration zones. This will enhance their genetic diversity and further reduce conflict with humans by creating a bigger dispersal area for the animals.

Key bird species on the mountain are lesser kestrel Falco naumanni (VU), Jackson’s francolin Francolinus jacksoni, Sharpe’s longclaw Macronyx sharpei (EN), Hunter’s cisticola Cisticola hunteri, Jackson’s widowbird Euplectes jacksoni, Abbott’s starling Cinnyricinclus femoralis (VU). Hinde’s piedbabbler Turdoides hindei (VU) and Kenrick’s starling Poeoptera kenricki. Regionally threatened species include African olive ibis Bostrychia olivacea, lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus, Ayre's hawk eagle Hieraaetus ayresii, crowned hawk-eagle Stephanoaetus coronatus, Abyssinian owl Asio abyssinicus graueri, African grass-owl Tyto capensis, Cape eagle-owl Bubo capensis, African marsh-owl Asio capensis capensis, purple-throated cuckoo-shrike Campephaga quiscalina and long-tailed widowbird Euplectes progne (Fishpool & Evans, 2001).

Among the other large raptors are white-backed vulture Gyps africanus, Verreaux’s eagle Aquila verreauxii, long-crested eagle Lophaetus occipitalis and secretary bird Sagittarius serpentarius. Highland birds include African green ibis Bostrychia olivacea (Mount Kenya race), jackal buzzard Buteo rufofuscus, Abyssinian long-eared owl Asio abyssinicus, Mackinder's eagle-owl Bubo capensis mackenderi, African snipe Gallinago nigripennis, moorland francolin Francolinus psilolaemus, slender-billed starling Onychognathus tenuirostris, the alpine swift Apus melba africanus and locally threatened scarce swift Schoutedenapus myoptilus, as well as the red-tufted, malachite and tacazze sunbirds Nectarinia johnstoni, N. famosa and N. tacazze. Forest birds include mountain buzzard Buteo oreophilus, scaly and Jackson’s francolins Francolinus squamatus and F. jacksoni, Hartlaub’s turaco Tauraco hartlaubi, montane nightjar Caprimulgus poliocephalus, silvery-cheeked hornbill Bycanistes brevis, African black-headed oriole Oriolus larvatus, Ruppell's robin-chat Cossypha semirufa, and greater double collared, olive, tacazze and golden-winged sunbirds, Nectarinia afra, N. olivacea, N. tacazze and N. reichenowi. Around forest streams, African black duck Anas sparsa, mountain wagtail Motocilla clara and the giant kingfisher Megaceryle maxima are seen.

Extension: 429 species of birds are recorded in the Lewa Conservancy and Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve, 356 being resident. They include the Egyptian vulture Neophron percnopterus (EN), Sharpe’s longclaw Macronyx sharpei (EN), lappet-faced vulture Torgus tracheliotis (VU), white-headed vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis (VU) and lesser kestrel (VU). They are also an important breeding area for the resident grey crowned-crane Balearica regulorum (VU) and near threatened bateleur eagle Terathopis ecaudatus, martial eagle Polemaetus bellicosus, griffon vulture Gyps ruepellii, white-backed vulture, Denham’s bustard Neotis denhami, pallid harrier Circus macrorurus; Somali ostrich Struthio camelus molydophanes, maccoa duck Oxyura maccoa, European roller Coracias garrulous and Jackson's widowbird are also found. Migrants and over-winterers include 22 Afrotropical and 57 Palaearctic species.


Mount Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa after Kilimanjaro, and one of the most impressive landscapes in East Africa. It is also a site sacred to the local people, and provides a vital water catchment for seven million people. The vast forest and the extension have populations of several threatened animal species (notably eastern black rhinoceros, eastern bongo and Grevy's zebra), and the Afro-alpine flora is outstanding for a wide range of rare and endemic species. Now enhanced by the addition of a large dryland plain and a well protected rhinoceros sanctuary, the Park is even more of a major eco-tourist destination. Its excellent security guarantees the survival of large mammals, permitting the translocation of surplus numbers to repopulate local reserves in the affiliated Northern Rangeland Trust depleted by poaching. It lies at the ecotone between the Afromontane and Somali-Maasai biomes, within a WWF Global 200 Eco-region, in a WWF/IUCN Centre of Plant Diversity, in one of the world’s Endemic Bird Areas and is also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.


The mountain’s name is from Kiinyaa, the Kamba pronunciation of the Kikuyu name Kere Nyaga (Mountain of Brightness). It is known as a holy mountain by the Kikuyu, Kamba and Meru communities living nearby whose God Ngai lives on its peaks. He created Gikuyu who, with his wife Mumbi, reared nine daughters, the ancestors of the nine clans of the Kikuyu tribe. The peaks were never visited except for traditional tribal rituals and prayer in time of need. Western exploration started around the turn of the 20th century (KWS, 1996). Hand-axe making and rock art sites exist in the Lewa Conservancy.


A very dense population of Kikuyu Meru communities live around the periphery of the Forest Reserve, especially in the north-east, using it both with permission and illegally as a source of fruits, honey, medicines, arrow-poisons, glue and, quite heavily along the margins, for livestock grazing, temporarily cultivated tree plantations (shambas) and farm settlements. But more destructive until the 2000 transfer of management from the Forest Service was the large-scale illegal and uncontrolled logging for valuable hardwoods and charcoal, a major export, and firewood. The number of forest product gatherers and poachers who live along the forest borders is increasing, and there is much unrest over conflicts between farmers and marauding wild animals (KWS, 1996). Several hundred local people act as guides and porters on the mountain, but tourism in the Park could be developed to benefit local people even more. The plains are roamed by the Laikipiak Maasai, and in 2009 there was a population of 900 living in the Conservancy, and some 3,000 in the buffer area. Ngare Ndare has a population of 37,200 (NNF Trust, n.d.), mainly of Meru living in the large included village of Manyangalo.

Successful solution of the ancient elephant–human conflict has been an outstanding benefit to local communities, as have the various cooperative community programs: support to local schools, provision of employment, health care, micro-credit projects for women and community based ecotourism, as well as the control of dry season livestock grazing in the site and the supply of potable and irrigation water. There is a clinic and two schools on site. These programs have created trust which is enhanced by a conservation education program for 17 local schools and for school groups from northern Kenya and beyond.


The mountain above the tree line is a pristine wilderness, and has excellent sightseeing, good game viewing and challenging high altitude mountaineering. Mountain safaris are organized by the Naro Moru Lodge, by private safari companies and by the Mountain Club of Kenya. A well attended annual marathon is run for charity despite summer temperatures of over 33°C. Visitor plus porter numbers were about 20,000-25,000 by 2000, more than half of them foreign. Tourism is still relatively undeveloped but there was an 80% increase in visitor numbers, until terrorism became a threat (IUCN, 2002). Thereafter, warnings by western governments strongly reduced visits during 2003-2004. Normally about two-thirds of visitors come in the drier season via the Naro Moru entrance in the west to climb Point Lenana; and 15 to 20 school groups visit each year. Access is by the steep but direct Naro Moru track, the hilly Sirimon track in the northwest, or the long Chogoria track from the southeast. There is also an entrance leading to a wildlife viewing lodge. The Forest Reserve is poorly provided with vehicle tracks, and the animals can be dangerous to humans, necessitating armed guides (Woodley, 2003). There is an airstrip at Naro Moru. There is one lodge within the Park, with 66 beds, seven climbers’ huts with a total of 82 beds and three self-help banda sites with a total of 456 beds. There are three lodges and another self-contained banda site with 34 beds just outside the Park (KS, 1993).

In Lewa, game viewing and birding are the main attractions, especially rhino viewing. Wildlife observation blinds are set up round the wetlands. There are five visitor lodges which, from 2005-2008, averaged 6,882 bed-nights. There are also five wilderness camps, six picnic sites, a clinic, a rural bank and three landing strips. The annual Safaricom bicycle Marathon is run there to raise money for charities. Visitors are bound by a code of conduct defined as the Lewa Standard that specifies rules for the various recreational activities and for safe tourist behaviour that aims to ensure that LWC continues to be a model for conservation which provides high quality tourism and attracts philanthropic support.


Pioneer studies include Moreau (1944) on the description of Mount Kenya's alpine fauna, followed by Hedberg (1957) on the botany, and Hedberg (1964), Coe (1967) and Coe and Foster (1972) on the fauna. Studies of meteorology and palynology have been undertaken. Most work has been done above 3,800m and more comparative work is needed. Uniquely among tropical glacial areas, the state of the glaciers has been constantly recorded since 1899 and has been scientifically studied. They have been rapidly receding since 1963 (KWS, 1996). The mountain's weather station is the only equatorial high altitude station in Africa. Since 1983, LWC has supported the private Ngare Sergoi Rhinoceros Sanctuary which preceded the present thriving rhinoceros breeding program and the Conservancy itself. The monitoring of elephant numbers and movements is also an important part of the work. LWC has a fully established research station manned by four full time staff members headed by a Senior Scientist.


The National Park is managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), and parts of the Forest Reserve by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) to protect the mountain's biodiversity and watershed. Protection is under the amended Wildlife Conservation & Management Act of 1989, the Environment Management and Coordination Act of 1999, the Water Act of 2002, the Forest Act of 2005 and the Ministry of Lands policy which supports the establishment of wildlife corridors incorporating consultation and co-management with affected stakeholders. The Government has promoted wildlife conservancies among the local large landowners to increase effective conservation and management. Lewa is a private company managed through a seven member Board, the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Trust. Harmonising management is achieved through the KWS Mt Kenya Ecosystem Management Plan 2010-2020, the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Management Plan 2008-2010, and the KFS Ngare Ndare Forest Management Plan 2008-2013. To increase sustainable management of the forest, management plans and agreements have been signed between the KFS and several Community Forestry Associations.

For Mount Kenya Park, the first detailed five-year Management Plan for 1993-1998 sought to preserve the Afro-alpine ecosystem, the high mountain wilderness for visitors, and the mountain’s environmental quality. At that time, the infrastructure and buildings were nearly all privately operated and in bad condition, with no interpretive facilities or adequate game-viewing trails. A general improvement was made in the private companies servicing the park, to their facilities, the condition of tracks and the sometimes quality of guiding and porter services. A landmark KWS aerial survey in 1999 of the destruction of the mountain’s forests and the nearly adjoining Imenti and Ngare Ndare Forest Reserves showed the effectiveness of aerial monitoring and rapid reaction as a management tool over a large forest area. This alerted national and international interest and began to gather support for the rehabilitation of the forest. In 2000, it was followed by the transfer of management of the upper half of the forest from the under-supported Forest Service to the Wildlife Service.

In 2002, a KWS mission with UNEP and other organisations surveyed the changes made (UNEP et al., 2002). Clear-cutting had stopped, camphorwood and cedar logging had declined by 94% and 73%, respectively, and the shamba system was being properly used; marijuana fields had diminished by 81%, and charcoal kilns by 62%, although intensive charcoal-making still continued along the Forest’s borders and some marijuana fields remained. The shamba system, where tree plantations are under-planted by crops, allows the benefits of agro-forestry, but is often used without tree planting to encroach on the forest high up the slopes. It was opposed by those such as tree-planting Nobel Prize winner Prof. Wangari Maathai, who opposed any clearing of forests. In 2002, a KWS report noted monitoring and prosecution of some 1,000 cases of illegal forest resource extraction, removal of snares and waste dumping; a reduction in forest encroachment from 20,265 ha in 2000 to 7,941 in 2002; and increased forest plantation in the Reserve from 539 ha between 1950m-2000m to 2,352m in 2000-2003 (IUCN, 2003).

Several small projects were set up by the GEF-funded Community Management of Protected Areas Conservation Project (COMPACT) between 2001 and 2004. These were to provide solar electric fence to separate wildlife from humans, involve local communities in the conservation and management of the mountain, improve beekeeping practices, set up an Eco-resource Centre, and encourage the planting of trees on degraded slopes by women and schoolchildren. A major benefit of small scale projects was to increase public interest and involvement in the Park, and they achieved relatively quick results. Surveillance, law enforcement and community relations improved (UNESCO, 2004).

A 2008 UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission stated that the effectiveness of the management appeared to be higher than at any time in the past, but in 2009 the draft Management Plan for 2002-2007 was still unfinished and the fast growing local communities had not been fully consulted about it (UNESCO, 2009). However, the Afro-Alpine flora and fauna was under little stress, although the warming climate had affected the glaciers. Human interference was low and its management mostly concerned with controlling the use and littering by visitors without over-regulation. A high accident rate among mountain-climbing visitors had necessitated three KWS mountain rescue teams. Fire is a major threat, especially in the high altitude moorland and lower forests in the west and north. A Mount Kenya Hotspot Strategic Fire Plan has been developed to guide future action. Fire prevention includes firebreaks and visitor caution signage. Fire control by KFS and KWS staff has been enhanced by increased fire equipment and training.

At lower levels, the Plan recommended increased interaction with local communities to settle jurisdictional conflicts between the Forest and Wildlife Services, and conflicts with the public over compensation for crop damage by elephants and buffaloes from the Park and the danger to people. This has required problem-animal control and fencing. Habitat destruction for commercial tree plantation development is no longer approved by Government, but areas cleared for plantations and never planted have become grazing zones instead of being allowed to revert to natural forest. The active poaching for bush meat is countered by three anti-poaching teams. Threats from illegal logging and gathering, grazing and tourism are being managed, but need continued monitoring. The very necessary installation in 2003 of a 140 km electric perimeter fence with routes and gaps for migrating elephants was supported and funded by a UNDP/GEF/SGP project.

The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (LWC) grew out of the private Lewa Downs cattle and wildlife ranch founded in 1922. On it, to stem the destruction of rhinoceros for ornamental and superstitious use of the horn, a small rhino sanctuary was set up in 1983 at Ngare Sergoi, which was successful and expanded by 1995 into the Lewa Wildlife Sanctuary which is run as a not-for-profit company. Neighbouring Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve was added in 2000. Both reserves have separate management plans and run on differing time schedules. The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Management Plan 2008-2010 aimed to ensure that core conservation and community operations were maintained and that Lewa became more self-sustaining, protecting and improving the state of its wildlife and habitats, especially the endangered species. Regular monitoring of animal population numbers and the breeding performance of key species is done for the two rhino species, elephant, Grevy’s zebra and all large predators. Elephant movements into or out of LWC are monitored through the underpass, and reports of elephants in rural settlements outside LWC are followed up immediately, the animals being herded back (IUCN,2013). Long-term monitoring is based on the systematic observation and collection of data about soil, water and vegetation, the state of the environment (wildlife, bird life, invasive plants, animal behaviour, populations and disease), human-animal conflicts, illegal activities, forest product harvesting and tourist numbers. In LWC, fire is used for vegetation management and unplanned fires are treated as disasters.

The Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve Plan 2007-2012 aims to conserve its natural forest and water catchment areas, as well as its biological, ecological, environmental and socio-cultural values, and to protect and improve the living standards of the surrounding communities through sustainable agro-forestry. Solving the old conflict between people and elephants and setting up the various cooperative outreach and educational programs benefiting the communities have built up the present powerful trust in the Conservancy. The LWC runs a conservation education program for 17 neighbouring schools, and for northern Kenya, promoting environmental and conservation awareness by field learning on site and in environmental and wildlife clubs. This approach is epitomised by the Lewa Standard created to display an exemplary ethos for environmental excellence in administration, tourism, security, land use, research and community relations.


In the lower Forest Reserve, human interference has been extremely serious in the past. Pressures on the borders from a poor and fast growing population constantly increase. Poaching, illegal firewood collection, destructive honey collecting, trapping and dumping of wastes are notable threats, but the major damage has been to large areas of forest destructively cut for timber, burnt for cultivation and grazing and invaded by settlements. In 1991, there were 40 illegal privately owned sawmills in the Forest Reserve, while the Forest Service was markedly under-equipped and underpaid (Bussmann, 1996). Most of the valuable timber such as camphorwood and yellowwood has been extracted. In his influential 1999 report based on the survey of the three forests, Gathara stated that 14,662 indigenous trees had been felled, 46% being valuable camphorwood, and 8,279 hectares had been extensively damaged. 76% of clear-cut shambas had been cultivated but not replanted; 622 charcoal kilns, 2,187 head of livestock and 200 ha of marijuana fields were seen on the mountain; 21 forest sites had been burnt, often to clear land for farming; and there were 120 landslides in logged areas, 76 in the more heavily logged camphorwood forests. The effects of this exploitation were the disruption of wildlife habitats and decrease of biodiversity, impaired water catchment and retarded forest redevelopment. These slowed the development of tourism, aggravated human-wildlife conflicts and entrenched local poverty (Gathara, 1999). As a result of this report, sustainable development of the mountain was initiated. However, by 2002 the government de-gazetted and excised 2,520 ha of the Forest Reserve forest to allow for settlement near Sirimon, and the re-plantation was not of local native species.

A clear statement concerning the jurisdiction over forest plantations was still needed in 2003, and the KWS had inadequate funding to allow it to assert control. More effective surveillance of illegal activities, and enforcement of the law was still needed, as well as means to control crop damage by elephants and buffaloes, which is uncompensated by the government. In the National Park, little of which is forested, the main damage is by tourists from erosion, litter and pollution of streams: the degradation around trails, lodges and hut areas has been bad, and trail proliferation along the Naro Moru track has eroding muddy swaths 100 meters wide, destroying some 10% of the valley-bottom habitat in the upper kilometres of the Teleki Valley (UNESCO, 2003). In 2007, it was noted that an unofficial boundary fence was built without preliminary environmental assessment to reduce the growing number of conflicts between humans and wildlife. It encroached on the property and could lead to agricultural encroachment; it also blocked migrating elephants and IUCN requested a halt to the work (IUCN, 2008). The 2008 mission remained concerned about managing this conflict and the fencing, as well as the delayed management plan, reports of land excision from the property, fire risks, the need to maintain wildlife migration corridors and the retreat of glaciers (UNESCO, 2009).

In LWC-NNFR, the greatest future threat is from droughts, higher temperatures, water loss, fires and incipient desertification resulting from the warming climate. Invasion by pastoralists, over grazing, over-extraction of forest products and conflicts with local communities are threats now mostly circumvented by fencing and by good relations with local people through Community Forest Associations and Participatory Forest Management Plans which set limits to harvesting.


The Mount Kenya – LWC-NNFR property (criteria vii and ix, 5,199m high) compares quite closely to the six other sub-Saharan African World Heritage mountain sites for their scenery, geology, ecological processes or notable species. These are the other isolated extinct volcano rising from plains, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (criterion vii, 5,895m), the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda (vii and x, 5,109m), the much larger but vulnerable Virunga National Park (vii, viii, ix, 4,506m), the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia (criterion viii, 4.430m), the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg mixed site in South Africa (vii and x, 3,446m), and Mount Nimba between Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire (ix and x, 1,752m). Of these, only the highest, Mount Kilimanjaro, and the lowest, Mount Nimba, have a lowland component in a different biogeographic zone. No other high mountain sites are strictly comparable, although several also contain lowlands or more than one biogeographical zone. Lorentz National Park (vii, ix, x, 5.030m) in Indonesia and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (vii, 4,169m) in the U.S.A. both start from sea level. Manu (ix and x, 4,600m) in Peru, the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka (ix and x, 2,293m) and the Noel Kempff Mercado National Park in Brazil (ix and x, 980m) all cover more than one biogeographic zone, and the serial sites of the Western Ghats (ix and x, 2,695m) in India, and the Rainforests of the Atsinanana in Madagascar (ix and x, 2.688m) also have components rising from the sea. All are biologically very rich.


Mount Kenya Park: The standard of staffing is high and the KWS and KFS work together well. In 2012, the total staff was 101 under a Chief Warden, 4 Wardens and 5 Assistant Wardens for Administration, Scientific Services and Mountain Operations. There were 21 non-commissioned officers for security, technical maintenance and administration, and 45 rangers. In 1993, there were three 6-man anti-poaching patrols and security staff at 3 gates and the airstrip, 3 scientific field assistants, a Community Wildlife Officer with 3 community wildlife stations and three 4-man mountain rescue teams (KWS, 1993).

Lewa: The total staff in 2013 was 306. Under the Chief Executive Officer, there are departments of wildlife security, conservation and administration and sub-departments for research, community outreach, conservation marketing and enterprise. There are 20 professional and 115 technical staff with high levels of qualification, supported by 171 maintenance employees that together make up an effective and skilled management team, 23 of whom have higher degrees. There is a full-time staff of well trained field rangers housed in 5 pickets near the perimeter, many dedicated to the protection of rhinos, radio operators, an anti-poaching unit, a veterinary unit, workshop staff and accountants. There are five law enforcement areas with daily patrols: a light aircraft is used for aerial surveillance, a rapid reaction team is kept ready for emergencies, and a tracker dog team to follow up and locate poachers. The 140 km perimeter electric fence and eight gates are constantly checked by a fencing team. Fires are managed by KFS and KWS staff. LWC cooperates closely with the KWS, the KFS, the Kenyan Police, the Anti-stock Theft Unit, and works with local County Councils and community leaders.

In Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve, KFS has 6 rangers under a Forester and the NNF Trust employs 15 staff under a Manager and a Field Officer. Staff on both sites are bound by the same code of conduct as visitors, the Lewa Standard, which specifies rules for the recreational uses, safety, and maintenance of the area, and ensures that the Conservancy continues to serve as a model for conservation and attracts philanthropic support.


Mount Kenya: Revenues of about US\$ 467,000 in 1997-1998 came from entrance fees and charges for the use of lodges, huts, campsites and safaris. Funding also came from the Mount Kenya donor/partner forum chaired by UNDP, the GEF (US\$ 750,000), IFAD (US\$ 24 million), EU, UNF, the Ford Foundation, GTZ, the Italian and Swiss governments and local NGOs. A 2003 UNF program aimed to attract over US\$300,000 for the reintroduction of the mountain bongo. Grants between 2001 and 2004 totalled US\$204,585 from the GEF Small Grants Program and UNF funded community based conservation initiatives via the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund. In 2005, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Bill Woodley Mount Kenya Trust funded additional rangers. In 2008, US\$25,000 was provided from international sources for technical cooperation (IUCN, 2008). By 2012, government institutions, KWS and KFS were funded by the state, and by tourist generated revenues from park entry fees, sales of timber from buffer zone plantation forests, water harvesting fees and grazing fees, and from donors. In 2008, the National Park generated US\$300,000, against an annual budget of US\$208,000.

Lewa: This is a commercial venture which generates its income for conservation through donations, internally generated revenue, conservation fees and other tourism related activities to meet an annual budget requirement of US\$3.2 million (2011). By 2008, tourist-generated revenues totalled US\$168,000. Long-term financial provision has been made by establishing an endowment fund, currently of US\$5 million, which will grow to over US\$20 million in the future. Returns from this fund are to be used to supplement future annual budgets when required (IUCN 2013). The NNFR annual operational budget is \$76,000 (NNFT, n.d.).


The Director, Kenya Wildlife Service, P.O.Box 40241-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.

The Senior Warden, Mt. Kenya National Park & Forest Reserve, POB 69, Naro Moru, Kenya.

The Chief Executive Officer, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, P.O.Private Bag, Isiolo, Kenya.

Websites and emails:;;


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April 1997. Updated 5-1997, 12-1998, 7-2005, 7-2009, 5-2011, October 2013.