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Laikipia's insider take:

While the southern safari circuit embraces Kenya's biggest attractions (and most of its famous postcard panoramas), in-the-know travelers have been staking out Laikipia for years. Follow the long, bumpy road from Nairobi in a solid 4WD (you'll thank us later) or take a quick zip on a charter flight, and you'll arrive at this spectacular gateway to Kenya's rugged north. Straddling the equator, with Mount Kenya's snow-capped beacon beaming in the distance, Laikipia is home to dramatic escarpments, sprawling plateaus, and some of the country's most intriguing tribes. Conservation is the name of the game in these parts, and high-profile lodges like the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy have flourished, thanks to partnerships with several area tribes. You might have a Samburu sous-chef, a Turkana tour guide, and a Masai moran—spear in hand—greeting you as you coast into a private airstrip. Luxe lodges have been built by local workers using local resources, with most of the profits pouring into the neighboring communities.

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