Nestled in a valley between the dramatic slopes of Mount Kenya and the rolling peaks of the Aberdare Mountains is Solio Private Reserve. Within the 45,000-acre wildlife sanctuary, 19,000 acres have been set aside as a conservancy geared towards conservation. Solio is Kenya‘s leading rhino breeding sanctuary and it has been so successful, rhinos have been transferred from here to other reserves across the country.

The area was originally a ranch and used for beef cattle, but it was home to a range of animals including buffalo, zebra, gazelles and leopard. Its original owner, Courtland Parfet, had already fenced a section of the ranch to protect the wildlife and in 1970, Kenya‘s Wildlife and Conservation and Management Department approached Parfet to see if he would look after a handful of black rhinos threatened by poaching and trophy hunting. The first five rhinos were brought over from Kiboko in the south, marking the beginning of Kenya’s first rhino sanctuary.

As well as being a haven for both black and white rhino, Solio is home to giraffe, impala, buffalo and zebra as well as leopards, lions and cheetahs. There is also a fantastic array of birdlife, the acacia forest in the middle, crossed by a river, providing the perfect sanctuary for around 300 feathered species.

When to go

The best time to visit is February to March and July to October. Long rains fall in April and May and while there are short rains in November and December, it is still warm and they won't really disrupt your visit.


What to do

  • Game drives
  • Horse riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Guided bush walks
  • Helicopter flights
  • Trout fishing

Lodges in the Solio Private Reserve

Here are some of our travel designers' favourite options