Suyian is the Maa name for the African Wild Dog, our rarest predator. Suyian Ranch covers 43, 495 acres in northwest Laikipia. The Ewaso Narok River forms the property’s eastern boundary. The large-scale properties surrounding Suyian Ranch are all involved in wildlife conservation and together with Suyian, these properties collectively harbour the largest concentrations of wildlife in the Laikipia ecosystem.
There are five distinct habitat types on Suyian supporting a diverse range of flora and fauna, Grass plains, Acacia woodland, Phonolite escarpment, Riverine and a Granitic Inselberg complex.
Suyian is currently owned and managed by the Powys family whose ties to Laikipia date back to the 1920s when Will Powys, a sheep farmer and pioneer from Dorset, England, first grazed his small stock in the area.
The Ranch also runs camels, and a small flock of sheep and goats. Suyian is also known for its honey production, yielding an annual harvest of 2 tonnes of arguably the most delicious organic honey in Africa. Honey on Suyian is harvested traditionally from locally made log hives just before the rains when the Acacia trees explode in a profusion of delicate white flowers.
The current owners of Suyian Ranch are the direct descendants of William Ernest Powys, the tenth of eleven prodigiously talented children of the Rev. Charles Francis Powys and his wife, Mary (the best known of these children are the authors: John Cowper Powys, Theodore Powys and Llewellyn Powys). Unlike several of his brothers, Will did not take up writing but instead began life happily farming in Somerset, England.
In 1914, still a young man, Will’s adventurous spirit prompted him to move to Kenya where he was employed by Galbraith Cole as a farm manager on Kekopey Ranch, bordering Lake Elementaita in the rift valley, approximately 80 km southwest of Laikipia.
Suyian was leased by the Coles from the then Kenya colonial government to provide alternative grazing for their sheep which suffered terribly from tick borne diseases at Kekopey. In 1920 Will herded Galbraith’s sheep from Kekopey to Suyian and remained there for five years.
Eventually Will was able to buy his own land on the northwest slopes of Mt. Kenya where he lived happily with his wife, Elizabeth and their three children: Charles, Rose and Gilfrid. Some years later, in 1963, Will purchased Suyian Ranch (then known as Il Pinguone) and shortly thereafter his son, Gilfrid, moved to the property to manage livestock.
Will lived until the ripe age of 90, farming, sketching and painting until his very last days. He died in 1978 and is buried next to his beloved wife, Elizabeth, eldest son, Charles and favourite dog, Joey, in Nanyuki.