Kenya

Samburu Nature Reserve

If you’ve previously been to Kenya or are seeking a more off-the-beaten-path vacation with lots of unique wildlife, the Samburu Nature Reserve is a good choice. It’s a rewarding safari destination with unique experiences and great game viewing. There are direct flights from Nairobi’s domestic Wilson Airport, and if you are traveling from Lewa or Laikipia, a vehicle transfer is feasible. Flying between places allows you to spend more time on safari and is also significantly less exhausting than driving.

Because it is relatively uncrowded, Samburu is regarded as a hidden gem by discriminating safari travelers. Unlike Amboseli, it draws few self-drive tourists on weekends or during school vacations, and it never reaches the fever level of the Masai Mara during the great Migration, when thousands go to see the spectacle (the great migration). You may have to put more effort to get sightings, but when you do, the prize is that much better, and you’re likely to be alone. The big cats, as well as unusual species such as gerenuk, can be found here. For seasoned travelers, it is a highly gratifying location.

Samburu nature reserve

Where is the Samburu nature reserve located?

Samburu nature reserve is located in northern Kenya, where the lush greenery of the rest of the nation gives way to dry scrubland, kopjes, and massive rocky outcrops, all centered on the flowing Ewaso Ngiro River. This amazing topography supports species that are especially suited to the drier, rockier circumstances.

The reserve gets its name from the Samburu tribe, who are nomadic pastoralists with some of the most exquisite and delicate traditional finery in the world. The Samburu continue to live in manyattas (villages) that may be relocated in order to find new grazing for their donkeys, goats, and cattle. Camels were imported at some point when trade Arabians came, and these desert beasts, of course, flourish in this semi-arid climate. This is one of the few areas in Africa where you may go on a camel trek to look for animals with the help of your experienced and educated Samburu guides.

Activities in Samburu Nature Reserve

Game drives

Samburu Nature Reserve is one of the top game-viewing destinations in Kenya’s northern area. The reserve is famous for the Samburu Special Five and a variety of other animal species that are used to surviving in the parched plains. The Samburu Special 5 are the highlight of the game viewing experience, and game drives are never complete without seeing some of them. The Samburu Special 5 are Grevy’s Zebra, Beisa Oryx, reticulated giraffe, Gerenuk, and Somali Ostrich, and are so named because they are rare species found nowhere else in Kenya. Game drives in Samburu National Reserve are conducted on various marked trails that run through the park’s semi-arid landscape, and from the comfort of your safari vehicle with open windows, you can see a variety of animals including lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and the Samburu Special Five, among others.

The finest place to see wildlife in Samburu nature reserve is on the banks of the Ewaso Ng’iro River, which is the area’s major water supply. It is regularly frequented by many animals who come to drink and cool off in the water. The dry season, which lasts from June to October and December to March, is the optimal time to visit Samburu Naure Reserve for a game drive (game viewing).

Samburu nature reserve

Bird Watching

Samburu National Reserve is a premier birding destination in Kenya, ideal for birders looking for an exciting Kenya birding experience. The park is home to over 390 bird species that live in a variety of habitats scattered throughout the reserve, including acacia savannah and gallery forests along the Ewaso Nyiro River. Samburu National Reserve provides excellent birding chances due to its abundance of northeast African species shared with Ethiopia and Somalia. Acacia tit, Bare-eyed thrush, African palm swift, Cisticola ashy, Brown-tailed rock chit, Black-bellied sunbird, Black-capped social weaver Chestnut weaver, Chestnut-headed sparrow lark, and The Donaldson-Smith’s sparrow weaver are some of the common birds in Samburu.

The Fischer’s starling, Golden-breasted starling, golden pipit, greater kestrel Wren-warbler, grey Sunbird of Hunter, Northern brownbul, Lanner falcon, Mariqua sunbird The palm-nut vulture, Batis pygmy, The red-bellied parrot The red-necked falcon Lark with red wings, Seedeater Reichenow, rosy patched  Bush-shrike,  Secretary Bird, The singing bush lark. Somali ostrich, Somali bee-eater. Among the species are Von der Decken’s hornbill, Vulturine guineafowl, White-headed mousebird, and Yellow-vented eremomela are some of the other birds in the park.

The greatest time to visit Samburu National Area is from November to April, when migrating bird species visit the reserve.

Nature walks

Samburu is a fascinating Kenya location for nature treks, with a semi-arid terrain traversed by the Ewaso Ng’iro River, the area’s constant supply of water. Nature walks are primarily done along the river’s banks, where you may witness game such as hippos, elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and other birds. For security reasons, nature walks in Samburu National Reserve are conducted in the company of an expert guide and an armed ranger. This activity is conducted on numerous paths that run across the reserve.

Cultural interactions with the  Samburu people

The Samburu people are fascinating people that you should not miss seeing during your Kenya safari trip in Samburu national reserve. The Samburu are Nilotic people who live as semi-nomadic pastoralists herding cattle, sheep, goats, and camels. The Samburu people reside in communities around the reserve’s borders and are visited for a cultural experience. They people speak Maa and retain their traditional traditions and customs.

The Samburu people’s diet consists primarily of milk and blood obtained from their cows. Samburu dwellings are known as manyattas/huts and are built of hide, mud, and grass mats spread over poles. The huts are surrounded by a fence that protects the community of 5 – 10 family members; in the Samburu cultural environment. It is the job of men to safeguard the community and the entire tribe. Women are responsible for gathering vegetables and roots, caring for their children, and collecting water.

You will be delighted by cultural dances and music while visiting the Samburu people, as well as witness the circumcision ritual and traditional marriage. Once a boy has been circumcised, he is regarded a moran in Samburu culture and traditions (worrior).

Which Animals Can I Expect to See in Samburu?

The reserve provides a shelter for elephants as well as predators such as lions, leopards, and wild dogs. The Samburu birdlife is diverse, with over 450 species documented, including vulturine guinea fowl, lesser kestrel, and taita falcon.

One of the most intriguing reasons for wildlife and safari enthusiasts to visit Samburu is the presence of quasi-endemic species that have adapted to the drier and hillier circumstances. While Amboseli has large elephant herds and the Masai Mara has millions of wildebeest during the great migration, Samburu has the Special 5. (cousins to the world-famous Big 5).

Samburu Special 5

You’ve probably heard of the Big 5, but now meet the Samburu Special 5!

Giraffe gazelle or gerenuk

Gerenuk means ‘long necked’ in Samburu, and they certainly have absurdly long necks. They also have enormous ears in comparison to their little heads, making them incredibly adorable. Previously known as Waller’s gazelle, the Samburu people see them as modest creatures that are always prepared to help other gerenuks. They have incredibly powerful hind legs and can stand for lengthy periods of time while grazing branches that other antelope or giraffes are either small or too tall to reach.

Somalia ostrich 

Somali ostriches have grey-blue skin, whereas other ostrich species have pink necks and legs. During mating season, the males’ legs and necks glow a brilliant blue!

Grevy’s zebra

They are known as ‘imperial zebras’ because they can go five days without drinking – a godsend in dry weather. Unfortunately, human demand for their magnificent hides has resulted in their becoming the most endangered of all zebra species, since they are hunted for their skin.

Reticulated giraffe

These giraffes are easily identified by their large, ‘liver-colored’ rosettes, which contrast sharply with the lighter and smaller patches of their southern counterparts.

Beisa oryx

Male and female beisa oryx have scimitar-like horns that can grow to be about a metre / three feet long. During the rutting season, males may engage in intense horn wars to gain the favor of females; rarely, you will discover a male with only one horn, the other had broken off during a fight.

When is the Best Time to Visit Samburu?

Samburu is a year-round attraction due to the lack of highly heavy rainy seasons. The mid-year winter is milder and drier, and it corresponds with the prime safari season, which runs from around June to October. Because the animals will not migrate far from the Ewaso Ngiro River, one of the few sources of water, the dry circumstances make them easy to detect and observe.

Accommodation In

Samburu Nature Reserve

Because of its rocky outcrops and odd blend of Samburu and Arabian influences, the reserve boasts some of the most stunning accommodations in all of Kenya.

Sasaab camp

SaSaab Camp is a Moroccan-inspired tented camp located in Kenya’s Samburu National Reserve, a nature reserve well-known for its mix of classic savannah wildlife and some of northern Kenya’s more unique species. The lodge is set above the Uaso Nyiro River and overlooks the Samburu plains towards Mount Kenya. Go on wildlife drives in the morning, afternoon, and evening, as well as guided nature hikes along the river. Back at camp, relax on Moroccan-style couches before taking a dip in the main pool or your own private plunge pool.

Accommodation:

Sasaab Camp has nine large Moroccan-inspired tents, each with a spectacular outlook. Each tent features a bedroom and living space, a ceiling fan, a spacious en suite bathroom, wireless internet, and a private plunge pool.

Facilities

Relax by the main pool before enjoying a beauty treatment in the seclusion of your own tent. At the end of the day, sip sundowner beverages from a nearby rocky kopje, or relax and take in the views from the lodge’s high patio. The food at SaSaab Camp has a uniquely Moroccan flair and utilizes the best quality fresh ingredients, in keeping with the Moroccan concept. Meals are served in various parts of the mess tent or outside under a canopy of stars.

Saruni Samburu

Saruni Samburu, which adjoins the Samburu National Reserve and is the only lodge located in the picturesque highlands of the Kalama Conservancy. The lodge provides an unspoiled natural environment far from highways, buildings, and throngs of people. It is suitable for nature-loving families as well as romantic couples who wish to appreciate the northern Kenya bush in a comfortable, elegant setting. With an open-air cliff-top welcome and eating room that views down on an unending valley, the building immediately conjures North Africa.

It is embellished with brass and other artifacts and features a spectacular fire pit perched on the edge of a cliff. Go on morning and sunset wildlife drives in three nearby reserves to seek for classic African creatures. Spend the afternoon by the river with a picnic, or stroll with Samburu warriors through the Kalama highlands and rock art. After the day’s activities, unwind and rejuvenate at the spa overlooking the Kalama Conservancy, or swim in one of the two swimming pools with breathtaking views.

Saruni Samburu is a stunning resort stretched out at altitude with adequate distances between public facilities, rooms, spa, swimming pools, and reception – excellent for those wishing for privacy. Keep an eye out for shy and tiny Aders’ duiker (one of the world’s tiniest antelope), as well as monogamous couples of klipspringer antelope that reside amid the massive rocks.

Accommodation

Saruni Samburu offers 360-degree views of the stunning northern Kenyan terrain, and on a clear day, you can see Mount Kenya’s snow-covered top from your accommodation. This eco-friendly resort features luxurious villas that provide a secluded and pleasant wilderness retreat. The villas’ design is influenced by its raw, natural surroundings, and rustic materials such as local stone are incorporated into the decor.

Each property is unique and features revolutionary structural architecture – some even span multiple storeys. The big living spaces provide elegant comfort, and the en suite bathrooms have tubs, indoor showers, and outdoor showers with breathtaking views.

Facilities

A big swimming pool overlooks a watering hole frequented by elephant, giraffe, and zebra in the early and late afternoon. A second pool, farther up the cliff, is likewise surrounded by old rock and receives full-day sun. The quiet spa provides a chance for relaxation and pampering by combining traditional Samburu therapies with modern technology. The lodge has its own own airport, making it conveniently accessible by plane. A private hide is also available for interested photographers and birders. Families with children will appreciate the opportunity to visit an actual local hamlet as well as participate in animal tracking and other activities as part of the ‘Warriors’ program. There is also WiFi.

Dining

Meals in Saruni Samburu are always exciting because of the fusion of local and foreign flavors. The meal has a distinct Italian flavor, and vegans and specific dietary needs are easily accommodated.

Picnics for lunch and afternoon tea are also offered on request. Enjoy your evening meal on the veranda or, even better, beneath the stars. Al fresco bush meals are a fantastic way to soak up the ambience of an African evening, and the staff will lead you to a secluded area that they have chosen themselves.

Elephant Bedroom Camp

Elephant Bedroom Camp, located on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River in the heart of the Samburu National Reserve, provides a real African adventure in a comfortable tented environment. Stay in roomy tents placed on wooden decks, surrounded by stunning doum palms and other indigenous plants that attract a herd of elephants practically every day.

Explore the spectacular Samburu National Reserve on early morning and afternoon game drives, which are well recognized for lion and leopard sightings. Take a guided nature walk to get a closer look at the African bush. Interact with the local Samburu people, learn about their interesting culture, and be captivated by a traditional dance performance.

Accommodation:

Elephant Bedroom Camp is made up of spacious tented rooms that provide an intimate jungle experience. Your accommodation, decorated in a rustic African style, has all the facilities of a more modern camping spot, but with a sweeter and more personal atmosphere. Some of the tents have king-sized beds, while others only have queen-sized beds.

You’ll always have hot and cold running water, electricity, and calming herbal bath items to enjoy. Step out onto your private terrace to take in the riverbank views or cool off in the plunge pool.

Facilities

Relax at the camp’s lounge and dining room, which was meant to evoke the pioneering days of African safaris. This is the perfect location to unwind with a drink in hand while enjoying the sounds of the outdoors.

Dining

The dining room is decorated with brilliant safari colors and beautiful oil paintings. After a day in the wilderness, the design and gentle intimate lighting make a beautiful ambiance in which to enjoy supper. Al fresco breakfasts, 3-course lunches, and 4-course candle-lit gourmet evenings are served either indoors or outside under the star-studded African skies.

Set off early in the morning on a wildlife drive and have breakfast in a hidden area in the midst of the Kenyan countryside for a special treat.

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