Samburu National Reserve | Background Info

This vast expanse of remote pristine wilderness measures 165 square kilometers in area and borders the Ewaso Ng'iro River to the south, which separates it from the Buffalo Springs National Reserve. Samburu Reserve is a unique wildlife conservation haven famous for an abundance of rare species of animals such as the Grevy Zebra, Somali Ostrich, Reticulated Giraffe, Gerenuk and the Beisa Oryx. The reserve is also home to a population of close to 900 Elephants. Large predators such as the Lion, Leopard and Cheetah are an important attraction (Kamunyak the famous Lioness that adapted a baby Oryx is a resident in the reserve). Samburu is infact one of the better locations in Kenya to spot Leopard. Wild dog sightings are also a common attraction to this unique protected area and Birdlife is abundant with over 450 recorded species.

Samburu Big Five

Known for more than just its big herds of elephant, prides of lion and leopard, Samburuland has its own ‘Special Five’ lurking in the dry bush: Grevy’s zebra, long-necked gerenuk, reticulated giraffe, Somali ostrich and Beisa oryx. Head out on a game drive in search of these unique creatures, some of which are found nowhere else in Africa, and explore the reserve.

Wild, rugged and enticingly empty (of tourists that is, not wildlife) Samburu National Reserve is a place of baked red earth, extraordinary vegetation and unsurpassed beauty. Cleaved in half by the Ewaso Nyiro river, there’s more water around than you might think, given the stark landscape, and the ribbons of green that hug the winding waterway attract elephant, buffalo and zebra. Look a little bit harder and you’ll find lion reposing in the shade of the golden tamarinds and leopard darting amongst the acacias. This is a desert wilderness that is absolutely worth discovering, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Experience Samburu National Reserve

Excellent Wilderness Destination

The Samburu National Reserve is an excellent option if you’ve been to Kenya before or are looking for more of an off-the-beaten-path destination that still has plenty of creature comforts. It's a very rewarding safari destination that offers unique experiences and excellent game viewing. There are direct flights from Nairobi’s domestic Wilson Airport and if you are coming from Lewa or Laikipia, then it is possible to do a road transfer (although it is fairly lengthy). Flying between destinations gives you more time on safari (tracking animals) and is also far less tiring than being driven.

Discerning Safari Destination

Samburu is considered a gem among discerning safari goers because it is relatively uncrowded. Unlike Amboseli, it attracts few self-driving visitors over weekends or during school holidays, it also never reaches the fever pitch of the Masai Mara during the Migration, when thousands arrive to view the spectacle (that is why we prefer to stay in private conservancies in the Mara). You may have to work harder to find sightings but, when you do, the reward is that much sweeter and you’re likely to have few other vehicles around you. The big cats are found here as are unusual species like gerenuk.

Samburu National Park lies in the north of Kenya, where the flat greenness of the rest of the country starts giving way to arid scrubland, kopjes and immense rocky outcrops, all centred on the meandering Ewaso Ngiro River. Far from being dull, this extraordinary landscape supports animals uniquely adapted to the drier, rockier conditions.

Wildlife Experience

The reserve is a haven for elephant and predators like lion, leopard and wild dog. The Samburu birdlife is abundant with over 450 recorded species like vulturine guineafowl, lesser kestrel and the taita falcon.

For animal and safari lovers, one of the biggest and most exciting reasons to visit Samburu are the quasi-endemic species found here that have adapted to the more arid and hillier conditions: - Gerenuk or giraffe gazelle, Somali ostrich, Grevy’s zebra, Reticulated giraffe and Beisa Oryx.

samburu national reserveImpala at the Samburu National Reserve