Samburu National Reserve
Samburu National Reserve is situated at the southeastern corner of Samburu District in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya. It is bordered to the south by the Ewaso Nyiro River, which separates it from the Buffalo Springs National Reserve. The reserve covers an area of 165 Km² and is located around 345Km from Nairobi. The Samburu National Reserve was one of the two areas in which conservationists George Adamson and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the Lioness made famous in the best-selling book and award-winning movie Born Free. The Samburu National Reserve is also the home of Kamunyak, a lioness famous for adopting Oryx calves.
Samburu National Reserve can be entered via the Ngare Mare and Buffalo Springs gates. Once inside the reserve, there are two mountains visible: Koitogor and Ololokwe. Samburu National Reserve is very peaceful and attracts animals because of the Ewaso Ng’iro River meaning “brown water” and pronounced U-aa-so-Nyee-ro that runs through it and the mixture of acacia, riverine forest, thorn trees, and grassland vegetation. The Ewaso Ng’iro flows from the Kenyan highlands and empties into the famous Lorian Swamp. The natural serenity that is evident here is due to its distance from industry and the inaccessibility of the reserve for many years.
How to get there
By Road: Use your own vehicle, take public transportation, or book an open-topped minibus or safari van tour with a tour guide. The park is located about 345km (approx. 214 miles) from Nairobi, or about a five-hour drive. The roads and tracks to the park are all-weather. The reserve is accessible by road via Isiolo and Archer’s Post.
By Air: The Samburu National Reserve is accessible by air and there are daily flights from Nairobi to Samburu that you can book online. Travel time is about 45 minutes and the flights land at the park’s airstrip. Private charter flights are also allowed to use the airstrip.
Game Viewing: In the southern part of the park, you are guaranteed to see most of the Kenyan animals found in Samburu, namely: cheetahs, lions, leopards, impalas, buffalo, hippos, and dik-diks, as well as the native gerenuk, Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, and Beisa Oryx. You are guaranteed to see most animals during the dry season as they converge at the Usaso Nyiro River, their main source of water during the long dry weather. Elephants are also spotted during this time, and you can watch the Nile crocodiles swim in the river.
Bird Viewing: Samburu National Reserve is a paradise for bird lovers, with over 350 species of birds already recorded. You can enjoy a colorful assortment of birds such as vultures, kingfishers, marabous, bateleurs, guinea fowl, Somali ostriches, and many more.
Samburu Cultural Tours: Visit the local Samburu villages where you get a chance to interact with the colorful Samburu people in their traditional setting and experience their culture. This is a good opportunity to purchase traditional Samburu souvenirs, art, and collectibles.
Rules while at the Samburu National Reserve
- Respect the privacy of the wildlife, this is their habitat.
- Beware of the animals, they are wild and can be unpredictable.
- Don’t crowd the animals or make sudden noises or movements.
- Don’t feed the animals, it upsets their diet and leads to human dependence.
- Keep quiet. Noise disturbs the wildlife and may antagonize your fellow visitors.
What to carry
Sunglasses, Comfortable shoes, Waterproof shoes, Cotton clothing.
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