Samburu National Reserve

Samburu National Reserve

Samburu National Reserve

Samburu National Reserve is one of the greatest wildlife in Africa, a home to rare and unique northern special five species such as Somalia Ostrich, Beisa, Oryx, Gravy zebra, Reticulated giraffe and gerenuk, this is due to rugged region unfold awe inspiring safari experience. The area is a riverine forest and semi-arid ecosystem creating the scenic landscape of the Samburu National Reserve. The reserve is a vast expanse of remote pristine wilderness inhabited by haven of wildlife, located in the North of Laikipia in Samburu county one of the less reached regions in Kenya, to note this reserve act as an authentic wilderness experience.

Sambura arid terrain features with peaceful northern Kenya’s biggest river known as Ewaso Nyiro. That quenches the thirst of the abundant wildlife which are inhabits to the reserve. For this case the sambura people were lured to this area due to the reliability of this water source within the reserve that provides water for their herds. Note, river Ewaso Nyiro supplies through Samburu National Park, Buffalo Springs National Reserve in south and Shaba National Reserve.

Above all, the reserve attracts diversity of animals and this is because of the Ewaso Ng’iro river ‘’meaning brown water’’ that runs through it and the mixture of acacia, thorn trees, riverine forest and grassland vegetation. This is a river that provides a perfect game viewing in the reserve teeming with herds of elephants, antelopes, gazelles, zebras, giraffes, leopards, Oryx, Somali ostriches, gerenuk, Gravy’s zebras, Reticulated giraffes, great cat sightings of Lion, Leopard and Cheetah, abundance of monkeys, crocodile and variety of bird life among others.

Due to its pristine wilderness, become one of the two areas in which prominent George and joy Adamson conservationists raised Elsa the Lioness thus made it a bestselling book on African tourism. It is also known as a home of Kamunyak and lioness famous for adopting Oryx calves. However, this game reserve lies on the banks of the Ewaso Ng’iro river in Kenya, on an area of about 165square kilometers of ecosystem and was established in 1985 as a national reserve.

Samburu National Reserve hosts a wide variety of animals and bird life which attracts millions of visitor who tend to visit the reserve on their African safari and Kenya’s northern plains can be seen in abundance here, including gerenuk, Oryx, Gravy’s Zebra and Reticulated giraffe, all the three big cats, African leopard, lions, cheetah can also be sighted here, as well as cape buffalo, elephants and hippopotamus. Other animals to see in the park include warthogs, Grant’s gazelle, Olive baboon, Kirk’s dik-dik, waterbuck and Impala, number of black rhinoceros has been re-introduced into the reserve after an absence of 25 years due to heavy poaching thus rewarding it has an excellent game viewing.

The reserve is also a birding tourist destination with over 350 species of birds which can be spotted and some of species include; grey-headed kingfisher, bee-eaters, Marabou stork, bateleur, Verreaux’s eagle, yellow-necked spur fowl, Vultures, secretary bird, superb starling, lilac-breasted roller, northern red-billed hornbill, yellow-billed hornbill, palm-nut vulture among others which can make your birding tour admirable.

Samburu national reserve is one of the smallest Kenya safari reserve surrounded with communities of Borana, Rendiles and dominant Sambura tribe who herds their cattle in the reserve, this is a clan of the maasai who live around the park, their culture and norms is quite differ to other communities.

Samburu National Reserve Attractions

River Ewaso Nyiro: This is one of Kenya’s biggest river and a supportive water source in Samburu’s wildlife, magnificent riverine forest as it flows north to east across to southeast through Somalia to connect river Jubba.River Ewaso Nyiro is a shelter to huge numbers of Nile crocodile and best rewardable point for game viewing as variety of mammals visit the river to drink water.

Big three cats: The reserve is a popular home to three big cats that is leopards, lions and cheetahs which make up Samburu to be a true safari wilderness. They are best spotted along banks of river Ewaso Nyiro linking for water.

Samburu Culture: This is a safari destination where you can go for a visit of wildlife and end up visiting this interesting Samburu culture and get interacted with their beautiful culture and norms. The Samburu people are best known as cattle gather and they use camels as their means of transport, on tourist visit you can experience the ride. This is a true African traditional culture, their unique way of dress up, painting their faces with striking patterns so as to accentuate their beautiful facial features. Thus admiring many tourists who visit the reserve, note Samburu means butterfly.

Camelback Rides: This is quite awesome experience on African safaris as you get to enjoy experience of riding camels in a breathtaking wilderness of Samburu national reserve. It looks to be traditional but the easiest way of adventuring the reserve which allows getting closer to the mammal in the reserve.

Samburu National Reserve

Samburu Special Five: Samburu national reserve is popularly known for its special fives which are rarely seen in other African safaris and in here are best spotted during game drives and nature walks such as reticulated giraffes, gerenuk, Somali Ostrich, Grey Zebra and Beisa Oryx. These species are seen in open savannah grassland and riverine forests.

Riverine forest: The area within the reserve looks to be greenish and with interesting cool breeze which attracts number of bird species which can be seen on branches of the tree singing such bird species to encounter are Bateleur, Vulturine Guinea fowl, yellow-necked spurfowl, sunbird, bee-eaters, Marabou stork, tawny eagle, Verreaux’s eagle among the rest.

Mount Ololokwe and Mount Koitar: These mounts lie in the middle of the reserve, making the park more interesting and many of small animals are seen resting on them, the view is rewarding and photography is quite memorable.

Other tourist attractions include; the scenery of the reserve, Reteti Elephant and Elephant watch camp.

 Samburu National Reserve Activities

Below is the splendid experience to be done by the tourist’s visit to Sambura national reserve as follows;

Game Drives: Game drives are the exceptional safari activity which is best done early morning when animals are still active and can be the right time to search for their meals while full day game drives is the best way of experiencing on how the wildlife survive ,feed and resting. These are some of wildlife species to be adventured and Ewaso Nyiro river is the best spotting areas in the reserve such species are ;the special fives Beisa Oryx ,Somalia Ostrich , Gravy’s Zebra ,Reticulated giraffe and gerenuk .Other  species include elephants ,leopards ,lion and many more. We advise travelers to always use 4×4 wheel safari vehicle and always hire a guide for your game drive experience in Sambura.

Samburu National Reserve
Samburu National Reserve

Bush Breakfast: Samburu national reserve offers a great memorable experience as you can be able to get close sightseeing of wildlife roaming the park while enjoying your marvelous breakfast or meal in the wilderness of Samburu.

Camel Ride Safari: This is a unique traditional way of touring the park has you get on the back of the camel riding through Samburu wilderness. Thus giving you an opportunity to enjoy the park’s environment in beautiful scenery and a home of large number of elephants with other species.

Mount biking: This is a thrilling activity also done in Samburu national reserve which involves using bikes to explore the park while getting rewarded with intoxicating views of the numerous animals, vegetation, bird watching as well as tracking big cats.

Bird Watching: Samburu national reserve is a home to over 350 species of birds making a birding paradise and some of the species to be sighted include yellow-necked spur fowl, yellow-billed hornbill, palm-nut vulture, grey-headed Kingfisher, bee-eaters, Marabou stork, Vulturine Guinea fowl, Secretary bird, Bateleur, sunbirds, lilac-breasted roller all these bird species can be encountered on tourist visit to the park thus making it amazing experience in life time.

Other activities to engage in Samburu national reserve include; culture tour, walking safari, tracking big cats, photography.

Best Time to Visit

The park is located in remote area of semi-arid climate and is best visited from December to March and late March to May within this period of the year the reserve receives a little rainfall and roads can be passable and thus giving clear game viewing in the park.


Sambura national reserve can be easily accessed either by Road or by Car.

By Road: From Nairobi estimates 300 square kilometers in driving hour takes 5 hours to reach the main destination.

By Air: There is daily scheduled flights from Wilson Airport to Sambura Airstrip.

Accommodations in Reserve

On your safari to Samburu national reserve a traveler can sleep in unique rewardable accommodation lodges and comfortable campsite such as Sasaab Lodge, Sarova Shaba Game lodge, Sarara camp, Sasaab camp, Elephants watch camp, Samburu Sopa lodge among others.   

On your next safari to Kenya destination, try to visit Samburu National Reserve a place worth a visit.

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