Samburu National Reserve

Samburu National Reserve is located roughly 350km from Nairobi. This unfenced savannah measures approximately 165sq. kilometers (approx. 65sq. miles) in size. Geographically, it is located in Samburu County. It is relatively small in size compared to other Kenyan parks, such as Tsavo or Masai Mara. It ranges in altitude from 800 to 1230m above sea level

The Ewaso Ng’iro river flows through doum palm groves and thick riverine forests, with one side being the Bufallo Springs National Reserve and the other side of the river the Samburu National Reserve. It provides water, without which the game in this arid region could not survive.

The Samburu National Reserve was one of the two areas in which conservationists George and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the Lioness made famous in the bestselling 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 Archer’s Post, Ngare Mare and Chokaa 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 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 industries and the inaccessibility of the reserve for many years.

There is a wide variety of animal and bird life seen at Samburu National Reserve. Several large game species common to Kenya’s northern plains can be found in abundance here, including the following dry-country fauna: gerenuk, Grevy’s zebra, oryx, reticulated giraffe and Somali ostrich. All three big cats known as the lions, cheetahs and leopards can also be found here, as well as the elephants, buffalos and hippos. Other mammals frequently seen in the park include olive baboons, warthogs, Grant’s gazelles, dik diks, impalas and waterbucks.

There are over 350 species of bird. These include grey-headed kingfishers, sunbirds, beeeaters, Marabou storks, tawny eagle, Verreaux eagle, Bateleur eagle, vulturine guineafowl, yellow-necked spurfowl, lilac breasted roller, secretary bird, superb starling, northern red-billed hornbill, yellow-billed hornbill and vultures, including the palm-nut vulture.

The river contains large numbers of crocodiles.

Samburu national reserve derives its name from the Samburu people of Kenya who have lived in the area for many years. The Samburu people occupy this area and they are pastoralists and nomads. They have resisted the tide and test of time and a rugged environment by clinging to their culture, very colorful with beads and hair dyed with ochre plus the whole body to be beautiful. Interesting ceremonies to a like initiation in adulthood are some of the cultural rites that tourist may witness on a meet-the-locals tour.

The reserve’s topography is mainly open savannah (grassland) with clusters of acacia trees, forest, thorn trees and grassland vegetation.

The climate in Samburu is hot and dry during the day, and cool during nights and evenings.

Average maximum temperatures are around 30°C with minimum temperatures of approximately 20°C. Most rain falls between March and May, with short rains falling from November to December, recording a total maximum rainfall of 350mm. July through October and January through March are mainly hot and dry.

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