The Ultimate Guide To Samburu National Reserve


 Location of Samburu National Reserve

The Ultimate Guide To Samburu National Reserve : Samburu National Reserve is located in the South eastern part of the Samburu Country formerly known as the Rift Valley Reserve of Kenya, Samburu national  reserve covering an area of 165 square kilometers is bordered by the Great Ewaso Ng’iro River in the south. This river separates Samburu national reserve from Buffalo Springs national park, from Nairobi the capital of Kenya the reserve lies in a distance of 345 kilometers.


Samburu national reserve is situated within an environmental zone V which is defined as an arid and semi-arid land with a moisture index of 42-57, this means the evaporation rate in Samburu national reserve is higher than the available moisture.

 In Samburu national reserve the days are usually hot and the nights are often cold, the annual mean rainfall in reserve is about 354mm and the mean temperatures vary between 18 -30 degrees.

 Samburu national reserve experiences two seasons that are wet season (November to April) and dry season (May to October).


Samburu national reserve is a home to a variety of wildlife  species including the Samburu Five Special (the rare northern species) u such as the Beisa Oryx, the Grevy Zebras, Somali Ostrich, Gerenuk, and Reticulated Giraffe. Samburu national reserve is a home to over 900 elephants, other animals calling the reserve their home include predators such as leopards, cheetahs and lions, African wild dogs, Impalas, Grant’s Gazelles, Dik Diks, Waterbucks, Warthogs, Olive Baboons, Hippo and the critically endangered Pancake Tortoise.

Samburu National Reserve is one two reserves where conservationists Joy and George Adamson raised the famous lioness Elsa, their story was told in the best-selling books and a ward-winning film “Born Free”.

Samburu national reserve is where the famous lioness Kamunyaka adopted an oryx baby.


Samburu national reserve is one of the remarkable birding sites in Kenya with over 400 bird species recorded to be in the reserve, bird population in the reserve include 5 vulnerable species that are African Darter, White-headed Vulture, Great Egret, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, and Martial Eagle and species of global conservation including Taita Falcon and Lesser Kestrel.

The Ultimate Guide To Samburu National Reserve
The Ultimate Guide To Samburu National Reserve

Other bird species found in Samburu national reserve include Sunbirds, Kingfishers, Bee-eaters, Hornbills, Woodpeckers, and many other birds of prey such as Lappet-faced Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Plam-nut Vulture, and Verreaux’s Eagle-owl among others.


Samburu national reserve is an incredible destination for tourists on a holiday in Africa, visiting the reserve will surely offer you a memorable safari experience in Kenya. Kenya Safari activities to do include

  1. Ride a Camel

Camel riding is breathtaking safari activity offered in the Samburu national reserve, this activity is done along the banks of Ewaso Ng’iro River which is the heart of the reserve. The river menders through the reserve, on its banks are filled with green pastures attracting hundreds of animals and bird species.

Camel riding is done with a help of a local guide and you will also ride through the nearby villages.

  1. Visit and mingle with the Samburu People

Visiting the Samburu people is one of the amazing ways of discovering the incredible and unique culture and traditions of the Samburu people living along the borders of the reserve, during your visit you will participate in chores around their homestead like milking goats, making traditional ornaments and goading cattle into thorn pens and learn more about their nomadic lifestyle.

  1. Discover the World’s Five Rare Species “the Samburu Special Five”

Samburu national reserve is famously known for hosting the Samburu Special Five species which are recognized as the world’s five rare species that is Grevy’s Zebra, Somali Ostrich, the Reticulated Giraffe, Gerenuk, and the Beisa Oryx.

The Samburu Special Five are easily encountered during game drives experience, the game drives are done on various route running through the reserve in a 4X4 wheel safari vehicle. On top of the Samburu Special Five, you will also encounter other animals such as lions, elephants, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas among others.

  1. Climb Mount Ol Lolokwe

Mount Ol Lolokwe is a sacred mountain of the Samburu people rising out of the arid desert lands of the north eastern Kenya neighboring Samburu national reserve, climbing Mount Ol Lolokwe takes about 5 to 7 hours of hiking and during this hike you will be rewarded with uninterrupted views of Samburu town and the reserve.

  1. Attend Limuget Ceremony

The Limuget ceremony is a propitious celebrations hosted by the Samburu people, this ceremony is hosted to celebrate warriors (morans) become elders, this celebration takes place once in every 7 years and it is celebrated by the morans, their families and friends as well as their friends.

 The Limuget Ceremony is a significant occasion in the Samburu culture.

  1. Discover the Singing Wells

Samburu national reserve is filled with singing wells, one may ask themselves how do the singing wells come to be. Every morning the community take hundred of cattle to the wells found in the reserve to drink water, the locals often dig up to water their troughs and call their animals with tunes recognized by animals as the family tune.

The local community also gathers at the wells to socialize and if you are lucky enough you will spot a wild animals congregating around the wells to drink the remaining water.

  1. Game Viewing

Game viewing is one of the best activities to do in Samburu national reserve, the reserve is a home to a variety of wildlife which is best encountered on game viewing experience done on game drives. On the game drives you will enjoy spotting animals such as lions, elephants, gazelles, buffaloes, waterbucks, cheetahs, Somali Ostrich, among others.

The Ultimate Guide To Samburu National Reserve
The Ultimate Guide To Samburu National Reserve

The best experience to do game drives in Samburu national reserve is during the morning game drive on which you will spot predators and early risers.

  1. Birding

Samburu national reserve is a birder’s paradise hosting over 400 bird species living in the semi-arid plains of the reserve, because of the huge bird population Samburu national reserve has been recognized as a great birding destination in Kenya.  Birding experience in this reserve offers an encounter with various species of birds such as Acacia tit, Bare-eyed thrush, African palm swift, Ashy cisticola, Black-bellied sunbird, Black-capped social weaver, Brown-tailed rock chat, Chestnut-headed sparrow lark, Chestnut weaver, Donaldson-Smith’s sparrow-weaver, Fischer’s starling, Golden pipit, Golden-breasted starling, Greater kestrel, Grey wren-warbler, Hunter’s sunbird, Lanner falcon, Mariqua sunbird, Northern brownbul, Palm-nut vulture, Pink-breasted lark, Pygmy batis, Red-bellied parrot, Red-necked falcon, Red-winged lark, Reichenow’s seedeater, Rosy-patched bush-shrike, Secretary bird, Singing bush lark, Somali bee-eater, Somali ostrich, Spotted palm-thrush, Von der Decken’s hornbill, Vulturine guineafowl, White-headed mousebird, Yellow-vented eremomela among others. In November to April, migratory bird species arrive in the reserve to join resident species.

  1. Samburu Cultural Tour

Samburu cultural tour offers a cultural visit to the Samburu community found along the borders of the reserve, this experience offer an opportunity to interact with Samburu people and learn more about their culture, purchase some traditional Samburu art pieces, souvenirs  and collectibles.


Samburu national reserve is situated in the Samburu county which experiences arid and semi-arid climate, Samburu national reserve can be visited all year round. However the best time to visit the reserve to maximize for safari experience greatly depends on the climate patterns of the equatorial Kenya. The reserve generally experiences day time temperatures range from a high of 32 degrees to a low of 29 degrees, night time temperatures range from a high of 19 degrees to a low of 16 degrees depending on the month your travel to Samburu.

 The best time to visit Samburu national reserve is during the dry season experienced from July to early October, in this period you will enjoy plenty of sunshine and blue sky with no rain. Also the vegetation cover reduces and most water sources dry, the animals congregate along the Ewaso Ng’iro River to feed and drink water.

 In the dry season it is easy to move around the reserve by road.


The Ultimate Guide To Samburu National Reserve : The top five and best accommodation facilities to use during your Kenya safari tour in Samburu national reserve include

  1. Samburu Intrepids Luxury Tented Camp

Samburu Intrepids Luxury Tented Camp is situated inside the reserve, this beautiful tented camp offers modern tents with uninterrupted views of the Ewaso Ng’iro river banks from your spacious rooms. The rooms are well furnished and have en-suite bathrooms with hot shower.

Staying at Samburu Intrepids Luxury Tented Camp offers you a close encounter wildlife calling Samburu national reserve a home such as leopards, elephants and the special five.

  1. Ashnil Samburu Camp

Ashnil Samburu Camp is a 5 star camp located just opposite the Samburu national reserve, the camp features comfortable guest rooms, a swimming pool and offers magnificent views of the Ewaso Ng’iro River.

The Ultimate Guide To Samburu National Reserve
Ashnil Samburu Camp
  1. Sentrim Samburu Lodge

 Sentrim Samburu Lodge is located inside Samburu national reserve, the lodge offers amazing views of the reserve and a bundle of wildlife as the quench their thirst from the banks of Ewaso Ng’iro River. Sentrim Samburu Lodge features 20 rooms and a family house, all rooms are equipped with a coffee machine and hot showers.

Other facilities at Sentrim Samburu Lodge include meeting rooms, swimming pools, and bar and restaurant.

  1. Elephant Watch Camp

 Elephant Watch Camp is situated on the edge of the Ewaso Ng’iro River inside Samburu national reserve, staying at this camp offers an encounter with a variety of animals grazing on the banks of the river.

  1. Samburu Serena Safari Lodge

 Samburu Serena Safari Lodge is located on the lush banks of the Ewaso Ng’iro River  sitting at an altitude of 70 meters, the lodge’s facilities depicts the robust nature of the Samburu Game reserve.

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