Samburu National Reserve Kenya

Welcome to Samburu National Reserve Kenya

Samburu Game Reserve lies 200 miles north of Nairobi in the hot and arid lowlands of the vast northern region of Kenya, just a few kilometers north of the equator, adjoining with Buffalo Springs and Shaba National Reserve. The Reserve was set up in the late 1960’s, where the flat greenness of the rest of the country starts giving way to arid scrubland, kopjes and immense rocky outcrops, all centered on the meandering Ewaso Ngiro River. Far from being dull, this extraordinary landscape supports animals uniquely adapted to the drier, rockier conditions. Samburu national reserve is a very fascinating Kenya safari destination for its unique wildlife which is abundant regardless of its desert like climate, Samburu national reserve is a magical reserve and one of the two regions where Joy Adamson raised and natured Elsa the lioness who story featured in the best – selling book and movie of Born Free which made the reserve more famous.

Samburu National Reserve is certainly in amongst the more well-known of Kenya’s parks and accordingly has become relatively busy over the years.  A great location as the surface waters dry off during the dry season, the game viewing is pretty much guaranteed. It is named after the Samburu people, who are nomadic pastoralists and whose traditional finery is among the most beautiful and delicate in the world. The Samburu still live in manyattas (villages) that can be moved to follow fresh grazing for their donkeys, goats and cattle. Camels where introduced during some point when trading Arabians arrived and, of course, these desert creatures thrive in this semi-desert environment. This is one of the few places in Africa where you can undertake a camel trek: set off to find wildlife, led by your capable and knowledgeable Samburu guides. Samburu national reserve never ceases to be a Kenya safari destination of wonders, which is a home to the renowned lioness by the names of Kamunyak loosely translated as the blessed one. Samburu national reserve is famous for being a home to Kamunyak a lioness which adopted 6 of orphaned Oryx calves and the reserve is of one of the gazeted areas in Kenya where the lioness Elsa was raised by conservationists Joy and George Adamson, the reserve  was the main focus in the best-selling book and award winning movie “Born Free”. Kamunyak fought for the lives of Oryx calves and at one point she fought off the predators to save the young orphans and this scene is portrayed in the film “the heart of a lioness”

Samburu National Reserve is made up of scrubby, open bush land and savanna, with the fringing riverine forest of acacias and large doum palms extending along the edge of the Ewaso Ngiro. This river is the heart of the park, as it not only makes it a beautiful and very photogenic park (contrasting against the bright and dry red soil), but also attracts a diversity of wildlife all year round. A range of animals come down to the river to drink and cool off in, and with crocodiles and hippos hiding in the shallow sand banks, surprises always await! Samburu National Reserve also has a particularly high elephant populations, and big families of them too! This is because the park is a migratory corridor that herds use daily, moving between Laikipia, Samburu and Mount Kenya for food, mating and minerals. The Mount Kenya Trust have seen huge success in its number of elephants using both the human-made and natural areas of the migratory corridor, dramatically reducing human-elephant conflict.

The reserve has a rich and diverse collection of wildlife with an abundance of the Samburu “Special Five” animals which includes the Grevy’s zebra, Somali Ostrich, Reticulated Giraffe, Gerenuk and the Beisa Oryx, animals which are mostly only spotted in Samburu and Northern Kenya and are not usually found in other typically visited reserves in Kenya such as Masai Mara or Amboseli. The most common mammals easily spotted are Elephant, present in large numbers across the reserve. The Samburu Laikipia Ecosystem is also home to Grant gazelles, Impalas, Waterbucks, Dik-diks, Hippos, Olive Baboons, Warthogs, Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs, Cape Buffalo, Hyenas, Elands, Jackals, Klipspringer, Mongooses and Bats. The reserve also has packs of Wild Dogs though sightings are infreqient as these animals have a rather large distribution area, within which they are constantly moving. Birdlife is abundant with over 450 species recorded.

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