Samburu National Reserve Kenya


Samburu National Reserve is situated in Samburu County, on the banks of Ewaso Nyiro River, which separates it from Buffalo Springs National Reserve. Ewaso Nyiro river is also a jewel in the Samburu Ecosystem. In the dry season, the river attracts a large number of animals. This river is also a lifeline for the Samburu, Somali and Borana people that stay close to the reserves. Although this massive river flows through the national reserve with no impedance, the flow may stop during extreme drought. In case this occurs, wildlife and the Samburu tribe depend on the Isiolo River that the reserve shares with the neighboring Buffalo Springs National Reserve.
The reserve is located in an area once known as the Northern frontier district and has derived its name from the Samburu people of Kenya, who have lived in that area for many years. It covers an area of 165 square kilometers, and the altitude ranges from 800 to 1230 meters above sea level. Nairobi is approximately 350 kilometers away. Therefore, it can be accessed either by road (5 hours drive) or by air (45 minutes flight).

Samburu National Reserve can be accessed using 3 gates; Archer’s gate, Ewaso gate, and West gate.

Samburu National Reserve is famously known as the home of Kamunyak (a lion famous for adopting oryx calves). It is also one of the areas in which conservationists George and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the Lioness. The reserve is unique because it hosts rare species of animals commonly known as the special five, namely, long-necked gerenuk, reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, and the Beisa Oryx.

The reserve is also rich in other wildlife. It hosts predators such as the Lion, Leopard Cheetahs, leopards, and lions. In some cases, sightings of wild dogs do happen though this is rare. Over 365 species of birds have been recorded in the Samburu National Reserve. Birds unique to the arid northern bush country are increased by a number of riverine forest species. You may be able to spot species that are categorized as vulnerable. These include the Great Egret, the African Darter, the Martial Eagle, White-headed Vulture, and the Yellow-billed Ox-pecker.
The climate in this ecosystem is classified as arid and semi-arid, with a climate moisture index of 42 to 57, which indicates that the available moisture is less than evapotranspiration. Days here are extremely hot, while the nights are cool. The dry season starts in late May and goes up to early October. When it’s dry, a large concentration of wildlife is found in the reserve. This is due to the availability of lush vegetation growing along the Ewaso Nyiro River, which is the main water source for the reserve and the nearby Samburu communities. Long rains fall between March and May, while short rains fall between mid-October to December. July through October and January through March are mainly hot and dry.
Activities offered within the reserve include:
Game viewing – Explorer Kenya Tours & Travel offers exclusive game viewing activities that can be arranged in the reserve. We schedule game drives each day in the morning and afternoon or full-day game drives.
Bush Breakfast and sundowners – We can also make special arrangements, such as bush breakfast after an early morning game drive before returning to camp to escape the mid-day heat.
Bird viewing – You will have an opportunity to spot vulturine guineafowl, red-and-yellow barbet, eastern yellow-billed hornbill, banded warbler, and fire-fronted bishop, to name a few. A hearty picnic lunch in the bush can be arranged as part of this exciting activity.
Guided nature walks – A naturalist will explain to you flora and fauna, as well as the geologic and human history of the reserve, as you enjoy your walk.
Samburu cultural tours, talks, and dances- You will have an opportunity to interact with the community and learn more about their culture and ways of life.

Hotels in the Samburu National Reserve include the Samburu Sopa Lodge, Elephant Bedroom Camp, Larsens Tented Camp, Samburu Game Lodge, Samburu Intrepids Camp,