Samburu national reserve Kenya is one the famous safari destinations in East Africa and a unique wildlife conservation famous for an abundance of rare species of animals such as the Samburu Special 5 such as the Grevy Zebra, Somali Ostrich, Reticulated Giraffe, Gerenuk and the Beisa Oryx. The reserve is also a home to

Samburu National reserve to over 900 elephants and large predators such as lions, leopards and cheetahs.

Samburu national reserve is famously known for the famous lioness Kamunyak the famous lioness that adapted a baby Oryx, the lioness is a resident of the reserve.

Samburu national reserve is a vast expanse of remote pristine wilderness measuring 165 square kilometers in area and borders the Ewaso Ngi’iro River to the South, the river separates it from the Buffalo Springs National Reserve.

Samburu national reserve as a wildlife eco system comprises of a number of conservancies and group ranches bordering the main reserve such as the Kalama Conservancy, West Gate Community Conservancy and Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy.

Location of Samburu national reserve

Samburu national reserve is situated at the southeastern corner of Samburu District in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya, the reserve is bordered by the South by the Ewaso Ng’iro River which separates it from the Buffalo Springs National Reserve.

From Nairobi City, it is approximately 345 kilometers to Samburu national reserve.

Visiting Samburu national reserve

Visitors to Samburu national reserve are rewarded with untouched wilderness, great wildlife densities and a safari experience away from some of the busier safari destination and national parks of Uganda. Visitors are also rewarded by striking volcanic mountains backdrop, the scattered Samburu semi-arid plains between red dust and shrubbery which are large granite rocky outcries, tall acacia and deep craters.

Wildlife in Samburu national reserve

Samburu national reserve is a haven for elephants, predators and the famous Special Five, the reserve is a perfect destination for wildlife and safari lovers and one of the biggest and most exciting reasons to visit Samburu national reserve are the quasi-endemic species found here that have adapted to the more arid and hillier conditions.

The Samburu Special Five include Gerenuk or giraffe gazelle, Somali Ostrich, Grevy’s Zebra, Reticulated giraffe and Beisa Oryx.

Animals in Samburu national reserve and recorded to be about 75 species and they include lions, elephant, rhinos, Africa Buffalo, leopards – The Big Five, cheetahs, Maasai Giraffe, reticulated giraffe/ Somali giraffe, Aardvark, Aardwolf, Africa Hare, Anetlope, Banded Mongoose among others.

A safari guide to Samburu national reserve 2022
Samburu Special Five

Birdlife in Samburu national reserve   

Samburu national reserve has over 450 bird species including 5 species which are categorized as vulnerable such as African darter, great Egret, white headed vulture, Martial Eagle and the yellow billed ox-pecker. Other bird species found in Samburu national reserve include 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.

Samburu Safari activities to do in Samburu national reserve

Game drives

Game drives are the major safari activity in Samburu national reserve offering visitors an opportunity to explore the arid plains of Samburu in the comfort of your tour vehicle. From the rooftop of your vehicle, you will have a chance to spot a number of animals such as lions, elephant, rhinos, Africa Buffalo, leopards – The Big Five, cheetahs, Maasai Giraffe, reticulated giraffe/ Somali giraffe, Aardvark, Aardwolf, Africa Hare, Anetlope, Banded Mongoose among others among others.

You will also enjoy sightings of the Samburu Special Five, the scenic landscape among others.

Hot Air Balloon Safaris

Hot air balloon safaris in Samburu national reserve offer aerial views of the reserve, this experience starts as early as 05:00 am where you join other visitors at the landing spot where you will watch the balloons being inflated.

Then set off and as you fly above sky, you will enjoy aerial views of  animals and landscapes, at the end of the experienced, guests are treated to Bush champagne breakfast.

Samburu Village Visit

Samburu Village visit takes visitors on a visit to the Samburu people who are one of the indigenous tribes in Kenya, these people leave in communities around the reserve and for years they have peacefully lived with nature.

During your visit, you will enjoy participating in the several activities such as dancing and songs, livestock rearing, interacting with the local people among other.

Other safari activities to so in Samburu national reserve include

  • Visiting the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary
  • Walking Safari and Nature Hikes
  • Horseback safaris
  • Bush Meals and sundowners

The best time for a safari in Samburu national reserve

The best time to visit Samburu national reserve for a Kenya safari is during dry season which starts in late May and ends in early October, however the reserve can be visited all year around. The dry season is the good time for a wildlife safari as it is time of the year when large concentrations of wildlife are found in the reserve due to availability of lush vegetation along Ewaso Nyiro river – the main source of water to the reserve and the nearby communities.

Where to stay in Samburu national reserve

There are several accommodation options in Samburu national reserve ranging from Budget, midrange to Luxury options. The accommodation options include

  • Samburu Sopa Lodge
  • Samburu Larsen’s Camo
  • Samburu Intrepids
  • Elephant Bedroom
  • Miibi Mingi Tented Lodge among others

How to access Samburu national reserve

By road: Samburu national reserve can be accessed by road from Nairobi through Isiolo on all-weather bitumen while Isiolo Archer’s post is graveled. From Isiolo to Archer’s Gate is a distance of 35 kilometers.

By Air:  There are scheduled domestic flights from Nairobi to Oryx Samburu airstrip.

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