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Samburu National Reserve

15 reviews

Safari suitability: 8/10

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Four of the big five here. Sadly, rhinos have been poached to extinction.

Found in: Kenya
Companies: 756
Tour packages: 322
Wildlife: 24 animals listed
Total area: 165 km² (65 mi²)
Year established: 1985
Anti-malarial: Not required

What YAS members think

Quality of wildlife:
Crowdedness:
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Most-visited month:
August
* Crowded parks have a lower rating

Highlights

  • Night game drives

  • Big four present in Samburu

  • Nature walks conducted by the local Masai / Samburu warriors

  • Events like Maralal camel derby and Safaricom Lewa marathon

  • Camping in open skies

About Samburu National Reserve

Located in Northern part of Kenya about 350 kilometers from the capital city Nairobi, Samburu National Reserve has an area of 165 km² (103 miles²) and rises to an altitude of 800 m to 1230 m (2625 ft to 4035 ft) above sea level. The game reserve is home to a number of rare species such as Oryx Beisa, Grevy’s zebra, giraffe and gazelle. The reserve also has other animals such as the lion, leopards, elephants, cheetahs and the endangered black rhino. You can also find in the park more than 400 species of birds that include the Somali ostrich with a blue neck.

In the year 1948, Samburu National reserve was established as part of the vast Marsabit National Reserve under the decree of the national park. However, with the financial help from Elsa Trust, Samburu Game Reserve was formed in 1962. The park is famous for its richness in flora and fauna because of its semi arid climatic conditions.

Today, the reserve has a minimum of 900 elephants, 450 recorded bird species, wild dogs, the three big cats—lion, cheetah and leopard—as well as buffaloes and hippos.

Samburu National reserve provides an amazing experience for various activities such as day and night game drives, nature walks conducted by the local Masai / Samburu warriors, events like Maralal camel derby, camping in open skies, swimming either in the lodges amongst other many fascinating activities.

When is the best time to visit Samburu National Reserve?

With its peaceful atmosphere and the authentic wilderness experience, Samburu National reserve can be visited at any time of the year.

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"The Samburu Special Five"
Safari tour operator
Kenya Kenya
312 kudus
Reviews (4)
Visited: Jan. 2020 Reviewed: Jan. 07, 2021 Submitted in:

Samburu National Reserve is one of the safari destinations in Kenya that is rarely visited. The National Reserve is located on the banks of Ewaso Nyiro River which supply enough water to Wildlife that Inhabits here. The Rare Species that dominate Samburu National Reserve and we term them as the Samburu Special Five. They are the Reticulated Giraffe, Beisa Oryx, Masai Ostrich, Gerenuk, and Grevy's Zebra. Samburu National Reserve also hosts a great number of wildlife species including Lions, Elephants, African Buffalo, Leopard, Crocodiles, Elands, Wild Dog among others. Accommodation in Samburu Ranges from budget option to luxury accommodation and one can choose where to stay depending on the budget..., Our recommendation is to choose the accommodation that is located inside the Samburu National Reserve and you will really enjoy a great game drive. "Zuru Samburu National Reserve"

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By: A.H.S
Safari tour operator
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Jan. 2020
Reviewed: Jan. 07, 2021

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"Adventure in Samburu Kenya"
Safari tour operator
Kenya Kenya
962 kudus
Reviews (8)
Visited: Aug. 2019 Reviewed: Oct. 15, 2019

From the capital city (Nairobi) it is quite a distance but its worth it. With Samburu being a semi-arid area you wouldn't expect much but once you get there you'll be amazed. Among the big five, the only animal you'll not find there is the rhino but the rest do exist. One amazing sight in Samburu National Reserve is the Grevy's zebra which is really beautiful followed by the reticulated giraffes. While there, you can have a bush-breakfast or dinner beside the river and sunsets are exceptional. A 4x4 vehicle is the ideal means of transport to this destination.

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9People gave this
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Safari tour operator
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Aug. 2019
Reviewed: Oct. 15, 2019

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"What an awesome place!!"
Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
66 kudus
Reviews (7)
Visited: Dec. 2018 Reviewed: Sep. 05, 2019

Samburu Game Reserve is an awesome place to be because of its own uniqueness of being home of the special five namely the long necked gerenuk, reticulated giraffe, beisa oryx, grevy zebra and somali ostrich. My family had a fantastic safari in Samburu Game Reserve and we shall visit this place again soon!

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Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Dec. 2018
Reviewed: Sep. 05, 2019

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"Unique and a picturesque reserve in Kenya"
Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
48 kudus
Reviews (4)
Visited: Jul. 2018 Reviewed: Nov. 23, 2018

Travel north to the semi-desert region of Kenya visiting Samburu National Reserve which is unique with rare animal species not seen in other animal reserves/parks. The scenery is amazing as well as exciting cultural trips to local villages, you are never disappointed by these reserve!

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Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Jul. 2018
Reviewed: Nov. 23, 2018

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"Camping along Ewaso Nyiro River, Samburu National Reserve"
Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
102 kudus
Reviews (2)
Visited: Mar. 2013 Reviewed: Aug. 04, 2017

Samburu National Reserve is the most scenic park in Kenya. You will find wildlife only found in the north. These are the special five, which are the: gerenuk, baisy oryx, reticulated giraffe, grevy zebra and somali ostrich. The magnificent landscape that offers breathtaking views of the park and surrounding hills and mountains. The park is birdwatcher's haven with over 400 species of birds.

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11People gave this
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Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Mar. 2013
Reviewed: Aug. 04, 2017

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"Magical Samburu"
Safari tour operator
Kenya Kenya
32 kudus
Reviews (2)
Visited: Aug. 2016 Reviewed: Mar. 10, 2017

Samburu National is approximately 360 km from Nairobi. It derives its name from the nomadic Samburu people who live in the area. We had our game drive in the evening and we were lucky to spot the big five and some of Samburu special five like reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, beisa oryx and dik diks. We saw Ewaso Nyiro river which cuts through the reserve. We had a chance also to visit locals who are amazing.

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Safari tour operator
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Aug. 2016
Reviewed: Mar. 10, 2017

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"Where nature defies itself"
Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
182 kudus
Reviews (4)
Visited: Aug. 2016 Reviewed: Aug. 17, 2016

Samburu national reserve is the a representation of nature and wildlife at its primeval best! This park offers a wildlife viewing experience unlike no other. The scenery is exceptional and only gets better with the presence of the breathtaking river and pyramidal-looking hills. The area is one of the least-explored in Kenya and hence, very little human interference to the ecology and the wildlife. Here you get to see the special five only found in this area. We were fortunate to see all of them. The most elusive of them is the male somali ostrich and Grevy's zebra. It was breathtaking watching a family of 4 cheetahs take down an impala as well as two female lions feeding on a waterbuck. This is a must-visit reserve while in Kenya.

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11People gave this
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Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Aug. 2016
Reviewed: Aug. 17, 2016

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"Samburu--Feels like stepping back in time"
Safari enthusiast
United States United States
50 kudus
Photos (0)
Reviews (4)
Visited: Jul. 2015 Reviewed: Aug. 12, 2015

Samburu was such a memorable part of our 15 day Kenya/Uganda safari because of its remote location, lack of other tourists, authentic feel due to the proximity of the Samburu tribes, and access to wildlife. We stayed 2 nights, but should have stayed another one or two nights to maximize the experience. We loved seeing the special animals that do not live in the other parks like the reticulated giraffe (my favorite due to its beautiful pattern), Grevy Zebra, and Oryx. We did not see the Somali Ostrich, but many live in the park.

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12People gave this
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Safari enthusiast
United States United States
Visited: Jul. 2015
Reviewed: Aug. 12, 2015

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"Kenya’s northern frontier - wild and rugged, Samburu Game Reserve"
Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
200 kudus
Reviews (6)
Visited: Jan. 2015 Reviewed: Aug. 03, 2015

The beautiful and rugged Samburu Game Reserve is one of the protected areas in northern Kenya which is a home to animal species found only on the north of equator. i.e reticulated giraffe, Grevy zebras and Beisy Oryx among others This Game Reserve is not particularly well-known to many thus not being too crowded

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12People gave this
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Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Jan. 2015
Reviewed: Aug. 03, 2015

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"Spectacular Rugged Samburu"
Travel writer
Jordan Jordan
59 kudus
Reviews (4)
Visited: Apr. 2015 Reviewed: Apr. 22, 2015

The name Samburu is of Masai origin, a ‘samburr’ is a traditional leather bag the Masai use for carrying honey and milk. This region is characterized by vast, open landscapes, dried riverbeds (depending on the season of the year) and its red volcanic soil. Rock outcroppings contrast against the dense woodland vegetation along the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River, the river that gives life to the reserve. The area is home to the Samburu tribe, who are ‘cousins’ to the Masai people with their own distinct cultural traditions.

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By: N/A
Travel writer
Jordan Jordan
Visited: Apr. 2015
Reviewed: Apr. 22, 2015

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Driving to Samburu from Nairobi

If you are arriving in Nairobi, the drive from the interational airport is about seven hours, in normal conditions.

Domestic flights to Samburu

Direct flights from Nairobi Wilson Airport are also offered daily and are roughly 50 minutes in duration. Safarilink and Air Kenya are two domestic airlines that provide direct flights. 

The following airlines travel to Samburu National Reserve


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Regional services within Kenya. At Airkenya safety and security are of paramount importance. As one of Africas leading aviation companies Airkenya aspires to reach new heights of service delivery. At Airkenya our diverse operations are looked into with eagle eyes. Our aircraft are thoroughly inspected by highly trained engineers to ensure our passengers enjoy consistently smooth safe flights. Our excellent maintenance facilities have been approved by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority and the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority in accordance with international airworthiness safety standards. This together with our dedicated ground team has secured Airkenya an impressive track record for safety. Visit website

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Mombasa Air Safari is a Kenya coast scheduled airline. MOMBASA AIR SAFARI has been based at Mombasa's Moi International Airport since 1974. Our offices at Mombasa and Diani Beach Ukunda Airport are open during normal business hours. Our agent in Malindi Southern Sky Safaris have offices in the centre of Malindi. Our fleet consists of five aircraft with a seat capacity exceeding 100 seats. We have our own maintenance capability based at Moi International Airport Mombasa. Visit website

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Samburu map