Samburu National Reserve
Safari suitability: 8/10Find your tour
Four of the big five here. Sadly, rhinos have been poached to extinction.
What YAS members think
- 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, the rare reticulated giraffe, 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?
Samburu National Reserve is privy to the same weather patterns that influence much of eastern Africa. The dry season generally runs June through October and January into March. November (and sometimes December) can see short rains but travel is generally still very good during these months. April and May, and sometimes a bit on either side of these two months, are the heavy rains period. Travel during this time is still possible, with lodging and transportation costs often reduced. Travelers may wish to add a few extra days during the rainy seasons, to help ensure maximum game drives are attained.
So, in general, with its peaceful atmosphere and the authentic wilderness experience, Samburu National reserve can be visited at any time of the year.
As I mentioned in my last review of the trip to Buffalo Springs National Reserve, the Samburu National Reserve is just next to it as they are divided by River Ewaso Nyiro, which means brown water, making these reserves sisters. In Samburu National Reserve my friends and I could not believe all the wonders that were associated with this place. It is the very place where a baby Oryx was adopted by a lioness and where Elsa the lion who was featured in the Born Free movie was raised, making it news all over the world. With this in mind, we started our game drive to see this awesome place as our mouths were half way open almost half the drive. Personally, I had to be convinced that the log or rock I thought I saw was a crocodile. In the National Reserve, we also saw many other eye-catching animals including the great big five; elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo. We also saw multiple birds including the Masai ostrich among other beautiful and rare species of birds. I was particularly happy to see the Samburu people within and around the reserve where there is this incredible view of Ololokwe and Koitogor mountains. These people look more or less like the Masai people, making it difficult for a first-timer to notice any difference. I got to learn a bit about their culture as we interacted and got to know each other a little better. They are actually the people who camped alongside us at night making it feel even safer as we did not want to spend the night in the lodges, just so we could feel the thrill for this adventure. This is a place I would recommend to anyone planning on visiting Kenya. I loved it as it made me feel free and connected to the nature when on the safari.
Samburu National Reserve stands out to be my most favorite destination of choice in Kenya. Being my 10th time to visit the park, every safari comes along with a different experience. I highly recommend Samburu.
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"
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
Also flies to:
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
Also flies to: