Samburu National Reserve

Samburu National Reserve is set in the banks of Ewaso Ng’iro River in Samburu County, Rift Valley Kenya. It is 350 km from Nairobi, Kenya’s Capital.

Close to it is the Buffalo Springs National Reserve in Isiolo County and they are separated by Ewaso Ng’iro River.

This region is semi-arid and Ewaso Ng’iro River plays a pivotal role in supporting vegetation and animal lives. Ewaso Ng’iro River source is the Kenyan Highlands and empties in Lorian Swamp. It attracts large numbers of animals and supports a lot of vegetation such as acacia, thorn trees, grasslands, and riverine forest.

People who live here belong to the Samburu Community hence the name of the Reserve. They are popular for maintaining their traditional culture with less interference from other cultures similar to the Maasai Community.

Samburu National Reserve Attractions

Mount Longonot National Park Giraffe/Zebra

Why is the Reserve popular? It is popular for several reasons which include:-

  • It is one of the two areas where Elsa the Lioness in the movie Born Free was raised. The other area (of the two) is Meru National Park.
  • Elephant Watch Camp lies within the Park
  • And it is home for the lioness Kamunyak famous for adopting Oryx calves.
Lion Amboseli

Samburu National Reserve Animals/Wildlife

It has a wide variety of wildlife, large and small. They include Lion, Cheetah, African Leopard, Elephant, Cape buffalo, Reticulated Giraffe, Zebra, Hippopotamus, Gerenuk, Warthogs, Gazelle, Olive Baboon, Waterbuck, Impala, Kirk’s dik-dik, among others.

River Ewaso Ng’iro also has a large number of Nile Crocodiles.

A wide variety of birds is also found here. They include Kingfisher, Vultures, Eagle, Sunbird, hornbill, among others.

Samburu Weather and Climate

The area that this reserve lies is semi-arid. 

Temperatures range from 18C-30C.

The annual average rainfall is 354 mm and is mostly concentrated in November and April.

The Dry season is from May and spreads up to October.

Best Time to Visit Samburu National Reserve

The best time to Visit Samburu National Reserve is on the dry periods (May-October/December-March) when animals are seeking water and fresh vegetation along the Ewaso Ng’iro River.

Things to do in Samburu National Reserve

  • Game viewing-watch a wide variety of animals including the big cats
  • Bird watching-Over 350 species of birds
  • Cultural Visit to the neighbouring Samburu Community and have a taste of their culture-nomadic lifestyle
  • Nature walks

Travel Tips

These items must be in your items-to-carry list. They include drinking water, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, camera, binoculars, and guidebooks.

Samburu National Reserve Entrance Fees

Citizen: Adult KES 500
Residents: Adult KES 1,000
Non-resident: Adult $70, Child $40

How to get there

By Road-The Reserve is located 350 km from Nairobi via Isiolo. You can use your own vehicle or join a safari.

By Air-through the Samburu Airport, a 45-minutes flight.

Samburu National Reserve Hotels and Lodges

  • Elephant Watch Camp & safaris
  • Samburu Intrepids Tented Camps
  • Samburu Sopa Lodge
  • Sentrim Samburu Lodge
  • Ashnil Samburu Camp
  • Samburu Game Lodge
  • Sarova Shaba Game Lodge

Happy wildlife safari!

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