Samburu National Reserve


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All About Samburu National Reserve in Kenya

Samburu National Reserve is situated at the southeastern corner of Samburu District in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya. It is bordered to the south by Ewaso Nyiro River, which separates it from the Buffalo Springs National Reserve. The reserve covers an area of 165 Km² and is located around 345Km from Nairobi. The Samburu National reserve has as its backdrop the great table mountain Ololokwe. 

Samburu National reserve is rich in wildlife. It has its own special big five animals. We refer them to as rare northern specialist species. They include the Grevy Zebra, Somali Ostrich, Reticulated Giraffe, Gerenuk and the Beisa Oryx (Also referred as Samburu Special). 

The remote location of  Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba make them some of the least visited in game reserves Kenya. Being uncrowded also makes them among the most pleasant of the parks to visit. 

Buffalo Springs links to Samburu to the south crossing the Ewaso Ng’iro. It shares much of the same wildlife as Samburu but intriguingly. It is also home to the common zebra not found just over the bridge on the north side. There is a  crater in the park created in the Second World War. It has since become a clear water pool and is apparently safe to swim in.


Wildlife and Birds of Samburu in Kenya

The reserve is rich in wildlife with fame for abundance in rare northern specialist. Species such as the Grevy Zebra, Somali Ostrich, Reticulated Giraffe, Gerenuk and the Beisa Oryx (Also referred as Samburu Special). The reserve is also popular with a minimum of 900 elephants. Large predators such as the Lion are an important attraction. Kamunyak the Miracle Lioness that adapted the baby Oryx is a resident in the reserve. Wild dog sightings are also a common attraction to this unique protected area.

Birdlife is abundant with over 450 species. Lesser Kestrel and the Taita Falcon are species of global conservation concern and they both utilize the reserve.  Five species categorized as vulnerable have recorded in the reserve. They include African Darter, Great Egret, White-headed Vulture, Martial Eagle and the Yellow-billed Ox-pecker. Explore the reserve on our Kenya wildlife safaris.


Things to do in Samburu

Here are some of the exciting things to do while in Samburu National Reserve;

Discover the rare five species

In this reserve, a game drive’s highlight is spotting the rare five that are the Beisa oryx, the Somali ostrich, gerenuk, the reticulated giraffe and Grevy’s zebra. 


Ride a camel

Samburu’s lifeline is the Ewaso Nyiro River, which meanders through Samburu National Reserve, leaving a trail of lush pasture for the reserve’s thousands of species. Ride a camel along the banks of this river. A Samburu guide will guide the camel along the riverbank’s trail and into the local villages. Remember, the national camel derby takes place in Maralal, which is the main town in Samburu County. Participating the derby is another of the most exciting things to do in Samburu.


Discover the singing Wells (Samburu National Reserve)

A lot takes place in the Singing Wells of Samburu. When the Samburu take their thousands of livestock to these wells, they dig up to water the troughs, and call out their animals with tunes that the livestock recognize as the family tune. In addition to being a watering place, the Samburu also gather at the wells to socialize. Wild animals also stroll to the wells in the evening to enjoy what’s left of the water dug up during the day. You need to see this side of Samburu. As you consider unforgettable things to do in Samburu, find out where you will stay during your safari.


Experience the traditional culture of the Samburu people

Learn more about the fascinating culture of the Samburu when you visit a village in this county. Discover their nomadic way of life, and participate in activities around the homestead such as goading cattle into the pen, making traditional ornaments and milking goats.


Climb Mount Ol Lolokwe in Samburu National Reserve

Explore the magnificent Mt. Ol Lolokwe. The five or more hours’ hike will reward you with unprecedented views of the county while on a safari with us.


Attend Lmuget ceremony

The Samburu, just like the Maasai, host auspicious celebrations when a Samburu moran( warrior) becomes an elder. Known as lmuget, this ceremony takes place in about seven years, and it is celebrated by the families, the morans as well as their friends. You ought to visit Samburu when lmuget is about to take place.


Explore the major wildlife sanctuaries in the county

Samburu County is home to a rich diversity of wildlife and it has several wildlife sanctuaries that are a natural spectacle to explore. The main reserves of interest are the Shaba Springs, Samburu National Reserve and the Buffalo Springs. In these breath-taking reserves, you will experience the thrill of a game drive, which highlights five rare species of wildlife unique to Samburu. The rare five species are Gerenuk, Grevy’s Zebra, Somali Ostrich, Besia Oryx and the Somali Ostrich.


Best Time to visit Samburu National Reserve

The Samburu National Reserve has an arid and semi-arid climate characterized by hot, dry days and cold nights and with a moisture level between 42 and 57, this indicates that the evapotranspiration is more than the available moisture. The season of the long rains is from April to May, while the small rainy season runs from mid-October to mid-December, but usually the rains are concentrated in November; while the dry season runs from June to early October and January to March.
The long dry season from late June to October and the short dry season from December to March are the best times to travel to the reserve for wildlife observation. Samburu can be visited year-round.

Samburu National Reserve Gates

The National Reserve main gates include the following; Archers Gate, Uaso Gate, Wamba Gate and West Gate.

How to get to Samburu National Reserve by air or road

By Road:

Samburu is located 355km/220mi north of Nairobi. Self-drive to the reserve is an easy option and the driving time is about six hours. Driving from Nakuru NP is also an option. The distance is about 300km/190mi and the driving time is roughly five and a half hours.

By Air:

There are also daily scheduled flights from Nairobi to Samburu’s airstrip. Tour operators like Kichaka Tours usually take responsibility for organizing charter flights between parks as part of your tour package. Scheduled flights can be booked with the AirKenya or Safarilink domestic carriers.