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One of the relatively smaller and quieter parks of Kenya, Samburu National Park lies in the Samburu County, covering an area of about 164sq. km. The Park was inaccessible for a number of years, which has helped it to retain the sense of serenity that the reserve is often associated with. The home of the Samburu tribes, the Park is named in their honor. The main lifeline of the region, the Ewaso Ng’iro River flows south of the Park and separates it from the Buffalo Springs National Reserve. The otherwise arid area is covered with thick riverine forests and doum palm tree, besides the usual savannah types of acacia and thorn trees
The famous ‘Elsa’ lioness from the book and movie ‘Born Free’ was raised here by conservationists George and Joy Adamson.
Kamunyak, the miracle Lioness who adopted 6 Oryx calves also lived in Samburu National Reserve. She fought off predators who would try to eat the calves but eventually starved herself since they could not hunt for her like real cubs. She was last sighted in 2004. The documentary “Heart of a Lioness” was shown on BBC, Animal Planet and Discovery Channel.
How to reach
Samburu is accessible from Nairobi via road and air. Nairobi is about 345km away from the Park and well connected to major cities of the world.
Things to do
Samburu offers an enchanting mix of the arid landscape and thick forests in a comparatively smaller area which is highly suitable for quick safaris and increased chances of game viewing. Safaris are the best way to explore the wildlife and avian species of the Park. The animals tend to converge around the water bodies and the river and its streams make sightings of wildlife easier. Wild dogs are a common and unique attraction of this reserve.
Due to its varied landscape, Samburu is home to bush country bird species as well as those that prefer forests. Many endangered / vulnerable species like Lesser Kestrel, Taita Falcon, African Darter, Great Egret, White-headed Vulture, Martial Eagle, and Yellow-billed Ox-pecker. The blue-skinned Somali Ostrich can be seen here along with the many other smaller bird species that live in the forests.
Meet the Samburu people
The Samburu tribes are closely related to the Masai people and reside in the villages around the area. Visiting and interacting with the tribes is a great way of understanding their traditions and cuisine. You can also purchase Samburu craft souvenirs and beaded jewellery as tokens of remembrance.
Things to do nearby
The Buffalo Springs Reserve is just adjoining the Samburu Reserve only separated by the Ewaso Nyiro River. Together the Samburu National Reserve, the Buffalo Springs Reserve, and the Shaba National Reserve form a unique ecosystem of dry arid lands dotted with green oasis and the forests adjoining the Ewaso Nyiro River. Not being as famous as the Masai Mara or the other parks, means you can avoid the crowding of tourists and witness wildlife up-close and personal.
Some of the other Kenyan national parks, such as the Masai Mara Reserve, Ol Pejeta Conservancyand Lake Nakuru are not too far away. Besides, you can also explore Nairobi and its multiple tourist attractions.
Day 1 – Arrive at the Park and after a hot meal, we start with the first safari into the Park area. Get awed and mesmerized with the close and quiet encounters with the thriving wildlife here before heading back to the lodge for a quiet night.
Day 2 – We begin early and catch the inhabitants of the Park whilst they still wake up. Post-lunch we continue our safari ride and quest for great wildlife photographs and encounters.
Day 3 – We spend the morning in the safari, however, post-lunch we head off for the cultural tour of the Samburu tribes and villages. Enjoy a quiet dinner before retiring for the night.
Day 4 – The last safari ride of this trip is undertaken today early morning. Post lunch you may choose to visit the surrounding attractions or proceed with your onward journey.
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