Samburu is an untamable tourist gem found on the spectacular Rift Valley in Kenya.
Wild game, local warriors, and camels abide in this northern Kenya wilderness as vast grassy plains are interrupted by beautiful hills and dry river beds.
Samburu people refer to themselves as Loikop which loosely translates to ‘owners of the land’.
They are closely related to the Maasai, Rendile, Borana, and Turkana but they are semi-nomadic pastoralists who keep sheep, cattle, goats, and camels.
There are many game parks in this savage beauty: Samburu National Reserve, Shaba National Park, Buffalo Springs National Reserve, Bisanadi National Reserve, Mount Ngiro, Ndoro Mountains, Ol Donyo Lenkiyo, Loroki Forest and Kirisia Hills.
This wilderness stretches from the Ewaso Ngiro to the south of Lake Turkana and is bordered by Mount Kulal on the East.
- Maralal: Capital of Samburu and located 350km from Nairobi. Men trade their livestock and women sell colorful baskets and jewelry. The Maralal Camel Derby held mid-year attracts both Kenyans and tourists to this race.
- Baragoi: This is the main livestock market and is located 155km north of Maralal
- Archers Post: Lots of properties are found here as well as game reserves
- South Horr: Situated in a canyon between 2 extinct volcanoes -Mt. Nyiru and Mt. Porale
Things to do in Samburu
- Go shopping for souvenirs such as beaded jewelry, spears, and belts at Archers Post
- Watch the Samburu 5: Grevy’s zebra, Beisa oryx, the Somali ostrich, gerenuk and the reticulated giraffe
- Take a 5-hour hike up Mt. Ololokwe
- Visit Jomo Kenyatta’s home in Maralal where he stayed under house arrest before independence
- Watch racers compete on camelback at the Maralal Camel Derby
- Ride a camel along the banks of Ewaso Ngiro River with the help of a guide
- Visit local villages, learn their culture, tradition, and way of life
- Watch hundreds of bird species at Shaba National Reserve
Shaba National Reserve
Shaba National Reserve was established in 1968 and lies on the south of Samburu National Park.
It bears natural springs, isolated hills, desert, shrubs, wildlife and over 350 bird species.
Zebras, hyenas, leopards, elands, buffalos, and elands may be spotted here though not in large numbers.
Buffalo Springs National Reserve
This park is separated from Samburu National Reserve by Ewaso Ngiro River.
Because it lies on the leeward side of Mt. Kenya, its vegetation is less dense.
Nevertheless, it is devastatingly beautiful, never crowded and features an oasis of clear water on its western side.
Samburu National Reserve fees
This reserve is located alongside the Ewaso Nyiro River where wildlife flock from the surrounding savannah plains.
Elephants, leopards, cheetahs, lions and wild dogs with over 450 bird species give tourists superb game viewing.
- Adult non-resident: $70
- Child non-resident: $40
- Adult resident: KSh1000
- Adult citizen: KSh 500
Samburu National Reserve Map – how to get there
- Road: A road trip from Nairobi takes 6 hours but time will fly as you cross the equator and take in views of Mt. Kenya along the Isiolo-Marsabit Road. You will then enter through the Archer’s Gate at the park. You can also take the Nyahururu-Rumuruti-Maralal Road although it is impassable when it pours. Public transport is not recommended for road trips to Samburu if you’re planning to go beyond Maralal.
- Air: Take a flight to Samburu or Buffalo Springs from Wilson Airport in Nairobi, Laikipia or Nanyuki. This flight is usually 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Samburu National Reserve Lodges
- Samburu Desert Rose Lodge
- Samburu Sopa Lodge
- Samburu Saruni Lodge
- Samburu Serena Lodge
- Saasab Camp
- Intrepids Camp
- Bedouin Camp
- Larsens Tented Camp
- Kitich Camp
- Elephant Bedroom
- Elephant Watch Camp
Best time to visit Samburu
Samburu is very dry with average temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius during the hottest month from January to March and 25 degrees Celsius during the coldest months from April to August.
Rainfall is unpredictable and periods of drought are common. It’s most comfortable to go to Samburu from April to August when it’s cooler.
If Kenya’s Northern Frontier is on your wish list, check out the Samburu tour packages available or call an agent to customize your trip.
|Languages spoken||English, Swahili|
|Currency used||Kenya Shilling (KSh)|