Samburu National Reserve

Tailor-made safari holidays in Samburu National Reserve are really special. The more common elephants, lions and giraffes live alongside rarer species not found elsewhere in Africa.

The reserve is a semi-arid wilderness that receives fewer visitors than other parts of the country and as a result is a wonderful off-the-beaten-track safari destination. It is one of the most stunning reserves in Kenya for a safari and game viewing is exceptional. Accommodation options include excellent safari lodges and tented safari camps in Samburu suitable for most budgets. To discuss including a tailor-made Samburu National Reserve safari on your holiday in Kenya contact our team today.

About Samburu National Reserve

The acacia dotted plains of Samburu National Reserve are located to the north of Mount Kenya, covering 165 km² of semi-desert landscape that supports an abundance of wildlife. The vast panoramic vistas and distinctive sacred mountains make it arguably the most beautiful reserve in Kenya. 

The life source of Samburu National Reserve is the Ewaso Nyiro, a river that is the focal landmark of the park and vital for the survival of the wildlife and people who live here. The river is usually shallow enough for larger animals to walk across even though it is 100 metres wide in some parts. The banks of the river are lined by riverine forest and palms trees, whilst away from the banks, undulating grasslands roll into rocky outcrops. 

The variety of vegetation supports a diverse range of wildlife, with animals tending to gather near the riverbanks to be close to water in the dry season. Spotting wildlife is therefore easier during your safaris in Samburu National Reserve at this time. 

The enormous rock formations of Ololokwe and Koitogor rise starkly from the plains below. They are a distinguishing characteristic of northern Kenya’s landscape and hold important cultural significance for the local Samburu people.


Samburu National Reserve Wildlife

Samburu safaris are both exciting and rewarding, and with fewer visitors than many of the other reserves in Kenya, you’ll often have sightings all to yourself. The cool waters of the Ewaso Nyiro river are used by large herds of elephants to cool off under the African sun, and there is a healthy population of lions meaning sightings are common. 

Unique species to this dry northern region are particular highlights of a luxury Samburu safari. The ‘Samburu Special 5’ is a term given to a group of animals specially adapted to the harsher, drier conditions here, and they are reticulated giraffe, long-necked gerenuk, Beisa oryx, Somali ostrich and Grevy’s zebra. Lucky visitors can see some or all of these animals during game drives or safari walks through the reserve. 

The Samburu People 

There is more to Samburu National Reserve than wilderness and wildlife. The semi-nomadic people of the Samburu tribe are warriors and pastoralists, residing in the area bordering the reserve in small villages known as ‘manyattas’. They are a proud community of cattle farmers and spend their days with their grazing cattle. The Samburu people are close relatives of the Maasai, with similar cultures even down to the red colour of their garments. The Samburu tend to be more resplendent than their Maasai cousins because they decorate themselves in colourful beaded jewellery in a more glamorous fashion. Many of the lodge and camp staff are from local Samburu villages, so you’ll get to meet them on your safari holiday.

Best Places to Stay in Samburu National Reserve

There are a number of wonderful properties to choose from in and around Samburu National Reserve. Luxury Samburu safari lodges include Saruni Samburu and Sasaab among others and are popular amongst visitors to the reserve. For an authentic tented safari camp, Elephant Bedroom is superbly located right on the river and game viewing here is a real treat, even from your bed. 

Hand-picked Camps and Lodges

Talk with one of our experts today to discuss the best options for you.


Best Time to Visit Samburu National Reserve

Samburu National Reserve is a good year-round safari destination but game viewing is at its peak during the drier months between June to October. At this time vegetation is thinner and so wildlife tends to congregate nearer the water. 

During Kenya’s wet season in April and May the grass becomes longer and so animal spotting is harder and travel becomes more difficult.

Weather During the Year


How to Book a Samburu Safari Holiday

To discuss your Kenya safari holiday, Samburu safari packages and tailor-made itineraries, speak to one of our Kenya experts today by contacting us.