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Samburu National Reserve is located northeast of Laikipia in northern Kenya. It covers an area of just 165km² and its relatively small size means that your game drives focus on spotting wildlife, rather than driving long distances in search of animals.
The Ewaso Nyiro River flows through this semi-desert reserve, providing a source of water that is essential to the survival of the surrounding wildlife.
You may not expect to see many animals in such a stark, arid landscape, but Samburu is home to an abundance of wildlife, such as elephants, grant’s gazelles, impalas, waterbucks, dik diks, olive baboons and warthogs.
Lions, cheetahs and leopards are frequently spotted, whilst hippos and Nile crocodiles can be seen in the Ewaso Nyiro River.
The reserve attracts wildlife enthusiasts who want to see animals that aren’t found in Kenya's more well-known parks and reserves, such as the 'Samburu Five' - Somali ostrich, grevy’s zebra, gerenuk, reticulated giraffe and beisa oryx.
As well as excellent wildlife sightings a visit to the Samburu National Reserve also offers opportunities to enjoy activities such as bush walks, visits to local villages and guided treks up Mount Ol Lolokwe.
Samburu offers an incredible safari experience year round, although the best time to visit is during the dry season - from December to March or June to October – when you can expect clear skies and almost no rain. Water sources are limited during the dry months so animals congregate along the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River. You're likely to have some fantastic wildlife sightings with elephants, giraffes and impalas drinking from the remaining water, lions stalking their prey in the distance, and hippos and Nile crocodiles lurking in the muddy river.
Samburu is mostly dry and dusty, although there’s some vegetation in the areas near the river which becomes particularly lush and green during the rainy seasons, from late March to May, and late October to November.
Samburu National Reserve features in our Kenya Off The Beaten Track holiday and our Luxury Kenya Safari Holiday, however as all of our itineraries are tailor made, we can customise any Kenya holiday to include this incredible reserve. Due to its remote location, we recommend flying into Samburu. There are also light aircraft connections to other destinations such as the Masai Mara, making it easy to visit other parks and reserves on your luxury Kenya safari.
The best luxury Samburu accommodation is located in the private conservancies outside of the Samburu National Reserve. Our preferred camp is Saruni Samburu, located 7km from the reserve’s northern border. With six luxury villas offering spectacular views, Saruni Samburu is one of our favourite camps in East Africa. We also love Elephant Bedroom Camp, a 12-tented camp on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River, where elephants are regular visitors.