Samburu National Reserve
Samburu National Reserve is a rugged and semi-desert area located in Samburu district in Kenya’s Rift Valley. Both animal and birdlife abound. It’s approximately 104 km in size and is roughly 350 km north of Nairobi. This unfenced savannah derives its name from the Samburu people of Kenya who have lived in the area for many years. The reserve was one of the two areas in which conservationists George and JoyAdamson raised Elsa, the lioness of the bestselling book and the award-winning movie, Born Free. Samburu is also a home of Kamunyak, a lioness famous for adopting an Oryx calf. This reserve is unique, very peaceful and has many birds and animals, attracted by the Uaso Nyiro River that runs through its arid and semi-arid lands. The topography includes acacia, riverine forest, thorn trees and grassland vegetation. A traveler can encounter all the three big cats – lion, cheetah and leopard – as well as buffalo, hippos and elephants. Other mammals seen in this park include: Grant gazelle, gerenuk, warthogs, dikdik, impala, waterbuck, rhino, and the beautiful reticulated giraffe and Grevy’s zebra, both unique to this area. There are over 350 bird species which include: yellow-billed hornbill, vultures, kingfishers, bee-eaters, Somali ostrich, sunbirds and secretary birds. The reserve is also famous for its large elephant population. The endangered pancake tortoise can be found in this reserve.
The forests along the riverbank are good for awakening the spirit of adventure in a traveler. The park’s vegetation is a combination of arid plains and dense woodland along the riverbanks of Ewaso Nyiro River. The arid and semi-arid environment means hot days and cool nights. Average high temperatures are around 30 degrees Celsius, (86 Fahrenheit). Most of the rain falls between March and May and short rains fall from November through December.