Jewel safaris

Samburu National Reserve 

Samburu National Reserve in Kenya

Samburu National Reserve is a premier game reserve in Kenya and one of the famous safari destinations in East Africa, the reserve is situated on the banks of the Ewaso Ng’iro River the permanent source of water feeding the area and its ecosystem. 

The Reserve is famous for its untouched wilderness, great wildlife density including the unique Samburu Special Five including Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk and the beisa oryx and its remote location offering a secluded safari experience. 

Samburu national reserve Kenya

About Samburu reserve

Samburu National Reserve is famous known for being home to Kamunyak, a lioness noted for adopting oryx calves. 

It covers an area of 104 square kilometers and lies in the elevation ranges from 800 to 1230 meters above the sea level, the reserve encompasses of several natural habitats including palm gloves, riverine forests, savannah and semi-arid environments.

The eco system includes several conservancies and ranches that border the main reserve including Kalama Conservancy, Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy, and West Gate Community Conservancy. 

Samburu National Reserve gets its name from the Samburu tribe – the nomadic pastoralists, these people have one of the most vibrant traditions and customs which are closely similar to the Maasai people. The local people were drawn to the area by the Ewaso Ng’iro river which provided water to their livestock. 

The Reserve was established as a protected area in 1985. 

Location of Samburu National Reserve

Samburu National Reserve is located in northern Kenya a special place where the lush greenery of the rest of Kenya gives way to dry scrubland, Kopjes and massive rocky outcrops all centered on the Ewaso Ngiro River running from the glaciers of Mount Kenya

The Reserve is situated at the southeastern corner of Samburu District in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya, it is border to the south by Ewaso Nyiro River which separates it from the Buffalo Springs National Reserve. 

The Reserve is situated on the Northern Safari Circuit of Kenya alongside Shaba and Buffalo Springs, this circuit is less visited due to its remote location in the north of Laikipia. 

From Nairobi City, it is approximately 200 miles North. 

Climatic conditions in Samburu National Reserve 

Samburu National Reserve lies within ecological zone V which is classified as arid and semi-arid with moisture index of 42 to 57, this indicates that evapo- transpiration is greater than available moisture. 

The days in the reserve are extremely hot while the night are cool, the annual mean temperatures range between 18ºC and 30ºC while the mean annual rainfall is 354 mm with peaks in November and April. 

Dry season in the Reserve starts in late May and runs up to early October, during this period large concentrations of wildlife area found in the reserve along the Ewaso Nyiro River which is the main source of water to the reserve and the whole ecosystem. 

Attractions in Samburu National Reserve 


Samburu National Reserve is home to a wide range of wildlife including the Samburu Special 5 and 4 of the Big Five which  the are rare animal species that have adopted to the semi-arid environment in the reserve and they include Grevy’s Zebra, Reticulated giraffe, Somali Ostrich, Gerenuk and Beisa Oryx. 

Other animals in Samburu National Reserve include Cape buffaloes, elephants, gazelles, warthogs, impalas, bushbucks, waterbucks, olive baboons, Kirk’s dik-dik, and cheetahs, copper tailed monkey, crested Porcupine, vervet monkeys, Dwarf Mongoose, Honey Badger among others.


Samburu National Reserve is a great birding destination with over 450 species recorded including 5 species categorized as vulnerable including African Darter, Great Egret, White-headed Vulture, Martial Eagle and the Yellow-billed Ox-pecker, riverine forest species and species of global conservation concern including lesser Kestrel and Taita Falcon. 

Birds found in Samburu National Reserve include yellow-necked spurfowl, yellow-billed hornbill, palm-nut vulture, grey-headed Kingfisher, bee-eaters, Marabou stork, Vulturine Guinea fowl, Secretary bird, Bateleur, sunbirds, lilac-breasted roller among others. 

Samburu People and their Culture 

Samburu People are Nilotic people living in the north – central Kenya, they are semi-nomadic pastoralist who mainly rare cattle, sheep, goats and camels which play a vital role in their way of life. 

The Samburu people depend of their livestock for survival and their diet comprises mostly of milk and occasionally blood from their cows, 

River Ewaso Ng’iro

Mount Ololokwe and Mount Koitar

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