The Special Five Reserve

The Samburu National Game Reserve is an astounding destination that is definitely one in a million. One cannot come to Kenya in search of game and not visit Samburu. It is an absolute eye opener that will give you insight to animal life that you did not know existed. The reserve is rich in wildlife and particularly northern speciality species that are found nowhere else within the countries parks and reserves. The reserve is located along the banks of the Ewaso Ng’iro river which draws in wildlife that requires the waters of the river without which the animals within the arid region would not be able to survive. Samburu Reserve is also dubbed in history and is one of the two areas which the conservationists who raised Elsa the Lioness pointed out within the book and award winning movie Born Free. The two conservationists were namely George and Joy Adamson. The reserve is home to Kamunyak which is the lioness that gained its fame when it adopted oryx calves. The phenomenon was quite astounding since you wouldn’t expect a predator to shack up with its prey. Samburu National Reserve is one half of properties that are located within the Samburu County. The other half is the Buffalo Springs National Reserve that covers an area of 131 square kilometers and located downriver. The rivers tributaries flow north through Laikipia from the Aberdare Ranges and Mount Kenya in Central highlands and as such it is almost always flowing without ceasing since its sources are in rain catchment areas. However, sometimes it dries up in the January and February when it is hotter than most months and similarly it is prone to flooding during the rainy season. What are you waiting for? Experience the uniqueness that is Samburu National Reserve. 

How to Get to Samburu National Reserve

It is possible to get to Samburu National Reserve both by Road and Air

By Road:  The Park is located 350 kilometres from Nairobi. It is to the north and it is therefore possible to travel there in approximately six hours. 

There is also the option of travelling from Nakuru National Park which is located 300km away from Samburu and the driving time is at five and a half hours. 

By Air:  It is possible to schedule flights to Samburu from Nairobi or from Maasai Mara depending on where you are at the time. Your tour operator shall be able to organize this for you when the need arises. 

The reserve can be accessed through the Ngare Mare and Buffalo Springs gates.

What to See and Do at Samburu National Game Reserve

The reserve is a beautiful expanse comprising of arid land that comprises of grasslands, thorn trees, acacia and riverine forest vegetation.  It provides an unobstructed view of the Koitogor and Ololokwe mountains on crisp clear days. The Ewaso Ng’iro River means brown water and is the primary source of water for the animals that reside within the reserve. Both birdlife and wildlife are abundant within the reserve. The three animal species that are only inherent to this reserve include the gerenuk gazelle, the Beisa Oryx, the grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe and the Somali ostrich. These animals bear characteristics that are rare and spectacular that differentiate them from other members of their species found elsewhere within the country. Other animals that you will be happy to observe during your game drives include all three big cats; lion, cheetahs and leopards. Buffalos, elephants black rhinos and so many others. The river is abundant in hippos and Nile crocodiles. The reserve boasts of over 350 species of birds such as the secretary bird, the palm-nut vulture, grey-headed kingfisher, lilac-breasted roller, Marabou stork, bateleur, vulturine guinea fowl and the tawny eagle among many others that would make any birding enthusiast glad they visited the reserve. 


 On the accommodation front, you are definitely covered. From the properties located in and around Samburu National Game Reserve you shall be absolutely well taken care of. You have your pick of budget, mid-range and luxury options that all offer top drawer services to all those who patronize these establishments. 


  • Respect the privacy of the wildlife, this is their habitat.
  • Beware of the animals, they are wild and can be unpredictable.
  • Don’t crowd the animals or make sudden noises or movements.
  • Don’t feed the animals, it upsets their diet and leads to human dependence.
  • Keep quiet, noise disturbs the wildlife and may antagonize your fellow visitors.
  • Stay in your vehicle at all times, except at designated picnic or walking areas.
  • Keep below the maximum speed limit (40 kph/25 mph).
  • Never drive off-road, this severely damages the habitat.
  • When viewing wildlife keep to a minimum distance of 20 meters and pull to the side of the road so as to allow others to pass.
  • Leave no litter and never leave fires unattended or discard burning objects.
  • Respect the cultural heritage of Kenya, never take pictures of the local people or their habitat without asking their permission, respect the cultural traditions of Kenya and always dress with decorum.
  • Stay over or leave before dusk, visitors must vacate the Park between 6.00 p.m. – 6.00 a.m. unless they are camping overnight. Night game driving is not allowed.