Samburu National Reserve Kenya

Samburu National Reserve

Explore Samburu National Reserve in Samburu County where the traditional pastoral Samburu tribe used to graze their livestock and where fabulous safari packages and deals ensure your game viewing holiday in Kenya is top quality.

A haven for elephants buffalo and hippo, Samburu National Reserve is best known for being one of the two areas in which conservationists George and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the Lioness, made famous in the best-selling book and award-winning movie Born Free.

It is also the home grounds of the semi-nomadic Samburu tribe, related to the Maasai but who still hang on to their culture and traditions, relying on their cattle, goats, sheep and camels for survival. 

Explore the vast 165 km² Samburu National Reserve and see how it has retained a naturally tranquil and quiet atmosphere due to its remote location and fewer visitors. Enjoy a uniquely pristine safari in a conservation region that boasts the rare gerenuk, Grevy’s zebra, oryx, and reticulated giraffe. Lions, cheetah and leopards can be viewed if lucky as well as fascinating olive baboons, warthogs, and myriad antelope species and birds. 

When To Visit

Travel across a rugged and semi-desert park dominated by a scrubby, open bush terrain. See the picturesque riverine forest of acacias, figs and palms that extend up to 200m back from the edge of the river. Photograph the biggest and most central rocky ridge, Koitogor. Then view the slab of a mountain, OlOlokwe, just 20km north.

The best time to embark on a Samburu safari is during its 2 dry seasons: from December to March and again from June to October. The rains begin in late March and run through until May with a second rainy season in November.  

Did you know?

There was a lioness called Kamunyak (meaning “Blessed One”) in the Samburu National Reserve famous for having adopted at least 6 oryx calves and fighting off predators and lion prides when they tried to eat her ‘babies’ – she starved to death because the calves did not behave like lion cubs waiting while she brought back the food.


  • Helicopter rides are a luxury but worth it for the sights you see from high up, of the volcanoes, the geography of this fascinating park including the Ololukwe monolith, the Suguta Valley, Silale Crater, and Lake Logipi, areas that few tourists very see. 
  • Jump onto a chilled out camel for a ride you will never forget – so different from a game drive and the chance to get much closer to Grevy’s zebra, ostrich, giraffe, observing animals and birds you might have otherwise missed. 
  • Visit Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, in the nearby Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy, a community-run wildlife organisation where staff are committed to rescuing, rehabilitating, and rewilding orphaned and abandoned elephant calves, as well as other wildlife.
  • Nature walks are always so rewarding and here you can enjoy wild treks of up to 2.5 hours, seeing some of the 450 bird species, the special Samburu five and the interesting plant life and their uses in local tradition.

Splendid Wildlife

Experience frequent sightings of lions, cheetah and leopard in a beautiful reserve that is packed with free roaming game including huge herds of antelope and zebra. Look out for the rare northern species found here – the Reticulated giraffe, Gerenuk, Vulturine guinea fowl and Greys zebra then grab those binoculars and spot some of the more than 350 bird species such as bee-eaters, Grey-headed kingfishers, Marabou storks, sunbirds, eagles, and Lilac-breasted rollers.

The Northern Safari Circuit in Kenya embraces Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba National Reserve and they are often called the Samburu ecosystem because wildlife roams free between these preserved regions. Explore fantastic healthy grasslands and forested rivers, mountains and volcanic relics.

River Of Life

Samburu National Reserve is very peaceful and attracts animals because of the Ewaso Ng’iro river (meaning “brown water” and pronounced U-aa-so-Nyee-ro) that runs through it and the mixture of forest, thorn trees and grassland vegetation. The Ewaso Ng’iro flows from the Kenyan highlands and empties into the famous Lorian Swamp. It forms the southern border of the reserve, separating it from the Buffalo Springs National Reserve.

Follow this life-giving river that divides the Samburu and Buffalo Springs reserves and forms the northern Border of the Shaba Reserve – a water source that sustains the large populations of wildlife in the region including numerous crocodiles. Feel privileged if you see the red-robed Samburu tribesmen bringing their cattle down to the river to drink.

Family Safaris to Samburu National Reserve are Hot

Pack up the entire family for a safari holiday to Kenya that they will never forget. Intrepid journeys into Africa introduce your kids to the biggest classroom in the world, nature! Game viewing, nature walks, river cruises and camping under the stars are all part of a safari adventure your family will talk about for years down the line!  

Bring your children into the true wilderness of Kenya, our top African safari destination of all time – so check out the luxury lodge and bush camp accommodation where children are made to feel at home and book your special family package today.

The Best of the Best Safaris in Samburu National Reserve

Plan a Kenya tour and safari with Voyage2Africa, the African travel experts, and enjoy signature experiences to the premier wildlife destination south of the equator. We bring you thrilling adventures in the Masai Mara, Amboseli National Park, the Great Rift Valley, Samburu, Mount Kenya National Park and even Nairobi.  We offer you the best of the best safari accommodation in Kenya, in lavish lodges, family resorts, modern hotels, eco villas and rustic wild campsites in nature. Bring your camera and you hat, your binoculars and your sense of spirit to an African land that is home to humankind.

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