Samburu National Park

Samburu National Park

Samburu National Park is a remarkable and captivating wildlife reserve located in northern Kenya, East Africa. Spanning approximately 165 square kilometers, it forms part of the larger Samburu-Buffalo Springs-Shaba ecosystem, which boasts a diverse and unique range of flora and fauna. Established in 1985, the park’s semi-arid landscape, rugged hills, and acacia woodlands provide a stunning backdrop for an extraordinary safari experience.

Samburu National Park is renowned for its “Samburu Special Five,” a collection of rare and iconic wildlife species that are seldom found in other parts of Kenya. These include the Gravy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, Somali ostrich, Beisa Oryx, and gerenuk, each possessing distinct and remarkable adaptations to their arid environment. Alongside these special species, the park is home to a rich diversity of wildlife, including African elephants, big cats like lions and leopards, buffalo herds, and a variety of antelope species.

The Ewaso Ng’iro River, flowing through the park, serves as a vital water source, attracting a plethora of animals to its banks, providing exceptional opportunities for game viewing and Birdwatching. Speaking of birds, Samburu National Park is a paradise for birdwatchers, with over 450 recorded bird species, making it a haven for avian enthusiasts.

Beyond its abundant wildlife, Samburu National Park is of great cultural significance as it lies within the traditional lands of the Samburu people, who have coexisted harmoniously with the wildlife for generations. Visitors have the chance to engage with the Samburu community, experience their unique way of life, and gain insights into their customs and traditional practices.


Key Features and Attractions at Samburu National Park.

Samburu National Park is a popular wildlife destination in Kenya, renowned for its unique and diverse ecosystem. Some of its key features and attractions include:

Diverse Wildlife:

Samburu National Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife species, some of which are unique to the region, known as the “Samburu Special Five.” These include the Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, Beisa oryx, Somali ostrich, and gerenuk (long-necked antelope). In addition to these special five, visitors can spot elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, buffalo, hippos, crocodiles, and a rich birdlife.

Stunning Landscapes:

The park boasts picturesque landscapes, including vast savannas, riverine forests along the Ewaso Nyiro River, and rugged hills, which provide breathtaking backdrops for wildlife viewing and photography.

Ewaso Nyiro River:

The Ewaso Nyiro River is the lifeline of Samburu National Park, attracting a wide array of wildlife to its banks. Visitors can witness various animals coming to the river to drink and bathe, leading to excellent game viewing opportunities.


Samburu National Park is a haven for bird enthusiasts, with over 450 bird species recorded in the area. The riverine forests and acacia woodlands offer fantastic opportunities for birdwatching and spotting various colorful and unique bird species.

Cultural Experience:

The park is situated within the homeland of the Samburu people, a semi-nomadic pastoralist community. Many lodges and tour operators offer cultural visits to Samburu villages, providing an opportunity to learn about the Samburu’s traditional way of life, customs, and traditions.

Night Game Drives:

Unlike some other national parks in Kenya, Samburu allows night game drives. This provides a chance to spot nocturnal animals and observe the park’s wildlife in a whole different light.

Samburu Five:

Apart from the “Samburu Special Five,” the park also houses a variety of other wildlife, including Cape buffalo, impalas, waterbucks, dik-diks, warthogs, and many others.

Low Visitor Numbers:

Samburu National Park is relatively less crowded compared to more famous parks like Maasai Mara, providing a more exclusive and intimate safari experience.

Samburu Intrepids:

This well-known camp within the park offers luxury accommodation and an excellent base for exploring the area.Top of Form


Activities to do at Samburu National Park.

Samburu National Park, located in northern Kenya, is a stunning wildlife reserve known for its diverse landscapes and unique species. Here are some activities you can enjoy during your visit to Samburu National Park:

Game Drives:

One of the main attractions of Samburu National Park is its abundant wildlife. Take a game drive through the park in a safari vehicle to spot the “Samburu Special Five,” which includes the reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, Beisa Oryx, Somali ostrich, and the gerenuk. You’ll also have the chance to see elephants, lions, cheetahs, leopards, and various bird species.


Samburu National Park is a paradise for birdwatchers, with over 450 species of birds. Keep an eye out for unique avian species like the Somali ostrich, vulturine guinea fowl, and the rare martial eagle.

Guided Nature Walks:

Many lodges and camps in the park offer guided nature walks, giving you a chance to explore the area on foot with an experienced ranger. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about the flora, smaller wildlife, and the traditional uses of plants in the region.

Visit a Samburu Village:

Take a cultural excursion to a local Samburu village to learn about the traditions, customs, and daily life of the Samburu people. You’ll get a glimpse into their traditional way of life, including their herding practices and unique cultural attire.

Sundowner Safari:

Enjoy a memorable sundowner safari experience. Your guide will take you to a scenic spot in the park where you can watch the African sunset while sipping on drinks and snacks.

River Safaris:

Some camps and lodges offer river safaris along the Ewaso Ng’iro River. This allows you to see wildlife from a different perspective and observe animals coming to drink at the river.

Night Game Drives:

A few lodges in the area offer night game drives, which offer a chance to spot nocturnal animals that are less active during the day. Animals like leopards, hyenas, and owls are more commonly seen during these night excursions.


Samburu’s diverse landscapes and unique wildlife provide ample opportunities for photography. Capture stunning images of the animals, scenery, and the cultural experiences during your visit.

Relaxation and Wellness:

Some lodges and camps offer wellness and spa facilities where you can unwind and rejuvenate after a day of exploration.

Remember to respect the wildlife and natural environment during your visit, and follow the guidelines set by your guides and the park authorities to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience at Samburu National Park.


Accommodation at Samburu NP.

Samburu National Park in Kenya offered a range of accommodations to suit different preferences and budgets. Here are some options that were available:

Lodges and Luxury Camps: There are several luxury lodges and camps within or close to Samburu National Park that offer high-end accommodation with all modern amenities. Some popular options included Sarova Shaba Game Lodge, Samburu Simba Lodge, and Elephant Bedroom Camp.

Mid-range Camps and Lodges: For travelers seeking comfortable but more affordable options, there are mid-range camps and lodges around the park. Examples include Samburu Sopa Lodge and Ashnil Samburu Camp.

Budget Camps and Campsites: If you are on a budget, there were also some basic campsites or budget-friendly camps available in the surrounding areas. These might offer fewer amenities but can provide a more adventurous experience. Examples include Umoja Campsite, Samburu Guest House,etc.

Please note that availability, facilities, and prices can change over time, so it’s essential to check with reputable travel websites or tour operators for the most up-to-date information. Before making any bookings, be sure to research reviews and ratings to ensure the accommodation meets your expectations. Additionally, consider the location and proximity to the areas you plan to explore within Samburu National Park when selecting your accommodation.


When to Visit Samburu NP.

Samburu National Park is located in northern Kenya and offers a unique wildlife experience. The best time to visit Samburu National Park depends on your preferences and what you want to see. The park experiences distinct seasons, each with its own advantages and considerations:

Dry Season (June to October).

The dry season is the most popular time to visit Samburu National Park. It runs from June to October when the weather is generally dry and the vegetation is less dense. During this time, wildlife congregates around water sources, making it easier to spot animals at the rivers and waterholes. The chances of seeing predators like lions, leopards, and cheetahs increase during this period. Additionally, Birdwatching is excellent during the dry season.

Wet Season (November to May).

The wet season in Samburu National Park occurs from November to May, with the heaviest rainfall usually between March and May. The wet season brings lush greenery and abundant water sources, which makes the park beautiful and vibrant. The landscape is refreshed, and many animals give birth during this time, leading to an increase in baby animals.

However, visiting during the wet season can also have some challenges. The lush vegetation may make it harder to spot wildlife, and some roads in the park can become difficult to navigate due to mud. Additionally, some lodges and camps may close during the peak of the wet season.

In summary, the best time to visit Samburu National Park depends on your preferences. If you want to see wildlife in larger numbers and find it easier to spot them, the dry season (June to October) is ideal. On the other hand, if you appreciate lush landscapes and don’t mind the possibility of encountering some rain, the wet season (November to May) can be rewarding as well. Consider your priorities and plan your trip accordingly.


Geography and Geology of Samburu NP.

Samburu National Park is a prominent protected area located in the Samburu County, in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya. It is part of the larger Samburu-Buffalo Springs-Lesaiyo Ecosystem, and it covers an area of approximately 165 square kilometers (64 square miles). The park is situated in the semi-arid northern region of Kenya and is known for its unique landscapes and diverse wildlife.


  • Landscape: Samburu National Park is characterized by a mix of rugged, semi-arid savannah plains, broken volcanic hills, and rocky outcrops. The Ewaso Ng’iro River, a significant water source for both wildlife and local communities, flows through the park and provides essential sustenance during the dry seasons.
  • Vegetation: The Park’s vegetation is mostly dominated by acacia trees and thorn bushes, typical of the savannah ecosystem. The landscape is relatively dry and arid, adapted to the harsh climatic conditions.
  • Ewaso Ng’iro River: This River is a lifeline for the park’s wildlife, attracting various animal species to its banks. It is a vital water source during the dry season when other water bodies in the region might have dried up.


Samburu National Park is located within the Great Rift Valley, a geological feature that stretches across East Africa. The Rift Valley is a result of tectonic plate movements, creating a series of fault lines and volcanic activity. The park’s rocky outcrops and volcanic hills are evidence of its geological history.


Samburu National Park is renowned for its diverse wildlife and unique species that have adapted to the arid environment. Some of the iconic animal species found in the park include:

  • African Elephants
  • Grevy’s Zebras (an endangered species)
  • Reticulated Giraffes
  • Beisa Oryx
  • Gerenuk (a long-necked antelope)
  • Somali Ostriches
  • Lions
  • Cheetahs
  • Leopards
  • Various bird species

The park’s location in the arid region means that wildlife is adapted to survive with limited water sources, making it an interesting and distinctive safari destination.

Samburu National Park is a unique and beautiful destination, offering visitors a chance to experience the diverse landscapes and wildlife of northern Kenya. It plays a crucial role in conservation efforts and provides an opportunity for tourists to experience the natural beauty and wonder of the African savannah.

Getting to Samburu National Park

By Road:

If you prefer a road trip, you can drive to Samburu National Park from Nairobi or other major cities in Kenya. The journey from Nairobi takes approximately 6-7 hours, covering a distance of around 350 km (217 miles). The roads may be rough in some areas, so a sturdy vehicle is recommended.

By Air:

The most convenient way to reach Samburu National Park is by flying into the nearest airport, which is the Samburu Airport (also known as Buffalo Spring Airstrip). Several domestic airlines operate flights from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport to Samburu Airport. The flight duration is around 1 hour.

Tour Operators:

Many tour operators and safari companies offer guided trips to Samburu National Park, providing transportation, accommodation, and game drives as part of their packages. This can be a convenient and hassle-free way to explore the park.


Conservation Measures and Challenges at Samburu National Park.

Samburu National Park is located in Kenya, East Africa, and is known for its diverse wildlife and unique ecosystems. Like many other protected areas, it faces both conservation measures and challenges to ensure the preservation of its natural resources. Here are some of the conservation measures and challenges at Samburu National Park:

Conservation Measures:

  • Wildlife Protection: Samburu National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, giraffes, and various bird species. Conservation efforts focus on protecting these animals from poaching and illegal hunting.
  • Habitat Restoration: Protecting the park’s natural habitats is crucial for sustaining its biodiversity. Restoration projects may include reforestation and efforts to combat invasive plant species.
  • Community Involvement: Engaging local communities in conservation efforts is essential for the long-term success of protecting the park’s resources. Collaborative programs can promote sustainable practices and reduce conflicts between humans and wildlife.
  • Anti-Poaching Initiatives: To combat poaching, park authorities and conservation organizations often work together to patrol the park and prevent illegal activities, such as ivory and bushmeat trade.
  • Environmental Education: Raising awareness among visitors, local communities, and school children about the importance of conservation and the role they can play is vital in fostering a culture of conservation.


  • Human-Wildlife Conflict: As human populations expand and encroach into natural habitats, conflicts between wildlife and local communities can arise, leading to retaliatory killings and habitat degradation.
  • Poaching: The illegal trade in wildlife products, such as ivory, rhino horn, and bushmeat, continues to be a significant challenge in Samburu National Park and other protected areas in Africa.
  • Climate Change: Climate change poses a threat to the park’s ecosystems, affecting weather patterns, water availability, and vegetation, which in turn impact wildlife populations.
  • Infrastructure Development: The development of roads and other infrastructure projects near the park can lead to habitat fragmentation and increased human access, which can further exacerbate human-wildlife conflicts.
  • Limited Resources: Like many other protected areas, Samburu National Park may face challenges in securing adequate funding and resources for effective conservation management and law enforcement.
  • Disease Outbreaks: Wildlife diseases, especially in the case of vulnerable species, can have devastating effects on populations and overall ecosystem health.

Conservationists, local communities, the Kenyan government, and international organizations are working together to address these challenges and implement effective conservation measures to safeguard the future of Samburu National Park and its biodiversity. However, ongoing efforts and continued support are necessary to ensure its long-term sustainability.


What to Pack for Samburu National Park.

When visiting Samburu National Park, it’s essential to pack appropriately to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable safari experience. Here’s a packing list to help you prepare for your trip:


  • Lightweight, breathable long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect against the sun and insects.
  • T-shirts for warm days.
  • A light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings.
  • Comfortable, sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots.
  • Sandals or flip-flops for relaxation at the lodge or campsite.
  • Wide-brimmed hat or cap for sun protection.
  • Swimsuit (if your accommodation has a pool).

Protection from the Elements:

  • Sunscreen with a high SPF.
  • Insect repellent with DEET.
  • Sunglasses to protect your eyes from the bright sunlight.
  • Lip balm with SPF.

Personal Items:

  • Passport and visa (if required).
  • Travel insurance details and any necessary medical documents.
  • Prescription medications and a basic first-aid kit.
  • Personal toiletries and hand sanitizer.
  • Camera and binoculars to capture wildlife sightings.


  • Charging cables and adapters suitable for the local power outlets.
  • Power bank for charging devices on the go.


  • Backpack or daypack for carrying essentials during game drives.
  • Reusable water bottle to stay hydrated. Snacks for the journey and game drives.
  • Flashlight or headlamp for navigating the campsite at night.
  • Cash or credit card for souvenirs, tips, and other expenses (if required).

Optional Items:

  • Bird and wildlife field guides to identify animals and plants.
  • A journal or notepad to record your safari experiences.
  • Binoculars for better wildlife viewing.
  • Safari clothing in neutral colors (khaki, beige, and olive) to blend with the environment.

Remember to check the weather forecast for Samburu National Park during your visit, as conditions can vary. Additionally, check with your accommodation if they provide any specific items to guests. Lastly, pack light but don’t forget any essential items to ensure a smooth and enjoyable safari adventure.


Remarks on Samburu National Park.

Whether you are an avid wildlife enthusiast, a nature lover, or someone seeking an authentic African safari experience, Samburu National Park offers an unforgettable adventure. With its diverse landscapes, rare wildlife, and cultural heritage, this magnificent park promises to leave a lasting impression on all who venture into its enchanting wilderness.