Samburu National Reserve, Buffallo Springs National Reserve and Shaba National Reserve are gem that are located in the Samburu County and are among the most popular tourist destinations in the Kenya’s Nothern Circuit.
The most popular park in northern Kenya, Samburu’s dominant feature is the Ewaso Ngiro River, which slices through the otherwise bone-dry country. The river acts as a magnet for thirsty animals, and large numbers of elephants, Grevy’s zebras, giraffes and lions gather along the riverbanks.
You can contact us for a safari quotation to Samburu National Reseve and her sister parks or check out our available safaris to Samburu and beyond here. Samburu is located 355km/220mi north of Nairobi. Self-drive to the reserve is an easy option and the driving time is about six hours. There are also daily scheduled flights from Nairobi to Samburu’s airstrip. Safari-goers flying from Europe or North America to Kenya usually arrive at Nairobi – it’s the largest hub for most transport (including flights) in the region. The main airport is Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO), which is located 15km/9mi southeast of Nairobi. Kenya’s second international airport is Moi International Airport (MBA), which is 9km/6mi west of Mombasa.
Wildlife and best time to visit
Samburu offers great wildlife viewing and four of the Big Five are present. Rhinos are absent, but big herds of elephant cross the reserve. Of the big cats, leopards are very rewarding with some habituated individuals giving high-quality sightings. Most interesting are the northern Kenya specials including beisa oryx, lesser kudu, reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra and the odd-looking gerenuk.
It doesn’t rain much in Samburu so it can be visited in any month, but the most productive time of year for watching wildlife is in the Dry season (June to October). The vegetation really thins out in the Dry season, and animals gather around the few remaining water sources. The wettest month is April, and rains at this time can make wildlife watching more challenging.
During the day, Samburu’s climate is hot and dry, although it cools down at night. The daytime temperature is usually in the region of 32°C/90°F, while the average at nighttime is 15°C/59°F. It is a good idea to bring warm clothing for game drives in the early morning. The rainiest periods occur in April and November, but annual rainfall is low. The ‘long rains’ usually occur from mid-March to mid-May, and the ‘short rains’ from mid-October to mid-December.
Dry season –June to September
This time of year is marked by hot and sunny days with almost no rainfall being recorded.
June & July – Hot and sunny conditions. Afternoon temperatures are in the region of 31°C/87°F.
August & September – Daytime temperatures are on the rise before the rains cool things down. September’s average temperature is around 32°C/90°F, although it peaks much higher.
Wet season –October to May
The Wet season is defined by the ‘short rains’ followed by the wetter ‘long rains’. The months of January and February are a dry period that separates the shorter and longer rains.
October, November & December – November is the wettest month. It rarely rains all day, but storms do occur in the afternoon. The daytime temperature is around 32°C/90°F, although it climbs higher before rain and falls when the showers have cleared.
January & February – A dry spell that falls between the short and long rains, though it is difficult to predict the exact timing. February is the hottest month. Average temperature in the afternoon is 33°C/91°F, but it can get much hotter.
March, April & May – Short afternoon showers are usual during the long rains, which typically break in late March. April is the wettest month, and driving on deteriorating roads can be challenging. Temperatures in the latter part of the day are around 32°C/90°F.
Samburu has quite a number of accommodation options available for tourists who wish to visit these popular destinations. Ranging from budget to luxury options
Samburu Sopa Lodge
Located inside the Samburu National Reserve in Northern Kenya, Samburu Sopa lodge is built atop high ground allowing panoramic views of the vastness of Samburu shrub land and the hills beyond. The lodge is built to reflect the architectural heritage of the local communities whose sons and daughters make up the majority of the work force at the lodge. Fifteen cottages, each with two bedrooms are built in an arch formation on either side of the public areas to surround the waterhole but leaving a wide gap to allow the animals free movement to the water.
Read More details about Samburu Sopa Lodge on their official website here
Sentrim Samburu Lodge
Sentrim Samburu Lodge is situated in Samburu National Reserve in Northern Kenya. The three National Reserves Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba protect a large area along the seasonal Ewaso Nyiro River. Surrounded by interestingly shaped hills you will fall in love with this region. The semi arid acacia – commiphora region is inhabited by elephants, buffaloes, cheetahs, lions and leopards. In this region you find the Northern fauna representatives: gerenuk, Grevy zebra, Reticulated giraffe, Beisa oryx, Somali ostrich and over 400 bird species.
Read More details about Sentrim Samburu Lodge on their official website here
Samburu Simba Lodge
Located in the Buffalo Springs is the Samburu Simba Lodge. Watch the fiery sunset as you enjoy a cockatil by the pool and watch when nature plays the evening trumpets or close your eyes and drift off into the African dreamland. This is place where you can call a day unforgettable yet still realize its an understatement.
Read More details about Samburu Simba Lodge on their official website here
Elephant Bedroom Camp
This is a luxury tented camp located in Samburu National Reserve. The 14 spacious tents have rustic and colorful African touches, offering all the comforts; including a private plunge pool on the deck, hot and cold running water, electricity (and complimentary herbal shower and bath products.). The lounge and dining area is decorated with vibrant safari style, its soft intimate lighting assuring that this is the ultimate place to relax in between exciting game drives. Elephant, Monkeys, Impalas are amongst the camp’s many regular wild visitors, whilst Samburu National Reserve has a good number of lions and leopards and offers the opportunity to see many species endemic to northern Kenya.
Read More details about Elephant Bedroom Camp on their official website here
Samburu Ashnil Camp
Ashnil Samburu Camp is a luxury tented set in the spectacular backdrop drop of the Mighty Ol Olokwe mountain fronting Ewaso Nyiro River. The 30 exclusive luxury Tents are spread out along the shady banks of the river under a thick stand of doum Palms. It features an outdoor swimming pool surrounded by sun lounges, a garden and a Lounge bar offering views of the African savannah. Each tent features a decked Terrance with views of the Ewaso Nyiro River. The restaurant offers views of the river and serves a variety of menus comprising of Oriental, traditional and international cuisines. A range of activities are available on request and comprise of game drives, nature Walks and a cultural visit to the samburu village, bush meals like bush lunch/dinner and sundowners.
Read More details about Ashnil Samburu Camp on their official website here
Samburu Game Lodge
Samburu Lodge is situated in the Samburu National Reserve with cottages, bandas, single and twin rooms spread out along the stunning banks of the Uaso Nyiro river. They have rooms to meet the needs of all explorers from luxury cottages and bandas to single and twin rooms. All rooms are decorated to the highest standard and overlook the river. The main dining room is open on the riverside with long tables and large buffets. The ever-popular Crocodile Bar overhangs the water and is a great vantage point for the nightly crocodile feeding.
Read More details about Samburu Game Lodge on their official website here
Sarova Shaba Game Lodge
Sarova Shaba Game Lodge is located in a natural oasis in the heart of the Shaba Game Reserve just east of Samburu, or one can say, in the “Born Free Country” that Joy and George Adamson called home for many years. The lodge is 314 km from Nairobi, a 45-minute flight from Nairobi to Shaba or Samburu airstrip or a picturesque 5 hour drive through the curving roads around Mt. Kenya crossing the equator at Nanyuki. It is set along the bank of the Ewaso Nyiro River laid out around the natural springs that flow into the river. The Lodge has a virtual mini forest of indigenous trees, a fish pond, and a large free form swimming pool.
Read More details about Sarova Shaba Game Lodge on their official website here
Set in a rugged landscape with a backdrop of jagged mountains, Samburu National Reserve is host to indigenous animals unique to the region. Explore the reserve from the luxurious, five star Larsens Camp, named after the famous adventurer Eric Larsen and built in the exact place the explorer first camped.
Read More details about Larsen Camp on their official website here
Saruni Samburu’s six luxury, eco-chic villas are open and spacious, heralding spectacular views over Kalama Conservancy and Mount Kenya. As the only lodge in over 200,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness teeming with wildlife to explore exclusively, and guided by Samburu warriors passionate about their land and culture, the safari experience at Saruni Samburu is intimate and truly exceptional.
Read More details about Saruni Samburu on their official website here
It is located a few km from Samburu at the base of Mt Ololokwe. Camp Saabache features a camping ground and mid-range rooms right at the base of Mt Ololokwe.
Available Safari Itineraries for Samburu
- 12-Day Kenya’s Best-Value Safari
- 7 Days Luxury Fly-in Safari – Meru NP, Samburu and Masai Mara
- Kenya Wildlife Safari – Nairobi, Samburu, Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara
- Mashujaa Holidays Road Trip – Samburu, Buffalo Springs National Reseve and Mt Ololokwe