Samburu National Reserve

It stands as a sanctuary of extraordinary biodiversity, boasting a constellation of rare and enchanting species

Samburu National Reserve : Off-Road 4x4 Jeep Safaris and Fly-In Safari Packages

Samburu National Reserve, a renowned jewel among East Africa’s safari destinations, is gracefully nestled in the northern reaches of Kenya. This premier game reserve graces the banks of the Ewaso Ng’iro river, its pristine wilderness stretching across an expansive 165 square kilometers. The Ewaso Ng’iro River, flowing along its southern fringes, forms a natural boundary that separates it from the Buffalo Springs National Reserve.

Samburu Reserve stands as a sanctuary of extraordinary biodiversity, boasting a constellation of rare and enchanting species. The graceful dance of the Grevy Zebra, the elegance of the Somali Ostrich, the intricate patterns of the Reticulated Giraffe, the gazelle-like poise of the Gerenuk, and the enduring spirit of the Beisa Oryx define this unique haven. Amongst its residents, close to 900 majestic Elephants traverse its land, leaving an indelible mark on the heart of this reserve.

13 Days East Africa Bush and Beach

Bush & Beach

Nairobi, Masai Mara, Serengeti, Zanzibar

13 Days East Africa Bush and Beach

Bush & Beach

Nairobi, Masai Mara, Serengeti, Zanzibar

13 Days East Africa Bush and Beach

Bush & Beach

Nairobi, Masai Mara, Serengeti, Zanzibar

13 Days East Africa Bush and Beach

Bush & Beach

Nairobi, Masai Mara, Serengeti, Zanzibar

About Tsavo West National Park

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Samburu National Reserve in Kenya depends on various factors, including wildlife viewing, weather conditions, and personal preferences. Samburu offers unique experiences throughout the year, but there are certain periods that may be ideal for specific activities. Here are two main reasons to consider:

1. Dry Season (June to October):

The dry season is generally considered the best time to visit Samburu National Reserve for wildlife viewing and photography. During this period, the vegetation is sparse, and animals tend to congregate around water sources, making them easier to spot.

  • Wildlife Viewing: Animals gather around the Ewaso Ng’iro River and other waterholes, providing excellent opportunities to see a variety of species, including elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, and more.
  • Photography: The clear skies and reduced vegetation make the dry season ideal for photography. You’ll have better chances of capturing close-up shots of animals and breathtaking landscapes.
  • Weather: The dry season offers warm and comfortable temperatures, making it pleasant for outdoor activities. However, keep in mind that it can get hot during the day, so proper sun protection is essential.

2. Wet Season (November to May):

The wet season in Samburu National Reserve is less popular due to the rain, but it has its own unique advantages and experiences.

  • Landscape: The rains transform the reserve into a lush and green paradise. The landscape becomes vibrant, and the scenery is quite picturesque. The contrast between the greenery and the red soil creates stunning visual effects.
  • Birdwatching: The wet season attracts migratory birds, adding to the already rich birdlife of the reserve. If you’re a bird enthusiast, this time of year can provide exceptional birdwatching opportunities.
  • Fewer Crowds: The wet season generally sees fewer tourists, so you may have a quieter and more intimate experience in the reserve.

Keep in mind that while the wet season can bring rain showers, they are usually short-lived and sporadic. Roads may become muddy, making certain areas less accessible, so it’s important to plan accordingly and be prepared for the weather.

Ultimately, the best time for you to visit Samburu National Reserve depends on your priorities and preferences. Both seasons offer unique opportunities to explore this diverse and captivating wildlife destination. It’s advisable to check with local tour operators or the reserve authorities for the latest information and to plan your visit based on your interests and the experiences you wish to have.

Wildlife & Landscape

Samburu National Reserve is a captivating destination in northern Kenya that boasts a unique blend of wildlife and landscapes. Its distinct ecosystem and diverse habitats create a haven for both rare and common species, making it a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers. Here’s a closer look at the wildlife and landscape of Samburu National Reserve:

Wildlife: Samburu National Reserve is renowned for its “Samburu Special Five,” a group of rare and unique animal species that are not commonly found in other parts of Kenya. These species include:

  • Grevy’s Zebra: This zebra species features thinner stripes and a larger body size compared to other zebras. It is one of the most distinctive and endangered large mammals in Africa.

  • Somali Ostrich: Known for its striking blue neck and legs, the Somali ostrich is a subspecies of the common ostrich.

  • Reticulated Giraffe: Recognizable by its striking pattern of clean-edged polygonal patches, the reticulated giraffe is a true icon of Samburu.

  • Gerenuk: Also known as the “giraffe gazelle,” the gerenuk has an elongated neck that allows it to reach leaves and shoots higher up on trees.

  • Beisa Oryx: This elegant antelope is characterized by its distinctive black-and-white facial markings and long, straight horns.

Apart from the “Samburu Special Five,” the reserve is home to a variety of other wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles, various antelope species, and an array of birdlife.

Landscape: Samburu National Reserve encompasses a range of diverse landscapes, each contributing to its allure:

  • Riverine Forests: The Ewaso Ng’iro River winds through the reserve, creating pockets of lush riverine forests that provide habitat for various species, including birds and monkeys.

  • Acacia Woodlands: The reserve is dotted with acacia trees, which offer shade and sustenance to wildlife.

  • Savannah and Grasslands: Vast open savannahs and grasslands provide feeding grounds for herbivores and hunting grounds for predators.

  • Luggas and Rocky Outcrops: Luggas (seasonal sand rivers) and rocky outcrops create striking features across the landscape, adding texture and character.

  • Mountains: The Mathews Range borders the reserve to the east, forming a stunning backdrop that adds to the scenic beauty.

Activities: Visitors to Samburu National Reserve can enjoy a range of activities, including game drives, guided walks, birdwatching, and cultural interactions with the local Samburu community. The reserve’s diverse landscapes and abundant wildlife provide endless opportunities for exploration and discovery.

How to Get There

By Road

Travelling from Nairobi, the six and a half hour journey north takes visitors along the Thika and the Nyeri Katerina highway. There are five gates into the reserve, namely Archer’s Gate (the most popular), West Gate, Kalama Gate, Uaso Bridge Gate and Central Airstrip Gate.


By Air

Flights from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport take 90 minutes, with flights landing in Buffalo Springs, Samburu Oryx Airstrip and Kalama Airstrip.


  • 1. Where is Samburu National Reserve located?

    • Samburu National Reserve is located in the northern part of Kenya, in Samburu County.

    2. What is the size of the Samburu National Reserve?

    • The reserve covers an area of approximately 165 square kilometers (64 square miles).

    3. What is the significance of the “Samburu Special Five”?

    • The “Samburu Special Five” refers to five unique and rare animal species found in the reserve: Grevy’s Zebra, Somali Ostrich, Reticulated Giraffe, Gerenuk, and Beisa Oryx. These species are not commonly found in other parts of Kenya.

    4. What is the best time to visit Samburu National Reserve?

    • The dry season (June to October) is generally considered the best time for wildlife viewing and photography due to the thinner vegetation and increased animal activity around water sources.

    5. What kind of wildlife can I expect to see in Samburu National Reserve?

    • Samburu is home to a variety of wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles, zebras, giraffes, antelopes, and numerous bird species.

    6. Can I see elephants in Samburu National Reserve?

    • Yes, Samburu National Reserve is home to a population of close to 900 elephants, making it a great place to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

    7. Are guided game drives available in the reserve?

    • Yes, guided game drives are a popular activity in Samburu National Reserve. Experienced guides take visitors on safari drives to explore the diverse landscapes and spot wildlife.

    8. Are there accommodations within the reserve?

    • Yes, there are various accommodation options within or near the reserve, including lodges and tented camps that cater to different budgets and preferences.

    9. Is birdwatching a popular activity in Samburu National Reserve?

    • Yes, Samburu is known for its diverse birdlife, with over 450 recorded species. Birdwatchers can enjoy spotting various species of eagles, kingfishers, vultures, hornbills, and more.

    10. Can I interact with the local Samburu community?

    • Yes, many tour operators offer cultural visits to local Samburu villages, where you can learn about their traditional way of life, customs, and culture.

    11. What is the weather like in Samburu National Reserve?

    • Samburu has a semi-arid climate. The dry season (June to October) has warm days and cool nights, while the wet season (November to May) can bring occasional rain showers and lush green landscapes.

    12. Is there a fee to enter Samburu National Reserve?

    • Yes, there is an entrance fee to access the reserve. Fees may vary for different categories of visitors, including citizens, residents, and non-residents. It’s advisable to check the official website or with local authorities for up-to-date fee information.

Get in touch with our safari booking team today!

If you would like more information on any of the range of safari trips we provide, contact the Access to Kenya Safaris. You can call us at +255 767 081 050 or contact us online and we will get back to you as soon as possible.