Photos By Beks B3flaaay6nu Unsplash
Photos By Beks B3flaaay6nu Unsplash

Samburu National Reserve

Samburu National Reserve, Kenya

North of Laikipia is Samburu National Reserve, a protected area of arid plains and acacia woodland on the edge of the desert, and one of the top places to visit on a Kenyan safari. 

The Ewaso Ngiro River runs through the reserve, attracting elephant, zebra and kudu. Leopard skulk in the riverine bush and there are lion prides on either side of the river. Spot the long-necked gerenuk antelope balancing on their hind legs to browse high branches or the blue-skinned Somali ostrich strutting along. Together with the beisa oryx, reticulated giraffe and Grévy’s zebra, they make up the Samburu Big 5. The reserve is also home to more than 400 types of birds, including the migratory species that arrive with the short rains in November.


The Samburu people, known for their distinctive bright fabrics and layers of beaded jewellery, live north of the reserve. Many work as guides and staff in the region’s safari camps, presenting an opportunity for guests to learn about the tribe’s culture and traditions. 

Samburu is connected by bush flights to Nairobi and other reserves. It is best combined with a Masai Mara safari and a few days on the beach, either in Zanzibar or on the Kenyan coast. 

January to March

January and February are two of the best months to travel to Samburu. It’s dry and there are great wildlife-viewing opportunities. The migratory birds are also in Samburu at this time. 

January and February are hot and dry months, with an average high of 33°C/91°F. March sees a little more rainfall, as the long rains begin. The average minimum temperature ranges from 14°C/57°F in January to 16°C/61°F in March. 

Samburu Climate

Species of Samburu

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