Kenya has been the Home of the Safari for decades: adventurous and back-to-basics, relaxed and luxurious, as family or honeymooner – Kenya knows how to safari. And in a country as experienced in the safari realm as Kenya, we believe it’s time to look beyond Masai Mara, Amboseli, and Tsavo.
There’s so much more to Kenya than the classics!
One of our favourite places to experience a magical Kenya safari: the Samburu National Reserve.
Spectacular landscapes – like a painting
It will be hot, that much we can tell you, hot and dry and unique. You will find Samburu National Reserve north of Mt Kenya, about five hours drive from Nairobi. Samburu together with Shaba and Buffalo Springs Reserve make up an ecological unit. Wide, rust-red shimmering savannah dotted with dark-green shrubs create a stark contrast against the clear blue sky. It almost feels as if we see our surroundings through rose-coloured glasses – the landscapes seem pastel-coloured.
Wide and seasonally almost dried up river beds wind through the landscape, lined by two-trunked doum palms. Elephants march from one bank to the other, when a kudu appears out of nothing.
We hardly ever see other vehicles in Samburu National Reserve. All by ourselves on this Kenya safari.
Extraordinary wildlife – like nowhere else in Kenya
It feels enchanted, this region in northern Kenya. Shrubs, mountains, paths appear like out of a painting. And then, suddenly, an animal appears which we haven’t seen anywhere else: a gerenuk, an antelope with a giraffe like neck.
With its long neck, the gerenuk feasts on leaves other antelopes would never be able to reach. Genius.
Behind the next bend, we discover a herd of oryx antelopes. You’d normally expect to find this big antelope with its long and pointy horns in Namibia, but not on a Kenya safari. Well, in Samburu National Reserve, everything is a little different than in the rest of the country. Oryxes are at home here.
A short while later, we come across a zebra. But it’s not just any zebra, it’s one of the rare Grevy’s zebras. Its big, fluffy ears and solo run set him apart from its striped relatives roaming the steppe in large herds.
Antelopes, zebras – is this really that exciting? It is! Our Guide Simon teaches us many details about their behaviour and habitat. We take our time on our Kenya safari and more than just a second look.
And it seems almost secondarily, we see elephants, lions, buffaloes, giraffes, kudus and much more.
Of course, even the giraffe in Samburu look different than in other places. Their rusty-red and tightly patterned coat distinguishes the reticulated giraffes from their relatives, the Masai giraffes.
Campsites – in the middle of nature
Admittedly, public campsites in East Africa are not always as idyllic as you might imagine. However, in Samburu National Reserve even the campsite is as magical as the rest of the park.
We pitch our tents directly at the river bank. The tall trees provide much welcomed shade, their leaves dancing in the wind. We have arrived in nature, have arrived in the middle of Kenya, have left the rest of the world behind us. Taking the deepest breath we have taken all year – our Kenya safari has begun.
Cooking on campfire, having dinner under the starry night sky, hugged by darkness. Only one other group stays on the campsite in this beautiful corner of the world tonight. That’s how you do camping safari in Kenya.
Samburu National Reserve is one of our favourite spots for a Kenya Safari. Get in touch and we’ll plan together.