The car was surrounded by a large family of around 30 elephants, the matriarchs worried that I am too close to their young ones. The young males charged the car, only to back off at the last minute. I wasn’t too worried though, I was not a threat to them and their mock charges were only meant to establish their dominance. I had been in Samburu National Reserve for only 30 minutes.
The reserve at 390 sq km is part of the larger conservation area that includes Buffalo Springs National Reserve and Shaba National Reserve. This is the same area Joy Adamson raised the famous lioness Elsa. Its also where decades later another lioness famously adopted a baby oryx.
The road from Nairobi is all very good tarmac until the turn until Archers Post. Roads in the parks are very good graded murram. A 2WD with good clearance would make it in the dry season. Ngare Ndare Forest is a great place to break the journey to Samburu.
Below are the prices for the park. This is information I couldn’t find anywhere on the internet no matter where I looked. Can I dare you to find them? A big thanks to Richard, manager of one of the lodges there who shed some light on the campsite before the trip. Nice of him to patiently answer my queries even though i wasn’t patronizing the lodge.
The public campsite is in beautiful location complete with a nice sandy beach down to the Ewaso Nyiro river. No fences so you’re right in the thick of things. Crocodiles abound so no swimming unfortunately. There is a rangers camp very close to the campsite so security is assured.
This guy was just across from the campsite, so if crocodiles aren’t your thing you might want to consider other accomodations. Though there’s really nothing to worry about, they keep to the other side of the river.
The Ewaso Nyiru (this river has like 10 different spellings) separates Samburu National Reserve from Buffalo Springs National Reserve and also divides the Samburu people from the Borana. If you know your geo-politics youll know these two have a less than cordial relationship in the past.
Campsite is well shaded but also note there is no man made shelter so if its raining that might be something to take note of. There are toilets (latrines) and showers (not heated of course) but Samburu is hot enough that the cold shower is a welcome relief. The resident kudu below is also quite friendly.
There are also many monkeys and baboons around the campsite. There is the dreaded ‘Christina’ a female baboon troop leader who leads food raids on campers (I’m not joking) so its necessary to hire a camp guard at around 500 a day. Do not think you can get away with not hiring a guard, you also need to be very careful not to leave food unattended and keep your tent and vehicle closed at all times. All they need is a second and its gone.
I know what madness lurks within you.
Genet cat whisperer.
Its actually quite sad that we were able to get close to these animals. They have become too used to humans so they come around the camp looking for scraps. Please DO NOT feed the animals.
Some kind of hornbill? I’m getting better at my birds.
A point to note is that the monkeys spend the night in the trees above so be careful not to pitch your tent directly above them. Not unless you want to spend a sleepless night listening to them defecating all over your tent.
What To See
This park had a higher density of elephants than ive seen anywhere before. They were all over the place. I actually almost got bored of seeing them. Almost.
I know nothing on elephant behavior but it looked like birthing season had just ended they were very many young elephant.
Young ones in the middle as usual. What an experience following these large families of 30 elephants around, watching them feeding, interacting, eating, drinking at the river. And to get to do this without anyone else around, these are experiences not easily forgotten. I take back what I said about boredom.
I had about 200 photos of the elephants, choosing the ones to share was a task. This is my favorite one…and i didn’t take it.
These two have got to be some kind of tawny eagle.I insist until someone comes along to correct me.
Aaaaaaaa. What birthed you??? The banded mongoose, he sat surprisingly still.
Twelve years later i spot my 2nd leopard!….well kind of, its that blur of white in the middle.
If looks could kill….and they did.
Sundowners at Lolkoitoi Viewpoint are a good idea. Drive is around 45 minutes from the public campsite.
Yet another ok sunset. Cue Toto’s ‘Africa!’
Last night by the fire. Great times, ive never been so close to so many animals. The guys at the park are all very helpful and really make the experience that much better.
- Campsite well shaded from sun, no man made structure.
- Toilets and showers available
- Running water available (not potable)
- Firewood available for a small price
- Guards available at campsite for a small price (Patrick 0710 – 748604 or Marcus – 0712 – 845152)
- Lolkoitoi view point for sundowners
I have visited many campsites and hands down this is one of the best locations for camping I’ve come across in Kenya, but the questions remain; Why is it not advertised? Why is there no information about it online? Why was it so difficult to contact the park directly and get the costs? Is there someone in charge of marketing at Samburu County Council? I truly hope this changes for the better in future.