Samburu, the host of rare Northern specialist species



By Melissa Gachoki

Located in arid and semi-arid part of northern Kenya, the heart of the Kingdom of horns, Samburu National Reserve, stretches to the north from Mount Kenya as far as Sudan and Ethiopia. It is home to the Samburu special five namely Grevy’s Zebras, Somali Ostrich, Reticulated Giraffe, Gerenuk and Beisa Oryx. Apart from this, large predators such as the lion, cheetah and leopard also call this reserve home. What makes the reserve special is Kamunyak, the Miracle Lioness that adapted the baby Oryx, is a resident.

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The best time to visit this part of Kenya is between July and October when the rain subsides. It is a great chance to see the wildlife who occasion Kenya’s biggest crocodile-infested Ewaso-Nyiro River, to quench their thirst.


The climate of this region is extremely dry and therefore the river serves as a source of constant water supply for the animals here. The vegetation is well adapted and you will find mostly hard and thorny bushes. For adrenaline junkies who love hiking, Koitogor and Ololokwe mountains are sure to make it worth your while being that it offers a panoramic look of the sunset as it dips into the horizon.

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The Samburu Sopa lodge located 11km from the reserve is designed in such a way that it imitates the architectural heritage of the local inhabitants; the cottages’ exterior design is reminiscent of centuries-old, traditional Samburu housing.

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Tourists staying at the lodge are at liberty to take photos of the animals as they are not going to come to any harm. Near the cottages sits a waterhole where wildlife come to visit.

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Sopa lodge is highly frequented throughout the year and therefore it is advisable to book in advance. You wouldn’t want to miss the beautiful landscape and all that it offers

If you have the desire to get in touch with nature and its entire splendour, the Samburu National Reserve is worth your while.