Lioness Close Up in Samburu Game Park, Kenya

Kenya’s Samburu National Park is Teeming with Wildlife!

Samburu National Park, located in the middle of Kenya, can easily be reached from the country’s capital, Nairobi, which is 350 kilometres/215 miles to the south east. This wildlife reserve was made famous by naturalist, artist, and author, Joy Adamson. Her book, Born Free, describes her experiences of raising a lion cub named Elsa. Born Free was eventually made into an Academy Award-winning movie of the same name. Samburu National Park is also the home of Kamunyak, a lioness famous for adopting oryx calves.

Samburu National Park is one of 56 protected areas in Kenya and came into being due in part to the generous assistance given by several individuals and foundations. In 1962, with the financial help from the Elsa Trust, Samburu Game Park was formed. It enjoys a richness of flora and fauna. The Ewaso Ng’iro River flows through the palm groves and thick forests, providing water for the game inhabiting this arid region, which could not otherwise survive.

Ewaso Ngiro River in Samburu National Reserve, Kenya
Ewaso Ngiro River in Samburu National Reserve

The Flora and Fauna
Botanists have identified more than two dozen plant types in Samburu National Park, but thorny scrubs cover much of the reserve. The most common are Acacia elator, Acacia tortolise, Salvadora pesica, and the Down palms.

There is a wide variety of animal and bird life to be viewed. Common to Kenya’s northern plains, several large game species can be found in abundance here, including the gerenuk, Grevy’s zebra, oryx, and reticulated giraffe. The Masai lion, Tanzanian cheetah, and leopard can also be found here, as well as elephants, buffalo, and hippos. Other mammals frequently seen in the park include olive baboon, warthogs, Grant’s gazelle, Kirk’s dik-dik, impala, and waterbuck. Unfortunately, due to heavy poaching, rhinos are no longer present in the park. The Ewaso Ng’iro River contains large numbers of Nile crocodile.

With over 350 species of birds recorded, Samburu National Reserve is a paradise for bird lovers. You can enjoy a colourful assortment of birds such as kingfishers, marabous, bateleurs, guinea fowl, Somali ostriches, various vultures including the palm-nut vulture, and much more.

Two Giraffes in Samburu National Park, Kenya
Two giraffes in Samburu National Park
Grey-headed Kingfisher in Samburu Game Reserve, Kenya
Grey-headed kingfisher

Who lives in or around the Reserve?
The Samburu tribe – a clan of the Maasai people, are a neighbouring community to the Reserve. As a cultural tourist attraction, they play a major role due to their traditional ceremonies, food, dances, and sale of traditional crafts. While in the reserve, you can visit the local Samburu villages where you have the opportunity to interact with these colourful people in their traditional setting and experience their culture.

Samburu Warriors in Samburu National Park, Kenya
Samburu warriors

So, for the wildlife enthusiast who prefers a serene and peaceful setting, Samburu National Park will certainly fit the bill on your next Kenya vacation.

Suggested Itinerary:
3-Day Fly-In Kenya Safari – Samburu

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Robert Glazier
Robert Glazier

Contributing Writer - With over 40 years experience in the travel industry, and working for Goway for the last 19 years, British-born Robert Glazier has travelled to over 80 countries. “I have never met a destination which didn’t have something to interest me,” he says. His first foray abroad was from England to Switzerland on a school trip at the age of 14, and that was the start of a long journey. An avid runner, Robert’s favourite way of exploring a destination, is to don his running shoes and really get to know it on foot, even if it means sometimes getting lost! His advice to other travellers? Always wonder what is around the next corner!

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