Where to go

Samburu National Reserve

A majestic wilderness with rich red soil and plentiful game!

Samburu National Park
Samburu National Park

Samburu National Reserve is certainly in amongst the more well-known of Kenya's parks and accordingly has become relatively busy over the years. The main areas for game viewing are along the banks of the Ewaso Ngiro that runs east to west through the park. A great location as the surface waters dry off during the dry season, the game viewing is pretty much guaranteed!

Samburu National Reserve is made up of scrubby, open bush land and savanna, with the fringing riverine forest of acacias and large doum palms extending along the edge of the Ewaso Ngiro. This river is the heart of the park, as it not only makes it a beautiful and very photogenic park (contrasting against the bright and dry red soil), but also attracts a diversity of wildlife all year round. A range of animals come down to the river to drink and cool off in, and with crocodiles and hippos hiding in the shallow sand banks, surprises always await! Samburu National Reserve also has a particularly high elephant populations, and big families of them too! This is because the park is a migratory corridor that herds use daily, moving between Laikipia, Samburu and Mount Kenya for food, mating and minerals. The Mount Kenya Trust have seen huge success in its number of elephants using both the human-made and natural areas of the migratory corridor, dramatically reducing human-elephant conflict.


Shaba is a much smaller park than it neighbour, Samburu, but is also, to intents and purposes, yet to really be discovered. Featuring a range of topographies, open grassland, swamp, river gullies and Shaba Hill in the centre, Shaba attracts a wide range of game species. Particularly good for elephant, leopard and sightings of the rare striped hyena, it is certainly one of the undiscovered gems of Kenya. There are, currently, only a couple of lodges in the park, Joy’s Camp certainly being the best of them.

Best time to visit Samburu National Reserve:

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At a glance... Samburu National Park

  • Size 63 square miles
  • Location Central Kenya, North of Nairobi
  • Recommended time 3 to 6 nights
  • Time to visit All year round
  • Safari Activities Driving, walking
  • Topography Semi-desert, rich red soil
  • Main species Lion, leopard, cheetah, buffalo, elephant, dik-diks, grevy's zebra, reticulated giraffe, the Samburu 5

Further reading...

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