Samburu National Park is located on the Ewaso Ng’iro River in Kenya. It is 165 km in size and geographically located in Samburu County. Samburu was where George and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the Lioness and wrote the famous bestselling book and movie “Born Free”.
With a distinct isolated beauty of the dry North, the National reserves of Samburu, Shaba and Buffalo Springs are heavy with classic big game, termite skyscrapers, and home to the Ewaso Ngiro River and host a population of creatures that occur in no other major Kenyan Park. These include rarities such as the blue-leered Somali Ostrich, Grevy’s Zebra, unicorn like beisa oryxes, flocks of vulturine, marshal and helmeted eagles, reticulated giraffes and the gerenuk, a gazelle with an exceptionally long neck. The local populations of the neighboring communities are of the Rendille, Borana and the Samburu tribe, a descendent clan of the Masai. Cattle, as well as sheep, goats and camels, are of utmost importance to the Samburu culture and way of life. The Samburu paint their faces using striking patterns to accentuate their facial features & neighboring tribes, admiring the beauty of the Samburu people, called them “Samburu” which means butterfly.
Best time to visit Samburu
Samburu can be visited year-round, but wildlife watching is usually best in the dry months from June to October and December to March. It is wise to avoid the height of the Wet seasons (November, April and May). During these months, spotting wildlife (which has spread out anyway with the availability of water) in the long grass is more challenging.
Weather and climate in Samburu
During the day, Samburu’s climate is hot and dry, although it cools down at night. The daytime temperature is usually in the region of 32°C/90°F, while the average at nighttime is 15°C/59°F. It is a good idea to bring warm clothing for game drives in the early morning. The rains peak in April and November, but annual rainfall is low.
The Wet season is defined by the ‘short rains’ followed by the wetter ‘long rains’. The months of January and February are a dry period that separates the shorter and longer rains.
How to get to Samburu
Samburu is located 355km/220mi north of Nairobi; the driving time is about six hours. There are also daily scheduled flights from Nairobi to Samburu’s airstrip.
Driving from Nakuru National Park is also an option. The distance is about 300km/190mi and the driving time is roughly five and a half hours.
Safari-goers flying from Europe or North America to Kenya usually arrive at Nairobi – it’s the largest hub for most transport (including flights) in the region. The main airport is Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO), which is located 15km/9mi southeast of Nairobi. Kenya’s second international airport is Moi International Airport (MBA), which is 9km/6mi west of Mombasa.