Overview – Samburu National Reserve

The Samburu National Reserve is a game reserve on the banks of the Ewaso Ng'iro river in Kenya. The park is situated nearby the Buffalo Springs National Reserve that lies across the stream. The park's peaceful climate and extraordinary geology, which is a combination of riverine forests, grasslands, acacia woodlands, and thistle trees attract a huge assortment of animals and birds the same. The parched climate is home to an assortment of north Kenya specials – both birds and mammals.

  • Wildlife24 Animals

  • High SeasonDecember to March and July to October

  • Best Time to GoJune to September and January to February

Pros & Cons

  • A variety of accommodation options are available based on different budgets
  • Amazing birding with many dry-country specials
  • Fascinating animal species confined to the arid north
  • Four of the Big Five are easily found except rhino
  • Excellent wildlife viewing
  • There is a lot of dust in the air because it is very dry

Samburu National Reserve Map in Africa

Samburu National Reserve Safari Reviews

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Wildlife & Animals – Samburu National Reserve

There is a wide variety of animals and birdlife seen at Samburu National Reserve. Four of the Big 5 are available here aside from Rhino. Several large game animal species common to Kenya's northern plains can be found in abundance here, including the following dry-country fauna: gerenuk, Elands, Grevy's zebra, oryx and reticulated giraffe. These dry-country animals are rarely seen in other Kenyan national reserves and parks. All three big cats, the lion, cheetah and African leopard can also be found here, as well as the elephant, Cape buffalo and hippopotamus.

Wildlife Highlights

The Samburu National Reserve is also the home of Kamunyak, a lioness famous for adopting oryx calves. Some fortunate visitors might get to see a truly incredible battle when lions and Nile crocodiles fight over prey on the banks of the Ewaso Ng'iro river. Other mammals frequently seen in the park include olive baboon, warthogs, Grant's gazelle, Kirk's dik-dik, impala, and waterbuck. 

Best Time for Wildlife Viewing

For wildlife viewing, the best time to visit the Samburu National Reserve is during the dry season, between June and October, and December and March. With the drying vegetation, it's simpler to spot animals that assemble around the water holes. During the wet season, with its bountiful water supply, animals once in a while need to go far looking for water, and the long grass makes it harder to spot them.

Birds – Samburu National Reserve

Samburu National Reserve is a premier bird-watching destination with more than 350 recorded bird species. The reserves protect a variety of habitats, home to different bird species including arid acacia savannah, scrub and gallery forest alongside the Uaso Nyiro River. The dry, open country offers very rewarding birding opportunities and boasts several northeast African dry-country species shared with Ethiopia and Somalia, such as vulturine guineafowl, Somali bee-eater and Golden-breasted Starling. Some other notable species found include grey-headed kingfisher, sunbirds, bee-eaters, Marabou stork, tawny eagle, Verreaux's eagle, bateleur, vulturine guineafowl, yellow-necked spurfowl, lilac-breasted roller, secretary bird, superb starling, northern red-billed hornbill, yellow-billed hornbill, and various vultures including the palm-nut vulture.

Best Time for Bird Watching

Samburu is a bird watcher's delight the entire year. Numerous unusual, dry-country specials live here and can be spotted all year. Migratory birds show up in the reserve from November to April. One significant thought is the climate, as substantial showers can wreck your birding plans – November and April get the most precipitation.

Best Time to Visit – Samburu National Reserve

The dry season generally runs from June through October and January into March. November (and sometimes December) can see short rains but travel is generally still very good during these months. April and May, and sometimes a bit on either side of these two months, are the heavy rains period. Travel during this time is still possible, with lodging and transportation costs often reduced. Travellers may wish to add a few extra days during the rainy seasons, to help ensure maximum game drives are attained.

  • Best Time

    June to September and January to February

  • High Season

    December to March and July to October

  • Low Season

    April to June

  • Best Weather

    June and December

  • Worst Weather


June to October (Dry Season)

  • Rarely gets hot, Most of the time it's sunny & dry
  • Due to short grass and less water sources, Animals can be spotted easily
  • Fewer mosquitoes and less chance of catching malaria
  • There is a lot of dust in the air because it is very dry
  • The sky is hazy and the scenery isn’t as pretty

June to October (Wet Season)

  • As the park is less busy, Pricing is very less to bring more travellers
  • The scenery is beautiful and at its most lush
  • Wildlife viewing gets special because of less crowd
  • Birding is best as migratory birds are present
  • Rain in April and May will sometimes come in between your planned activities
  • Roads become sloppy and difficult to travel

Safari Reviews – Samburu National Reserve

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