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Samburu National Reserve

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    Background Information

    Samburu National Reserve is situated within the Rift Valley Province of Kenya. Measuring approximately 104sq. kilometres (approx. 65sq. miles) in size, this unfenced savannah grassland is roughly 350km (217 miles) from Nairobi.

    It is relatively small in size compared to other Kenyan parks, such as Tsavo or Masai Mara.Samburu national reserve derives its name from the Samburu people of Kenya who have lived in the area for many years. The Uaso Nyiro River cuts through this reserve, drawing a big population of Kenya animals to the park. The river bustles with activity from its huge population of Nile crocodile.

    The reserve’s topography is mainly open savannah (grassland) with clusters of acacia trees, forest, thorn trees and grassland vegetation.Samburu National Reserve was one of the two areas in which conservationists George and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the Lioness. Their story was made famous by the bestselling book and award-winning movie “Born Free”. The game reserve is renowned for its rare species of animals unique to the park, namely: the long necked gerenuk, Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe and Beisa onyx. The elusive Kenya leopard is often known to visit the park, especially in the evenings.

    Other Kenyan wildlife present in the park includes cheetahs and lions, as well as elephants, buffalo and hippos. Birdlife is as plentiful as wildlife at Samburu National Reserve, which boasts over 350 different species of birds including vultures, kingfishers, marabous, bateleurs, guinea fowl, Somali ostriches and others.

    What to see and do

    Samburu National Reserve is the best place to view several endemic Northern species including the long necked gerenuk, reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra and Beisa oryx. Buffalo, cheetah, leopard, lion and plains game can be found in the reserve. On rare occasions, packs of African wild dogs are sighted passing through the reserve.

    The reserve is considered a bird viewing paradise by ornithologists. The forests along the river banks are home to many species of bird including the Palm Nut vulture, Vinaceous dove, blue-legged Somali ostrich, and numerous weaver birds. Poaching has completely wiped out the rhino herds however Samburu is visited by large herds of elephant, drawn by the promise of water.

    In the dry season the elephants use their tusks to dig into the dry river beds, unearthing precious water. There are several private sanctuaries around the reserve that work closely with the Samburu people to protect both their tribal lands and the local wildlife. These sanctuaries are open to guests and are worth visiting for those interested in the Samburu culture

    Climate

    The climate in Samburu is hot and dry during the day, and cool during nights and evenings. Average maximum temperatures are around 30°C (85°F) with minimum tempatures of approximately 20°C. Most rain falls between March and May, with short rains falling from November to December, recording a total maximum rainfall of 350mm. July through October and January through March are mainly hot and dry.

    Where to find the Samburu National Reserve
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