Samburu National Reserve is a rugged and semi-desert park located in Samburu district in the Rift Valley Province in central Kenya. The park neighbors the homes of the Samburu tribe of Kenya, a tribe known for their remote culture, pastoral and nomadic way of life.
Samburu National Reserve consists of a low lying, semi arid plain on the southern bank of the northern Ewaso Ngiro River. The reserve which lies 9km east of Buffalo Springs National Reserve was gazetted in 1974. The beautiful stark landscape is dominated by Samburu Hill in the south, at the foot of which is a rugged area with steep ravines.
The Ewaso Nyiro River is the lifeline of the area. Crocodile and hippo share the river with many small herds of elephant who bathe and frolic in the muddy brown waters during the heat of the day, before returning later to browse the lush vegetation of the riverine forest.
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.
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