North of the Laikipia Plateau is the scrubby open bushland of the Samburu National Reserve. This is the homeland of the Samburu people who were drawn here by the Ewaso Nyiro River which provided a reliable water source for their cattle.

The Reserve sits to the north of the river, which separates it from Buffalo Springs National Reserve. As well as provididing an invaluable water source for the Samburu herds, northern Kenya‘s least seasonal river also attracts a wealth of wildlife. The area is teeming with plains game as well as lions, leopards, cheetahs and elephants. Samburu is also home to species you won’t find elsewhere in Kenya, including the Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich and the gerenuk antelope.

Samburu is an arid region, its dry plains dotted with acacia trees and rocky ridges, and the banks of the river lined with fig and palm trees. Sharing this landscape with the wildlife is the Samburu tribe. Closely linked to the Maasai – both speakers of the Maa language – these pastoralists are characterised by colourful wraps and beaded jewellery, and staying in one of the luxury lodges enables you to gain a deeper insight and understanding of their culture.

When to go

The best time to visit is February to March and July to October. Long rains fall in April and May and while there are short rains in November and December, it is still warm and they won't really disrupt your visit.


What to do

  • Enjoy some great game drives
  • Go on a guided bush walk
  • Birdwatching

Lodges and camps in Samburu

Here are some of our travel designers' favourite options