Kenya 2013 - Samburu National Reserve11:13:00
People say Africa steals your heart. It certainly has stolen mine.
Photo: South Africa, 2014
After the Masai Mara, we flew to the Samburu National Reserve. We took a small plane, which was bumpy and a little sickening, but not very long. We stayed in another beautiful lodge, called Saruni Samburu. The views were spectacular, and our room overlooked a water hole and we often saw elephants come to drink.
This lodge was small, but social. All the guests and staff would have dinner together which was lovely as you got to meet new people and share experiences. There was a bar and pool overlooking the stunning views.
We had a driver and a tracker; both knew the area like the back of their hands and were very good at spotting and tracking wildlife. Upon arrival we told them that we hadn't seen leopards or cheetahs in the Masai Mara, and so hoped we would there.
The Samburu is an excellent place to see leopards. I know so many people who have been to Africa on a safari, even multiple times, and never seen a leopard. They are solitary animals with vast territories and so are notoriously rare. We were incredibly lucky, with 7 leopard sightings in only 3 days! This was unheard of, but you can see straight away how the landscape is perfect for leopards. Compared to the Masai Mara, there is little open space; more trees and bushes.
Samburu Special 5
The Samburu is also home of the Samburu Special 5. This is why I think it is a must-visit area. The Special 5 are: the Beisa Oryx, Gerenuk, Somali Ostrich, Reticulated giraffe and Grevy's Zebra. It's great to see such unique animals, that you can't see anywhere else. You can see the differences, especially in the giraffe and zebra, in these photos from that of those in the Mara and elsewhere.
We were also lucky enough to see a cheetah in some open space. Having not seen one in the Masai Mara, we were very excited. It was an excellent sighting as he was just sitting in plain sight; relaxing and posing for photos.
On our last night in the Samburu, we went for dinner in the dried river bed. All the guests, and guides. The local people played us some music and danced for us, including our guides. It was so lovely for them to do that for us, and share their culture and traditions. The food was excellent, and it was a wonderful way to end the visit.
As far as I can tell, the Samburu National Reserve is not as well known as the Mara. I know some people who have been, but most haven't heard of it and wouldn't think to visit on a holiday to Kenya. I definitely would suggest it, and if you get the opportunity it's definitely worth going. It's vastly different to the Mara; different wildlife, scenery and memories.
All photos in the post were taken by myself, or a member of my family on our trip.