This arid northern area offers a wealth of animals, good game viewing, and a highly contrasting landscape from the forests of Meru, the rolling hills of Lewa, and the open plains of the Maasai Mara. Samburu is remote, off the main tourist route, and offers some great cultural interaction and experiences.

The Samburu National Reserve lies 200 miles north of Nairobi on the hot and arid fringes of the vast northern region of Kenya. The Reserve is within the lands of the colorful Samburu people, close relatives of the Maasai, and home to a number of wildlife species rarely found elsewhere in Kenya. These include the Grevy's zebra, reticulated giraffe, Somali ostrich, gerenuk, and Beisa oryx, which are found only north of the equator. This dramatic landscape is blanketed by the hot equatorial sun for most of the year. Relief comes from the cool waters of the Uaso Nyiro ("Brown") River, which rises to the west on the foothills of the Aberdares and vanishes beyond Samburu in the soggy expanse known as the Lorian swamp. The scenery in Samburu is magnificent and the birdlife awesome.

The world-renowned Save the Elephants Research Project station, founded by Ian Douglas-Hamilton, is in Samburu, and is a highlight for elephant lovers. At the station keep an eye out for the ruined Land Rover trampled by a charging elephant. All visitors staying in Samburu can visit the station but those staying at Elephant Watch Camp, owned by Douglas-Hamilton family, have special access.

Properties we love in the Samburu area include Saruni Samburu, Sasaab, Elephant Watch Camp, Joy’s Camp and Samburu Intrepids.

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Elizabeth Gordon