Samburu National Reserve is one of my favourite national parks in Kenya.It’s not as well-known and visited as other national parks but it’s totally worth to visit due to its unique wildlife.It’s a semi-desert reserve located alongside the Ewaso Ngi’ro river.On the other side of the river is the Buffalo Spring National Reserve.The reserve is mainly open savannah with scattered groups of acacia trees, forest and grassland vegetation.
The park hosts a unique and rich wildlife: Beysa Oryx, Grevy’s Zebra, Gerenuk, Somali Ostrich and Rothschild giraffe are its main attractions,also referred as Samburu Big Five.African Elephants, Impalas, Grant’s Gazelle,Waterbucks, Warthogs, Kirk Dik-diks, Olive Baboons and Nile Crocodiles are frequently seen in the park. All there big cats are also found here: African Lions, Leopards and Cheetahs but not as in high numbers as in other national parks.The river attract many wildlife and it hosts a remarkable population of Nile Crocodiles.See a picture that i took of the Ewaso Ngi’ro river below.
Birdlife is abundant as well, with about 450 species recorded.Some of the most remarkable are Grey-headed kingfisher, White-throated Bee-eaters, Kori Bustards, Yellow-billed and Red-billed Hornbill, Tawny and Verreaux’s eagle, Bateleur,Palm-nut Vulture, Vulturine Guineafowl, Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Lilac-breasted Roller and Secretary bird.
Samburu was my next destination after visiting Uganda,Rwanda and Tanzania ( i will give you information of these countries on my following posts ).I reentered Kenya and arrived in Nairobi.From Nairobi i took a bus to Isiolo and spent five hours.Once in Isiolo, i checked-in in Josera Guesthouse for about 10 euros per night and i took a stroll around the town.People were surprised to see a tourist and they were staring at me all time.There is an important population of Somali people and several tribes around this area.Unfortunately there are sometimes tribal clashes in this area so you should better get the latest news before venture in here.Afterwards I headed towards Bomen Hotel where i was told they can arrange a safari tour for me.I talked to a guy that contacted Mr Matet Erupe.After discussing the price i arranged a safari with him for next morning.I paid about 130 euros for entrance fees,car,driver and guide.
Next morning we headed towards the park in a comfortable four wheels car.I was very excited to see the Samburu Big Five and other wildlife.Once inside we could spot Beysa Oryx in groups of one or a few individuals.You can see a Beysa Oryx and a Red-billed Oxpecker on its back on the picture that i took below.
These animals live in near-desert areas and are unmistakable by its dark brown marking in the face and its almost straight permanent horns.They can use its sharp horns when they feel threatened and even sometimes kill lions.Males also use the horns to compete for the females.See the picture that i took on the top of the post.
The next animal we saw was a colourful Red and yellow Barbet on its nest.Notice the red and yellow head with a white patch beside its ears and the reddish beak.
Later on, we spotted an individual of Black-backed Jackal on a narrow trail.
A solitaire Kori Bustard also appeared early morning.This bird is the largest flying bird native to Africa.They are omnivorous: feeding on grass, seeds, small vertebrates like lizards, snakes and rodents and insects.
Somali Ostrich,one of the Big Samburu Five was our next sight.This vulnerable species of bird is found mainly in Ethiopia,Somalia and Kenya and it lacks, unlike the Common Ostrich, the pinkish coloration of neck and legs and the tail is white.See the solitary male we saw in the first picture below.We saw females in a group of six, see second picture below.
Rothschild’s Giraffe, a subspecies of Nubian Giraffe and one of the most endangered types of giraffe, was another rewarding animal to see in the park.
A single colorful Grey-headed Kingfisher was seen perched on a branch.
We saw Vulturine Guineafowls in a group of few individuals. It’s the largest species of Guineafowl and its diet consists mainly in seeds and small invertebrates.Notice the conspicuous bluish chest and long bare neck and head that makes him resemble a vulture.
After a while we found out the gracile and slender Gerenuk, another of the Samburu Big Five.Notice its long neck adapted to reach high branches while standing erect.See the Gerenuk feeding on an Acacia tree on the second picture below.
We also saw a Black-faced Sandgrouse, with its brownish camouflage colours that make it difficult to distinguish among the ground.
Along the park we could see scattered groups of single or just a few individuals of Grevy’s Zebra.This animal is the largest and most threatened species of zebra.Notice the lack of black stripes in its belly and flanks,unlike other zebras.I took a photo of a male,as you can appreciate in the picture below.
White-headed Mousebird were found sometimes perched in dry vegetation.Notice its long tail and white crown on its head.
We watched a D’Arnaud Barbet perched on an Acacia tree late morning.It’s one of my favourite barbets due to its yellow colourful plumage splashed with black dots and bars in chest, head and tail.
White-throated Bee-eater was an amazing and regular bird seen in the park perched on dead trunks and dried bushes and shrubs.
Other interesting birds seen in the park were the Red-billed and Yellow-billed Hornbill, perched on the top branches of trees and sometimes walking on the ground, the always solitaire Secretary Bird hunting on the ground, a group of Helmeted Guineafowl crossing a track, Yellow-necked Spurfowls, a terrestrial bird that seems quite common in the park, a single Lilac-breasted Roller on a shadow area on the ground and White-headed Buffalo Weavers moving among the branches of trees.
Once we reached Ewaso Ngi’ro river we could spot groups of African Elephants drinking and crossing the river.See picture on the top of the post.These African Elephants were larger in size than those seen in Masai Mara.
We spent the full morning spotting amazing wildlife.Afterwards we head towards Archer’s Post area where we contact Samburu and Turkana tribes.It was a quite interesting experience as well and i recommend you not to miss it. See a Turkana women below,with its distinctive silver leaf earrings and colourful necklace.
I could see the Big Samburu Five in only one morning !!! Mr.Matet was very knowledgeable of the animals and tribes of this area and i totally recommend him for any safari in this area.
Next post I will talk about my last stop in Kenya: Mount Kenya, with Syke’s Monkeys and some of the most interesting vegetation adapted to the extreme conditions near the summit of this mountain.
See you soon my friends !!