Samburu holds a special place for me individually and a greater significance to my blogging. 4 years ago in June 2012, I visited Samburu and my experience there led to my need to document my travel. Up until today that was my most luxurious trip ever. Last weekend of June I ran away from the chilly rainy Nairobi in search of some sun.
The trip started on a lovely note with feeling VIP as we were only 2 of us on our 16 seat twin otter 300 flight operated by Air Kenya. It was a short flight out with beautiful view. By 9.30am we were already in Samburu and ready for our adventure.
We had a 45 minutes drive to camp with a refreshment stop. Our guide Anthony was great – always smiled, quite knowledgeable and made us laugh at all times.
This time I stayed at Elephant Bedroom Camp which is located right on the river banks of Lake Ewaso Nyiro within the Samburu National Park. The camp has 12 tents that are all similar and have unobstructed views of the lake. The tents are tastefully furnished with lovely earth tones.
Each of them has a patio where you can enjoy your glass of wine as you view the elephants drinking water from the lake. Each of the tents has a tiny cute plunge pool that they recommend to guests to use for cooling off during the hotter months of the year. In Kenya this would be December through February . On a good day the elephants pass by the camp as part of the route but during my stay this did not happen. Shame 🙁
The camp has the main mess area with a lounge well shaded from the strong winds, and a dinning and viewing deck area. This part of the camp is so strategic as it allows great views of the lake, arid grasslands and wildlife from all angles. During the evenings the guest would all sit at the edge of the patio (mess area) and with each to their own thoughts stare away as we waited for dinner.
For breakfasts and lunches, they would opt to serve at the lower level at the banks of the river when the wind was not too strong. The birds and squirrels would join us during the meals. It was nice to note the diversity of birds in this park.
The redefining of Samburu came when we did the game drives. During my last visit I had concluded that Samburu was a landscape and vistas destination, this however changed very fast with our game drives getting better each day. Within the first 3 minutes we had spotted a family of elephants that were grazing, further in 2 lions and then a leopard.
If you know anything about wildlife, you must have heard of the elusive leopard. I had previously only seen a leopard once in Tsavo and was so blown away. On each of the 4 game drives we did, we saw a leopard with one of them seeing mother and son separately.
We did get to see the Samburu special five – the Reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, Beisa Oryx and Gerenuk, the long-necked antelope.
Besides these, we were lucky to see a pack of 13 wild dogs on the go. One thing that stood out is that the animals are not afraid of the vehicles and hence we were able to really get close to them . Anthony told us this was because poaching is not practiced here hence animals don’t see humans as a threat per se.
The camp arranged for a sun-downer for all the guests which was a lovely touch that I did not expect. After a couple of hours driving within the par we all met at a great spot to see the setting sun as we enjoyed some bitings and the Samburu Special cocktail. We did enjoy just trading stories of our game drives and spotting as we prepared our appetites for dinner.
By the time it was Monday and time to head back to the real world I was ready to have Samburu as a must visit for my guests. Now that Samburu has redifined itself to offer so much more than divine views, my love for it has also grown.