​Expert Reviews – Samburu NR

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Alan Murphy   –  
Australia AU
Visited: June

Alan is a travel writer and author of over 20 Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guides to Southern Africa and Zambia & Malawi.

4 people found this review helpful.

Samburu: cattle versus wild animals
Overall rating

Samburu National Reserve is arid country, gnarled and broken trees, thorny acacia, roads crying out to be graded, a parched landscape crying out for rain. The reserve has a reputation for great wildlife watching. Unfortunately, while I was there, pastoralists from the local area had brought their cattle into the reserve. They were well armed and not about to let a bunch of park rangers kick them out – the reserve has abundant water and grazing for their cattle and there hadn’t been much rain around in northern Kenya. This invasion of domesticated animals disrupted the local wildlife and viewing was poor while I was in the reserve.

We drove around for hours and saw a few skittish dik-dik, some elephants, the odd-looking gerenuk, a lone giraffe, but it was not until the end of my stay that we spotted what the park is famed for – leopard. We had some good viewing time stalking a male leopard lazily strolling around some boulders looking for the perfect place to catch some late afternoon sun. About 10 other safari vehicles also had the same experience, taking some of the joy out of my prized moment in Samburu.

If the pastoralists have moved out, the wildlife watching will no doubt be vastly improved, it’s worth checking with your tour operator.

Average Expert Rating

  • 4.0/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star 1
  • 4 star 11
  • 3 star 1
  • 2 star 0
  • 1 star 0
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