​Wildlife & Animals – Samburu NR

Anthony Ham
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Kenya.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Anthony is the author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Samburu National Reserve offers great wildlife viewing, and good densities mean that most safari animals can be seen within a couple of days. There are several habituated leopards, and sightings are not unusual. Elephants are plentiful, and there is a variety of antelope, including both the greater and lesser kudu with their impressive horns. Only rhino is absent from the Big Five.

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Wildlife Highlights

Several dry-country-adapted mammals that don't occur in most Kenyan parks can be found here. The reticulated giraffe has a more striking pattern than the common Masai giraffe. Beisa oryx is particularly well adapted to arid conditions. The gerenuk, with its elongated neck, is able to stand on its hind legs to reach sparse leaves. Both the common plains zebra and the bigger Grevy's zebra are found alongside each other.

Best Time for Wildlife Viewing

It doesn’t rain much in Samburu so it can be visited throughout the year, but the most productive time for watching wildlife is in the Dry season (June to September). The vegetation really thins out during this period and animals gather around the few remaining water sources. The dry spell between the rains, from January to February, is also a great time for wildlife viewing. The wettest months are April and November, and wildlife watching can be more challenging then.

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