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Samburu National Reserve Kenya

Attractions in Samburu Reserve Kenya, Wildlife safaris tours in Samburu reserve Kenya, birding watching safari in Samburu, where to stay in Samburu, getting to Samburu reserve, safari activities done in Samburu reserve, Kenya wildlife safaris. Samburu National Reserve is found in Kenya which is located in the eastern region of the African continent along geographical co-ordinates of 03o37’5”N 31o 31’48”E. Samburu National Reserve is located in central Kenya and its bordered by Buffalo springs national reserve in the south, West Gate Community Conservancy in the north west and Kalama Community Conservancy in the north. This reserve spans over a distance of 165sqkm.

Samburu National Reserve is famous for its rich bio diversity in terms of wildlife which include a good number of the kings of the jungle with their prides, elephants, warthogs, olive baboon, kirk’s dik dik, impala, waterbuck, rhinoceros, zebras, gerenuk, African leopard, reticulated giraffe and a number of cheetahs a can be spotted within the reserve. Samburu National Reserve has about 350 bird species and these include grey headed king fishers, marabou stock, tawny eagle, vulturine guineafowl, yellow billed hornbill, secretary birds, northern red billed hornbill, singing bush lark, spotted palm thrush, white headed mouse bird, yellow vented eremomela, lanner falcon, hunter’s sunbird, acacia tit bare eyed thrush.

Samburu National Reserve experiences a dry savannah climate that has 2 rain seasons that come in march to may with the longer rains and October to December with the shorter rains. During these seasons, rain usually comes in the afternoon and daytime temperatures reach a maximum of 32oC or 90oF and the nights are relative cool with a minimum of 15oC or 59oF. The dry season on the other hand comes around between June to September and January to February with a maximum temperature average of 31oC or 88oF and a minimum temperature average around 16oC or 62oF.

Attractions in Samburu National Reserve in Kenya include

Reticulated-giraffes – Attractions in Samburu Reserve Kenya

Samburu national reserve has the reticulated giraffe species which is commonly sighted. The giraffe can easily be identified from its long neck and legs and also from its horn like structures the ossicones. The name giraffe originated from the Arabic world who called this animal “zarafah” which means fast walker. The giraffe has dark patches of orange or chestnut or brown color and these are separated by light hairs which are usually white or cream. The giraffes have a unique walking pattern where as they have the ability to move both the front and hind limbs of one side of the body at once and then counter balance it by moving their long neck in the opposite direction.

The adult male giraffe has an average height of 4.3-5.7m or 14.1-18.7ft and weighs in at 1192kg or 2628ib while an adult female weighs in at 828kg or 1825ib hence showing sexual dimorphism amongst giraffes. The giraffe also has a long tongue that is measured at an average of 45cm or 18in and it has a purplish black color which is believed to protect it from sunburns. Giraffes also have the ability to sleep while standing and even when they lie down, they will put their long neck on their hip. The giraffe has a gestation period of 14-15 months and can live up to 25 years in their natural habitat.

African bush elephant – Attractions in Samburu Reserve Kenya

African elephants are the largest land mammals in the world with a male elephant weighing in at 4,700-6,048kg or 10,362-13,334Ib and a shoulder height of 3.2-4.0m or 10.5-13.1ft while their female counterparts weigh in at 2,160-3,232kg or 4,762-7,125Ib and a shoulder height of 2.2-2.6m or 7.2-8.5ft. these land giants have 24 teeth in their mouths and usually lose their teeth 4-6 times in their life time which lies between 60-70 years. What sets these land giants apart from the rest of crowd is their elongated tusks which are in fact their second set of incisors.

Attractions in Samburu Reserve Kenya
elephants in Samburu Reserve Kenya

This means that the tusks are very strong as they are used to up root trees and also as weapons they use while fighting. The tusks weigh between 23-45 kg or 55-99Ib with a length of 1.5-2.4m or 5-8 ft. elephants usually live in groups called families which comprise of 10 or more closely related females with their calves and each of these families is led by an older female called a matriarch. Elephants have the ability to distinguish and communicate with each other using low frequency infrasonic calls.  With a body mass that is compared to nothing else on land, African elephants have to feed on an average of 450 kg or 992Ib of foliage to sustain their huge bodies and also drink to over 50 liters of water per day.

In fact, these elephants have the ability to smell water to up to 20 km or 12miles away. Elephants have an exposed skin so in order to control over heating of their body, they flap their big ears so as to carry away the heat or bathe in water ponds. It is believed that when an elephant flaps its ears, it can lose about 10oF of heat hence always staying cool even in the hottest temperatures. They also employ their elongated trunk to carry water and pour it over their ears to try and cool themselves.

These land giants have very thin hairs around body parts such as eyes and noses and these are mainly for ensuring that germs and other bacteria don’t find it easy to enter the elephant’s body through these parts. The elephant trunk is a master piece of creation as it is equipped with 40000 muscles which is way more than an entire human body has at only 639 muscles. This makes the trunks a very strong and agile part of the elephant that can do many things. The elephant trunk is also used for breathing, snorkeling and also as an extended arm for holding, lifting or pushing anything they want to carry.  A female elephant reaches sexual maturity at the age of 10-12 years and can reproduce after every 3-6 years throughout its lifetime. All elephants have a very poor metabolism and that’s why they eat a lot of food but ¾ of it will come out of the elephants undigested as dung.

Due to the poor metabolic system, elephant calves have been recorded doing something bizarre and that is eating dung that has been passed out by their mothers but this is all because elephant calves can’t process raw grass hence have they have to resort to eating pre-processed food that has been passed out as dung. They have a gestation period of up to 22 months being the longest in all land mammals. Just like humans and apes, elephants are also highly intelligent species with a brain that weighs about 5kg or 11Ib which about 4 times heavier than that of human making it the heaviest brain of any land mammal. With such a brain, these land giants are believed to exhibit character traits like grief, learning, sense of humor, compassion, self-awareness, a very strong and vivid memory, play and use of tools and possibly a language.

Lions – Attractions in Samburu Reserve Kenya

Attractions in Samburu Reserve Kenya
Lions in Samburu Reserve Kenya

Lions can be occasionally sighted in Samburu national reserve. Lions are part of the big cate family and are muscular, deep chested with rounded heads. Most of the African lion males can distinguished from their females by the presence of a mane around the necks and heads of male African lions which is clearly absent in females but there quite many cases in Africa where the males also don’t have a mane or have a very short and thin one. The male lions are usually bigger than the females but their sizes vary according to location. In east Africa, adult female lions have a body length of 160-184cm or 63-72in weighing in at 119.5kg or 263Ib on average while the adult males have a body length of184-208cm or 72-82in weighing in at 174.9kg or 386Ib on average. Lions are social animals who live in groups called prides. A pride is always led by a dominant male and their highly territorial animals controlling vast expanses that are strategic with a lot of prey and water.

Male dominant lions are responsible for protecting the pride and they will fight off other male invaders, in case the dominant male is defeated by the invading lions, the victor lions will kill off all the cubs that are off springs to the defeated dominant male as a way of ending its blood lineage.  Lions are carnivores and are at the top of the food chain feeding on almost all browsers and grazers within their domain due to their ability to hunt as a pride and carry out well coordinated and planned attacks which enables them to take down prey that can even be between 2-4 times bigger than them such as zebras, elephants and buffaloes.

Lions usually hunt at night because of their well-developed sense of sight especially at night where their vision is almost 6 times better than that of humans due to the presence of white patches around their eyes which enable them to absorb even the smallest amount of light available during the cover of darkness. Hunting among lions is an affair carried out by female lions mostly and juvenile males and when a kill has been made by the lionesses in a pride, it’s always the dominant male lion who will eat first up to his fill then the rest of the pride will feed on what has remained after the he has finished eating. They have a gestation period of 97 days and a life span of about 10-14 years

Cheetahs – Attractions in Samburu Reserve Kenya

Cheetahs are the world’s fastest animals with the ability to accelerate up to 100-120km/hr in short circuits of about 100m or 330ft and this is all possible because the cheetah has its body built for speed in the following ways: the cheetah has a slender body, small rounded head which makes it perfectly aero dynamic with low air resistance, and long thin legs to give it big and quick strides and long tail for stability during high speed chase. The cheetah is the smallest of all big cats and its usually confused with the leopards but here are some striking and distinctive features that separate the 2 cats from one another; the cheetah has small solid black spots on its body unlike the leopard which has large rosettes, the cheetah has black eye streaks or tear marks on its face but the leopard lacks these features on its face.

The leopard has a body length 112-150cm or 44-59in with an average shoulder height of 70-90cm or 22-28in and an average body weight of 21-72kg or 46-159Ib. This therefore makes a cheetah taller and heavier than a leopard in terms of body size. The cheetah has its coat colored in a yellowish or rufous greyish white with nearly 2000 solid black spots. The leopards can be distinctively identified using the pattern of their black spots which is unique to each cheetah just like finger prints are in humans. Cheetahs have a set of 8 teeth with mostly canines which makes them a perfect predator for crushing the wind pipes of their prey which usually consists of animals like gazelles, Uganda kobs, kiplisingers and impalas. The cheetahs have a gestation period of about 95days and a life span of 10-12 years in their natural habitat.

Birds in Samburu National Reserve Kenya

Singing bush lark – Attractions in Samburu Reserve Kenya

Birds in Kenya
Birds in Kenya

The male singing bush lark has a whitish or pale buff eye stripe, its ear coverts are of a brownish buff. It’s under parts have a whitish or brown color while the upper parts have brownish puff color. It’s a body length of 13cm and weighs 15-21g. this bird makes a varied series of chirps, whistles and buzzes, elements. It feeds on a mixture of insects and seeds.

Spotted palm thrush – Attractions in Samburu Reserve Kenya

This bird has a whitish eye stripe, cheeks, throat. Its under parts are majorly white with black feathers as well. Its crown back and wings have a brownish buff colour. The primary flight feathers and tail feathers have a dull red orange color. It also has black legs and bill. They have a red orange iris. Their body length is 16-17cm while an average body is 17-30g. this bird feeds on invertebrates mostly like small snails, beetle larvae also makes it to their menu.

White headed mouse bird – Attractions in Samburu Reserve Kenya

This bird has a greyish plumage with black and white barring on its back, neck and breast. It has a white crest, crown and cheeks. This bird still has a white stripe on its back that’s only visible when this bird flies. This bird has a dark eye patch of bare skin. Its beak is bluish white above and buff below while the legs are red pink. It feeds on fruits, leaf buds and flowers.

Hunter’s sunbird – Attractions in Samburu Reserve Kenya

Hunter’s sunbird has a its forehead and crown in an iridescent green color, its face, neck and upperparts ar3e black in color. This bird has a red breast band while the rest of the underparts are black as well. It has a small and slender bill which is black as well as its legs. Its body length of 13-14cm while its average is 10-14g. it makes a complex song of rising and falling notes in a whistle and trill that come after a chip, chip-choo sound call. They feed on flowers of acacia trees.

Acacia tit – Attractions in Samburu Reserve Kenya

The acacia tit is melaniparus bird that has a glossy blue-black cape, nape, throat and breast that contrasts with a large buff white patch that extends from its cheeks to the side of the throat. These birds have a broad black band which stretches from the breast to the vent. Its upper parts are mainly grey with white panels in the th wings. The under parts on the other hand are greyish white broken by the black bands. The bill and the legs have a slaty grey color. These birds have a body length of 11.5-12cm and weight of 12g.

Lanner falcon – Attractions in Samburu Reserve Kenya

This is a bird of the raptor group and its bird of prey. The lanner falcon is a strong bird with relatively short wings. This falcon has a dark grey upper side that can also sometimes be bluish, its underside is a bit lighter with brown streaks. These birds have a reddish colored head, with a moustache like color that run from both its cheeks.  Female lanner falcons are slightly larger than the males just like all the other falcons. These birds are built to kill as they are armed with sharp and strong talons and stocky curved beaks. These birds do cooperative hunting in pairs with the male lanner flushing the prey then the female finishing the kill. Breeding birds lay there eggs on edges of cliff or sometimes take over nests built by ravens. They lay 3-4 eggs.

Activities in Samburu National Reserve Kenya.

Samburu National Reserve comes with a myriad of activities and these include game drives, nature walks and birding

Game drives in Samburu National Reserve

Attractions in Samburu Reserve KenyaGame drives in Samburu national reserve are a rewarding encounter as you get to meet and greet with your eyes not hands some of Africa’s wilderness finest mammals like 4 out of 5 of Africa’s big five which include the king of the jungle the lions, elephants, cape buffaloes, leopards

Birding in Samburu National Reserve

Birding in Nairobi National Park is a birder’s frenzy given its array of bird species that habituate in this national park. A birders trip to Samburu national reserve should culminate into a sight of bird species like grey headed king fishers, marabou stock, tawny eagle, vulturine guineafowl, yellow billed hornbill, secretary birds, northern red billed hornbill, singing bush lark, spotted palm thrush, white headed mouse bird, yellow vented eremomela, lanner falcon, hunter’s sunbird, acacia tit bare eyed thrush.

Nature walks in Samburu National Reserve

Nature walks are one way of the best ways to explore this national park given its gentle land scape making it easy for you to traverse this park on foot. You will definitely appreciate the diversity of nature here while on a nature walk as you will be in a prime position to see most of the natural ingredients that make up this eco system in action from point blank range as they go about their business.

Accessing Samburu National Reserve Kenya.

Accessing Samburu National Reserve can be achieved by both road and air transport means

Road transport: Samburu National Reserve is 165km or 2.5-hour drive away from Nairobi city the capital of Kenya. The ride to Samburu National Reserve is quite a comfortable one for the greater part as it done of well tarmacked roads.

Air transport: Flights to Samburu National Reserve are provided by Air Kenya and these flights depart from Wilson airport in Nairobi at cost about 210-240$ one way and 351-400$. There is one flight daily to Samburu National Reserve.