Given that we’d spent almost 10 days in Tanzania, when we were planning our trip we thought we’d then head to Kenya and go on Safari from Nairobi. As we figured it would be a long time, if ever, until we visited Kenya again, we decided to make the most of it and booked an 8 day safari with Natural World Tours and Safaris. Word of advice – don’t book an 8 day safari. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been great and we’ve enjoyed ourselves immensely; however, all the days are very similar and started to blend into each other, and 8 days is just too long. I’d definitely recommend doing closer to 6 days, or maybe even 4 but spending a bit of extra money upgrading the lodges and vehicle instead.
We were picked up from Nairobi at 730am on Friday by our driver, Charles. After introductions and loading luggage, we were off and headed to north Kenya. Roads in Kenya are pretty hit and miss, with some of them being brand new and others not even paved. There does not seem to be a rhyme or reason in deciding what roads to fix, so the entire way there was a mix of smooth sailing and rattling bones (mostly the later though).
We got to the gate of the park at about 2pm (we were starving by this point, having to wait for lunch once we arrived at the lodge), only to be told by Charles that we had about another hour to go through the park before we got there. I was getting hangry by this point, but this was slightly remedied by the fact that we saw some animals quite quickly during our drive.
Eventually arriving at our lodge – Sentrim Samburu – we were welcomed warmly and showed to our room before being taken to lunch. As we were waiting for food, Charles let us know that, due to it being low season, we were the only guests there! There are a number of other lodges scattered around the park that had guests; however, the Sentrium is the farthest from the gates and at that point no one else had booked.
We stayed for 2 nights, and the staff were very attentive. After a few conversations with them, it was pretty obvious that they were very bored and glad we were there as it gave them something to do! We went on a short game drive on Friday evening, although we didn’t see anything that night. Regardless of what park we were in, we had pretty much the same schedule – wake up early and go for a long game drive in the morning, usually between 730 and 12, come back to the lodge for lunch and the afternoon, before heading out again aroud 4/4:30 -630 for an evening drive.
Samburu was pretty neat because it has quite a few animals in a relatively small park, and because it’s a bit out of the way it’s often very quiet. On our full day there we saw elephants, giraffes, lions, impalas, gazelles, lots of birds, and more then I can remember. We hunted for the Grevy Zebras (endangered) as Samburu is one of the only places in Kenya to see them, but unfortunately we were unable to spot any, and none of the other guides or locals had seen them either. We were lucky however, that on our way out of the park on Sunday morning, a lone male was eating not far from the road near the gates, so we at least got to see him if nothing else.
Over all, we both really enjoyed Samburu and would recommend a visit. The only downside is that it is very far away from everything, so be prepared for a long, bumpy, hot ride there and back. Other then the zebras, there is nothing in Samburu that you can’t find anywhere else. That being said, the landscape is very different from the lake parks and the Masai Mara, and that in itself made it completely different, even though the animals were the same.