Samburu & Matthews Range

Arid, craggy terrain with Doum palms tracing the river lines.


Safaris in Samburu National Park & Shaba

Wild and soul-stirring, Samburu National Park lies in the tribal lands of the Samburu people. It is nestled in a hot and arid thorn bush area north of Mount Kenya. Here, in the Samburu and the adjacent Buffalo Springs Game Reserve you have the chance to see some ”dry area” wildlife that you won’t easily see elsewhere in Kenya.  These include the rare reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, Somali ostrich, Grevy’s zebra and Beisa oryx.


Samburu National Park lies north of the Ewaso Ng’iro river – with a craggy terrain with Doum palms tracing the river lines. It’s a mix of rolling plains, rocky outcrops and thorn bush. Buffalo Springs lies south of the river. To the east lies Shaba National Reserve, dominated by Shaba Hill. This is a beautiful little park. The leopards love it because of its rocky terrain and steep ravines. Here the endangered wild dog are also sometimes found.

The river is the lifeblood of the Samburu region, especially in the dry season. Elephant, buffalo, cheetah, lion and leopard come to quench their thirst. Plus the dry terrain gives low grass cover and thus easier game-viewing.

The birdlife here is among the most spectacular in the world, with over 400 species recorded, mostly near the river.

Samburu Cultural Interaction

A particular facet of Samburu is the interaction with the local Samburu tribes. They are excellent guides and you gain a fascinating insight into their culture. You may want to visit the community projects which are run by many Samburu camps.

There are some great private safari camps in the region and our favourite camps are the luxurious Sasaab Camp and Saruni Samburu camp.

Matthews Mountain Range

North of both Laikipia and Samburu is the Matthews Range, a remote, unspoilt and rarely visited area. Wildlife find this verdant forest a natural refuge amid its arid surroundings.  You can spot elephant, buffalo, kudu, waterbuck and giant forest hog as well as a variety of forest birds. Leopard, lion and wild dog are also present but less commonly seen. One of the Matthews Range camps we like is the charming Kitich Camp which specializes in scenic walking safaris. This is a welcome change after several days of sitting on game-vehicles.

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