Located in the former Rift Valley province, Samburu is now a county on its own. The county is largely occupied by the Samburu community, who are part of the Nilotic speakers.
They practice nomadism, just like their cousin tribe, the Maasais and hold dear their traditional customs that have been passed down for generations.
They also have intriguing practices that they staunchly adhere to, you wouldn’t want to miss out.
Now buckle your seat belts as I take you through the list of fun activities to engage in and places to visit in this beautiful land of Samburu.
Samburu National Reserve
Brace yourself for an epic interaction with wildlife at the Samburu National Reserve.
The world’s rare species such as Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, Beisa oryx, reticulated giraffe and Gerenuk are all found here, alongside other species.
The reserve is bordered by the Ewaso Nyiro river to the South, which means you can walk by the banks of the river, enjoying the beautiful scenery.
They have local guides to take you on game drives across the reserve, explaining in detail the details of every animal you come across.
There are nature trails as well, ideal for treks with family and friends, gazing at the plains beyond.
Camping sites are also found within, should you wish to extend your stay for a few days, and also, your security is highly guaranteed, not to mention how much they prioritize the welfare of their visitors.
Camel Riding In Samburu
A visit to Samburu and its environs will not be complete without a camel ride. The sheer thrill of being on top of one is a feeling to contend with.
The camels are found almost everywhere in Samburu county, but the proper way to enjoy riding them is by taking part in the Camel derby festival that takes place in Maralal at least once every year, mostly mid-year.
Different species are brought together for this special festival. Visitors travel from all over to behold the sight of seeing so many camels all in one place.
A local guard will help you out by guiding the camel to the villages, taking you to different places along the area of Maralal.
There’s no better way to take a tour around other than on a camel, the adrenaline rush is definitely worth it, being high up, and the views you get are definitely not disappointing.
Visiting Loroghi Hills
What’s a holiday without some hiking activity? Loroghi Hills are the ideal destination for both beginners and experienced hikers.
In a series of escarpments, the peaks are about 2500 meters high. The hike may be a little tiring, but it’s all worth it once you get up there.
The Loroghi Hills give a stunning view of the vast Samburu plains and their environs.
On a good day, you might even spot diverse wild animals such as monkeys and antelopes.
The hills are covered in thick green bushland and vegetation, making them a perfect spot for bird watching, or simply a clean break from noisy town centres.
The most enticing thing about the Loroghi hills is the tranquillity, serenity and fresh clean air, ideal for some solitude and soul-searching.
Camping is also allowed, just bring along a sleeping bag and some bedding. Not too heavy though, the temperatures at Samburu will make you want to strip down to the bare minimum.
Visiting The Kirisia Forest
Located towards the North of Samburu county, near the Leroghi plateau, Kirisia forest has a thick covering of dense vegetation that stretches over acres of land.
The forest is home to different plant and tree species, as well as a wide array of birds and monkeys.
They have local experienced guides who’ll give you a tour of the expansive forest, giving details about the plants found there.
The chirping of birds is unmistakable, leave alone the crisp fresh air that the trees offer. It’s the perfect definition of calm and serene, ideal for walks and treks.
Should you wish for some alone time, Kirisia Forest is perfect for that as well, since the aura itself is simply therapeutic.
Touring Maralal National Sanctuary
This is a hidden gem located in the small town of Maralal. There are numerous activities that you can engage in at the sanctuary, ranging from game drives to seeing leopards, buffaloes and hyenas and even camel riding at the sanctuary.
Picture game watching at close quarters on top of a camel, that’s a sheer thrill. They, too, have nature trails perfect for walks and lazy strolls in the sun, leaving all cares to the world.
Accommodation facilities are plenty since the sanctuary has an on-site lodge to put up their guests at pocket-friendly prices.
Should you want something less formal, there’s a camping site located within the sanctuary as well.
Camping will give you an opportunity to interact first-hand with nature, listen to the sounds at night and fall asleep under the clear skies.
Hiking at Mount Ol Lolokwe
This mountain is at a very strategic point, you won’t miss it.
Going up the mountain will definitely sap all your energy since it takes about 5-7 hours to get up there, you have to be well motivated to ace it.
It’s all worth the hassle though, since the view from atop the mountain is magnificent, looking at the whole of Samburu and the surrounding plains stretching over vast lands.
You can set camp at the mountain if you wish and keep getting awed by the beauty of nature.
Reteti Elephant Sanctuary
In an act of compassion and empathy, the Reteti sanctuary was established to rescue elephants and found calves whose lives were in danger.
The elephants were widely hunted by poachers for their tasks and were on the brink of extinction. At the sanctuary, they’re well cared for and nursed back to health.
The sanctuary was opened on 20th August 2016 and is owned by the Namunyak community.
Establishing the sanctuary was a win-win situation, in that orphaned and hunted elephants were rescued and well cared for, and the proceeds earned from the sanctuary are channelled towards developing the host community.
You should definitely put this sanctuary on your bucket list and get to interact with wildlife and humanity for a small fee.
The local guides are friendly and might even allow you to feed the elephants on a good day.
Don’t forget to tip the guards for the good work they’re doing in preserving wildlife.
Witnessing The Limuget Ceremony
The Samburu definitely have a culture that is the envy of many, from the customs that they struggle to adhere to, to how vibrant their ceremonies are, not forgetting how hospitable and homely they are.
The Limuget ceremony is an occasion that takes place once every seven years to mark the graduation of morans to elders.
Due to the rarity of the occasion, the celebration is marked with pomp and much jubilation.
If you happen to visit Samburu when the ceremony takes place, make this your first stopover.
You’ll be breath taken by the red ochre smeared on the heads and bodies of the young lads and the number of beautiful ornaments the women wear.
Now, a ceremony isn’t complete without a full-course meal, and the Samburu are well known for their meat cooking prowess, you don’t want to miss out.
Sarova Shaba Lodge
They say all work and no play make Jack a dull boy. Vacations should be spent in luxury and comfort to simply unwind and rejuvenate.
The Sarova Shaba Lodge is the ideal destination for all this.
Located about 31 kilometres from the Samburu airstrip, and along the Ewaso Nyiro river, the four-star hotel spells luxury from the moment you walk in.
Don’t mind denting your pocket? They have you covered with top tier facilities and amenities to ensure you get the feel of a ‘home away from home.’
Their facilities range from an average of USD 150 a night depending on the services you get.
They also have terraces to ensure your view of the environs is up to standard.
The temperatures in Samburu can be quite high, so if it gets too hot, all you have to do is take a dip at the outdoor pool.
In case your muscles are feeling tense, all you have to do is call on the spa to flex your body a little.
The chefs here don’t disappoint with a wide array of both local and international cuisines, both made up to standard, not to mention that the drinks at their bar with the selection of songs that come along are simply unrivalled