Attractions in Samburu County
6. Umoja Cultural Village
This uniquely women only manyatta-inspirited cultural village, close to Archer’s Post, was inspired by a growing need to find creative ideas that honour the life of Samburu women and provide a self-sustaining source of income; in the male-dominated Samburu Community. At best, Umoja Cultural Village offers a novel glimpse into the guarded ways of the Samburu Tribe – their history, rituals and intriguing cultures like the beaded jewelry project. Umoja Cultural Village also has middle-budget furnished bandas that are a great starting-point from where trippers to Samburu County can explore its diversity. It is located near Archer’s Post and just 2 kms along the dirt road heading into Samburu National Reserve.
7. Nashipa Eco Camp
The Nashipa Eco Camp, 50 metres before Samburu National Reserve, is owned and operated by the Samburu Community, adoringly described as the ‘Butterfly People’ by reason of their beautiful dress styles accessorized by colorful beaded jewelry. While it is one of the smaller safari lodges around Samburu N. Reserve, Nashipa lacks nothing in authentic cultural experiences and safari necessities. Those interested in taking part in community projects or simply exploring the dreamlike ways of life of the Samburu can spend time with local women to learn unique crafts like beading. “These encounters are dignified and respectful, with none of the hustle and bustle of many cultural visits in other parts of Kenya”. The overall design of the camp, along the Ewaso Nyiro River, is simple, earthy, rough and ready, and constructed entirely from local material and indigenous knowledge. It has modern toilets, running water, hot showers and electricity for convenience. The camps’ sleep two to four people, each with a slightly different experience. ‘The main house (Sampur hall) at the front of the site offers superb panoramas of the river and to Koitogor Hill where the legendary lions rock sits’.
8. Samburu National Reserve
Unofficially gifted the title of big game country, the 165 km2 Samburu National Reserve is aggrandized for harboring one of the largest grouping of elephants in Northern Kenya in addition to its respectable numbers of all other members of Africa’s high-minded big-five – lion, leopard, rhino and cape buffalo. Unique perhaps to Samburu National Reserve is that it also hosts all the members of the uncelebrated special five – Beisa oryx, reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, Somali’s ostrich and Gerenuk antelope – which are an unusual and select band of exotic game endemic to the northern region of Kenya. In spite of the drastic reduction in the number of elephants and other big mammals due to poaching in the 1970’s, Samburu National Reserve has turned around this calamity and it is now teemed with a spectacular variety of wildlife, that are the stuff of dreams.
Samburu National Reserve lies north of the River Ewaso Nyiro, which separates it from Shaba and Buffalo Springs National Reserves. It is this river that offers the major attraction to holiday-makers in all these three reserves and especially during the dry season – December to March – when it adopts a shallow change in character and the wooded fringes of tall doum palms form canopies of deep shade affording much welcome relief to man and beast. Here, one comes across, day-to-day, giraffe, buffalo, ostrich, baboon, impala, serval and warthog. Also widespread and sighted frequently are zebra, grant’s gazelle, hyena and eland. The Samburu Game Lodge, built along the banks of River Ewaso Nyiro, is the anchor lodge at Samburu National Reserve. Other options include Saasab Game Lodge, Samburu Intrepids Tented Camp, Sentrim Samburu Lodge, The Serena Lodge and Samburu Sopa Lodge. Samburu Lodge is 20 kms from Archer’s Post.
9. Kalama Conservancy
Formerly known as Gir-Gir Group Ranch and now run by Northern Rangelands Trust on behalf of the local communities, the wide-ranging 385 km2 Kalama Conservancy also contains a good concentration of game and is contiguous with Samburu National Reserve along the northern boundary. Kalama Conservancy forms part of the open-borders wildlife migration corridor that links Nakuprat Gotu and Sera Conservancies with Samburu National Reserve. Here, from the comfort of the luxurious yet kooky and locally-themed Saruni Samburu Lodge, opened in 2009, holiday-makers to Kalama can enjoy the magnificent scenery with fetching views of the fairyland forest of Mathews Range. Also contained at the Conservancy is their community-run Samburu Bead-Works Project where one gets to mingle with the jovial Samburu Community who are in turn happy to give visitors as warm a welcome as can be had in any region of Kenya. Key wildlife species at Kalama Conservancy include elephants, Reticulated giraffes, Beisa oryx, lions, Grevy’s zebras, wild dogs, gerenuk, lesser and greater kudus, leopard, cheetah among others and a diversity of bird species. Those arriving by air land at one of two nearby airstrip or at the helipad at Saruni Lodge. By road, the entry into Kalama Conservancy is 22 kms northeast of Archer’s Post, via A2.
10. Saruni Samburu Lodge
Set roughly in the middle of the 385 km2 Kalama Sanctuary and at the heart of its 3150-hectare core conservation area is the acclaimed Saruni Samburu Lodge comprised of 6-luxury eco-villas raised on a beautifully-appointed upland rock with unprecedented long views of the plains. This elevation suddenly gives you one of the largest and most beautiful wilderness backyards imaginable. And, in the very distant rear, Mount Kenya puts the finishing touch on a most glorious landscape. The emphasis at Saruni Samburu is to take full advantage of these views, which has been masterfully accomplished through the open-plan safari-style luxury set up, cozy outdoors areas with decks and a snug swimming pool, all overlooking the wondrous views. For a more intimate encounter with these wild and savage plains, guests can explore the area on walking safaris in the capable hands of Samburu local experts, or take part in the invigorating rhino tracking safari at Saruni Rhino. Open-top games drives on a long afternoon out gives you the chance to spot the Big-5. Moreover, Saruni Lodge is part of a four member chain of splendid boutique safari destination, alongside Saruni Rhino (Namunyak Conservancy), Saruni Wild Camp (Lemek Conservancy, Mara) and the Saruni Mara Lodge (Mara North), that can be visited on consecutive terms.