Samburu County

Attractions in Samburu County

16. Mathews Range

The splendid Mathews Range runs for 150 kms from the mid area of Namunyak Conservancy southerly trending into Kalama Conservancy, oriented in a north-south strike. The Range is typified by a steep topography and granite outcrops that make much of the area inaccessible. Its highest point at Warges Peak rises to 2,688 ms. The forest cover is lionized for being in the best condition of all the sky island forests in Northern Kenya thanks to its remoteness and steep rugged terrain which preclude easy access, and cultural prohibitions or compatible use of the forest. Mathews Range was gazetted in 1956 and declared a forest reserve in 1964. When gazetted the forest was recorded as approximately 97.4 km2 of which 25% was closed canopy forest, 50% mixed forest and 25% was shrub or grassland. Dubbed Lenkiyio Hills, Mathew’s Range is a rich biodiversity hotspot that stakes a claim as one of the most beautiful sights in Kenya. As a roadside attraction, views of the Mathews Range are exceptional at the western-end of the all-weather C79 Archer’s Post-Wamba Road that travels along the borders of Namunyak Conservancy (south) and Kalama and Westgate Conservancies (north), over the Mathews Range, to drop down into Wamba Town. It provides gratifying scenery and abundance of big game at Kitich Camp and Sarara Camp.

Mathews Mountain Range. Image Courtesy of Ker & Downey
Mathews Mountain Range. Image Courtesy of Ker & Downey

17. Kitich Camp

As one of two speciality safari destinations within Namunyak Conservancy, the award-winning Kitich Camp, agreeably set on the slopes of Mathews Range and surrounded in all directions by picturesque forests, evokes the essence of wild Africa, eyeing this salubrious and healthful range that has remained untouched for centuries.  Kitich Camp is widely-lauded as one of the most luxurious camps in Northern Kenya. Each of its six-luxury-tented camps overlook River Ngeng and Mathews Range. Caller to the lodge get to explore its beauty with the help of local expert guides.  Then, there are the crystal clear rock pools, sun-downers and intimate cultural tours to some of the Samburu Villages about Kitich Camp.

18. Sarara Camp

Established in 2005 along the eastern footslopes of Mathews Range within the Namunyak Conservancy, the prestigious ten-luxury-camps Sarara Camp is one of only three safari lodges in Kenya to receive the coveted distinction of “Unique Lodges of the World” – a global collection of about 45 unique hotels and lodges spanning six continents collated by National Geographic.  “The only permanent camp for hundreds of miles, Sarara sits on a raised escarpment overlooking the Mathews. Below their craggy, cedar-studded slopes, dry bush country unfolds. Bubbling springs rise in the hills, providing precious water to the Samburu people and the wildlife species that inhabit this ancient land”. The Camp, in a typically hot-low country, is pleasantly cool and health-giving thanks to effects of the mountain and its elevation, with well over 380 km2 of backyard forest to enjoy fairytale sights of wildest Africa. All its spacious safari-style camps, with thatched roofs, are raised to take in as much of this views. There is a rock-hewn infinity pool too. Among the highlights at Sarara Camp are game drives through Namunyak, tours to Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, cultural passages into Samburu Villages at Singing Wells, bush sun-downers, evening campfires and stargazing.

Sarara Camp. Image Courtesy of Bush and Beyond
Sarara Camp. Image Courtesy of Bush and Beyond

19. Singing Wells

The relation that the Samburu Morani have with their livestock is a fascinating point in studying the Samburu Culture of Northern Kenya. Singing is one of the vibrant forms of self expression among the Samburu people and a venerable old tradition that transcends many aspects of their ancient pastoral life. With water being scarce in this part of Kenya, and the livestock so important, the Samburu ritual when they take their animals to a watering well is in many ways a riveting experience. For good living, and to keep order, each Samburu Morani sings to his own herd, and one by one his herd responds to his singing by only drinking out a designated trough – to avoid livestock from getting mixed up at the far-off and far-between watering points.  These Singing Wells rituals are centuries old. 

View of a Singing Wells in Samburu County.  Image Courtesy of KPBS

One of the highlights of the Namunyak area must be a visit to the famous “Sarara” Singing Wells.  Samburu warriors bring their cattle to these watering holes on a daily basis during the dry season.   The warriors descend into the wells which can be up to 10 meters deep, form a human chain and chant traditional Samburu songs as they pass water up by hand for the cattle.   This fascinating ritual goes on for several hours a day. – Bush and Beyond (Sarara Camp).

20. Sera Conservancy

The 3,450 km2 Sera Conservancy, more proper Sera Wildlife Trust, arrays the largest widlife conservation area in Northern Kenya. Its western boundary runs astride the A2 Isiolo-Archer’s Post-Merille Road for 104 kms from Archer’s Post until Merille Town; extending about 30 kms at its widest easterly towards Merti and Barata. It was established in 2001 under Northern Rangelands Trust with the aim of bringing together three historically rival ethnic groups and to foster conservation and sustainable use of resources in their traditional lands. Unique to Sera Conservancy is that it is the only place in Eastern Africa where visitors can actively track the black rhino on foot, and is the only sanctuary in Eastern Africa to operate a sanctuary principally dedicated to the vital conservation of the endangered black rhinos. Despite its size, Sera Conservancy has real beauty about it, with plenty of mind-blowing landforms. The landscape is typified by a mix of bush and grassland with a few forest patches teeming with respectable wildlife. It is also well watered. Some of the perennial streams include Kisima Hamsini, Lenkolii, Lerigrig, Lontopi and Lchoro losowan. Other water sources include boreholes, hand pumps and shallow wells at Kapai, Chapulo, Lesura, Losesia, Laresoro, Lbaa Lolparuai, Sereolipi lugga, Kauro, Naitolai, Lenkaya, Lantana and Turgung. In recent times, the discovery of a ‘Rock Gong’ and ‘Rock Painting’ at Kisima Hamsini, mused to be a few thousand years old, highlighted its historic importance. Its HQs office is located about 47 north of Archer’s Post.

21. Saruni Rhino Camp

Situated deep within the expansive Sera Conservancy – 15 kms east of Sereolipi and the A2 Road – along the banks of the River Kauro, the six-camps Saruni Rhino Camp was one of three “Best African retreats” to receive the prestigious World Travel Award (2017) – for its high flown ambiance and unconventional architecture that blends seamlessly to the arid-scape of Samburu County. Set about two-hours drive from its sister establishment Saruni Samburu Lodge at Kalama Conservancy, this also offers a singular twist of authentic safari on an opulent scale. Here too, the luxury-camps with private verandas are set on a prominent upland rock looking out to the knockout scenery. The wildlife move with seasonal trends, adding an element of surprise in game tracking favouring the game viewer exploring Sera Conservancy on open top game drives but by no means eliminating the holiday-maker on its chic camp lookout. At Saruni Rhino Camp guests enjoy seclusion on a rather grandiose scale, having to themselves miles upon miles of untouched wilderness. Other highlights include; the Black Rhino tracking experience, the Samburu well-being space, and hiking Ololokwe.

Spatial Location of Saruni Rhino within Sera Conservancy
Spatial Location of Saruni Rhino within Sera Conservancy