Location: Samburu National Park, Samburu County
Time of Travel: May 2008
An early crisp and cold morning started the day at the Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi. The oldest hotel in East Africa opened its doors in 1904 and today still remains an icon.
Our drive to Samburu started at 6:30 a.m. as we negotiated morning traffic and on to the highway to Thika. Thika is a town in hilly terrain in Kiambu county and world renown for its fruit, primarily pineapples, and coffee farming. Driving through this region is so stimulating…cool breeze in your face and lush plantations all around.
Our journey continued through Karatina and Nanyuki where we could see Mount Kenya, the tallest mountain in Kenya and second highest in Africa after Mount Kilimanjaro.
After Nanyuki we passed through the Laikipia region known for its private game reserves. More on a visit to Laikipia in another post. We soon reached the town of Isiolo and had to refuel and grabbed a small bite. There was apparently some unrest in the region at that time and we had to wait for other vehicles to form a convoy with armed soldiers. While waiting we had a friendly conversation with a fruit seller named Halima. It was not often they came across Indians from India.
After a short wait we were soon on our way.
We soon reached the Ngaremara Gate outside Buffalo Springs Game Reserve. After quick entry procedures we soon reached Samburu Serena Lodge just in time for a late lunch.
After an hour or so we were soon on our way crossing over the Uwaso Nyiro River Bridge in to Samburu National Park.
Samburu National Park is in the semi-arid region North of the Laikipia Region and close to the Somali border. The almost desert like ecosystem. The flora and fauna of Samburu National Park along with Shaba National Reserve and Buffalo Springs National Reserve survive on the Ewaso Nyiro River, which is the longest river in Kenya. It waters are the lifeline for abundant species of mammals, plants and birds.
Samburu National Park is also home to some of the rare northern species such as the Grevy’s Zebra, Somali Ostrich, Reticulated Giraffe, Gerenuk and the Beisa Oryx. This park is one of my favourites in Africa just because its its wonderful landscape, palm groves and riverine forests.
As soon as we entered the park, we saw many baboons and vervet monkeys( better known as the blue ball monkeys due to the colour of their genitalia). It was thoroughly enjoyable to see troops living together as a family with young ones scampering around with no care in the world.
Proceeding further we chose to drive around on the banks of the river.Driving down the river bank we came across many herds of Elephants, gazelles, impala.
As we rounded a bend, we were blocked by The Serena hotel Land Cruiser which had a puncture right on the bank of the river and we stopped to help. We had no choice but to stop just off the trail leading to the river…a trail…used by the elephant herds. Just as luck would have it a mother and her baby decided to leave the river and head into the bush…right behind us. Disturbed by the commotion of the tyre change, her motherly instinct kicked in to protect her baby had she charged our vehicle. But a few loud engine revs from our driver, made her have second thoughts and she quickly sauntered into the bush her baby trotting by her side.
After this exciting incidence we forged on and away from the river and across a Secretary Bird. After a long stretch of emptiness we came across a Cheetah and her cub in the grass. A few close up pictures and we were on the way back to the Lodge for dinner and off to bed.