Samburu National Park

 Posted by Elizabeth at 6:33 pm
Jul 272011

Samburu National ParkAfter spending yet another couple of nights at Jungle Junction in Nairobi, and meeting up again with Jean and Malcolm who were still there awaiting their departure north, we decided to head north to Samburu National Park. The park is definitely worth the visit due to the different animals you will see there, but the entry fees are ridiculous. It cost us $US70 per person, yet if we were a non resident on an organised tour then it would only be $US40 – how does that logic work?? We tried to get them to only charge us the tour rate but needless to say we weren’t successful. At least this time the car was only 300Ksh ($3).

We had not decided if we would camp or not, and seeing as it was our wedding anniversary we decided to check out a couple of the lodges. The first wanted $US560 for a tent in the dirt and wouldn’t budge. We then tried Samburu Lodge who originally wanted $US440 but we ended up paying $US286 after pleading poor and telling them it was our anniversary. We had a lovely large banda with a fantastic hot shower with full water pressure, the food was plentiful and quite nice and the lodge itself was pleasant – they even feed the crocodiles right next to the bar each night. Our park fees only allowed us to stay until 5pm so mid afternoon we thought we had better check out where we were going to stay as it was too far to drive anywhere else. We negotiated at the park gate to let us go out and check out a community camp a couple of kilometres away and then either come back in and stay until 6.30pm, or, if we stayed in the park again, to only charge us $70 rather than the full rate as we needed to leave first thing in the morning to get to our next destination. The community camp was OK, but I didn’t feel quite comfortable enough as we were about as far north in Kenya as you can go and still be “safe” and the camp was pretty much in the village. We decided to head back to Samburu Lodge and see what deal we could strike. They offered the same rate as the previous night so we took it. Long story, but we ended up with a smaller, although still nice room, we had no water in the shower either at night or again in the morning (they did try to fix it and the whole camp had an issue) and then in the morning when we tried to collect our lunch boxes we were told they would be 40 minutes but we had to be out of the park by 9am and did not have time to wait. Not happy! The manager was quite understanding though and tried to appease us. In the end we paid less than the local rate – $US150 which was pretty good.

Beisa Oryx, Samburu National ParkSamburu National ParkReticulated giraffes, Samburu National Park

Leopard, Samburu National ParkSamburu had some new animals for us, namely the Gerenuk, Grevy’s Zebra, Reticulated Giraffe and the Beisa Oryx which made it worth the trip. We also saw elephants, lions, dik-diks, impala, buffalo, baboons, vervet monkeys, hare, crocodiles, black-backed jackal, mongooses, waterbucks, warthogs, grant’s gazelles, squirrels and a leopard tortoise. The highlight though was finding a leopard sitting on a fallen tree trunk about 10 metres from the road, elevated just above the bushes with no branches or leaves obstructing him AND we had him all to ourselves for about 10 minutes. A tour van then turned up, sent out the call on the radio and within minutes every vehicle in the park was crowded around him stuck in a traffic jam on a track that was only wide enough for one vehicle at a time. Needless to say we moved off shortly after they arrived and had the rest of the park to ourselves.

Leopard, Samburu National ParkReticulated giraffes, Samburu National ParkSamburu National ParkGerenuk, Samburu National Park

Grevy's zebra, Samburu National ParkVulturine guineafowl, Samburu National ParkSamburu National Park

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