A Wildlife Preview Of A Game Drive In Samburu National Reserve

The whole land has turn to be dry and we are deep in the dry season in Samburu and further North. Most of the shrubs, trees and grass are completely finished in some areas. The life giving river Uaso Ngiro is also too low and people within region are also struggling to graze their animals where there is little pasture. There is a lot of migration taking place—- all in search of water and pasture.
In the reserve, our safaris have been enjoyable and successful in terms of big cats sighting. Samburu’s large carnivores – lions, leopards and cheetahs – are coping very well. Our guests see cats making kills almost daily.

The 5 cubs and 2 females are eating a full grown warthog which was just killed by Nanai (mother of three). We have also recorded Namunyak has been limping on the right foreleg for quite some time now.

Due to lack water in the region, lots of prey concentrates within the water areas and the same makes it easier for carnivores to find the prey coming to the river. In this time therefore is the best time to see the predators because they spend more time concentrating along Uaso Ngiro River, and are also more lethargic, making it easier for carnivores to ambush them.
This family has been most of their time it’s in the reserve near Koitogo mt.. Their hunting has been successful due the number of warthogs, Zebras, Oryx which has increased in the park. The family has many a times with warthog kill and many other time killing Zebras and other game.

Cubs eating Zebra carcass

Few other rare animals has been recorded in the reserve including kudus (lesser and greeter) 5 lesser kudus which was amazing, over 300 Grevy’s Zebras, lots of impalas, waterbuck, giraffes, grant gazelles plus of course the big cats.

Wild dogs have been recorded in the reserve but they are not regular visitors.


The female lioness and her three cubs visit the river banks of Uaso Ngiro River during the afternoon hours to cool down their bodies from the intense high temperatures which are recorded during the day. The cubs are fond of eating the grass at the river banks to induce puking which is a natural way of cleaning their stomach from impurities eaten earlier from its prey.
The female Cheetah and her two cubs are very patient and hopeful animals when it comes to hunting expeditions. Despite their hunger strikes, they are able to focus and strategize on getting their next prey. The cheetah converts its hunger strain into power and agility into hunting for its prey. It never gives up hope. The female Cheetah has a greater responsibility of getting a prey this is due to her cubs that have no greater or minimal experience and ability on hunting for its prey.

The cheetah has a remarkable reputation of capturing its prey after a day as compared to the other cats which spend almost two to three days towards capturing their next meal. Cheetahs are not heavy eaters but there are known for their speed both in eating and running as compared to lions and leopards. This can be explained well by their streamlined body structures.Leopards are good tree climbers due to their muscles on both the front and hind legs. The female leopard at Samburu National Reserve which was spotted on top a tree during evening hours and later on, the following day in the morning at the hills was considered to be leading a solitary life, which in general it’s their nature. They protect and monitor their territory from other predators.

The leopard has a good eye sight capability when it comes to sighting of their prey on top of trees. They can stay up to more than half an hour focusing and strategizing on how to hunt at the marked prey. Sometimes lions depend on them for their survival whereby they wait for leopards to kill and the run to snatch the kill. This has been very common in Samburu whereby young male lions hide near leopard’s territories to try their luck.

The Reticulated Giraffe, Water back, Impalas, Oryx, Somali Ostrich, Grevy’s Zebra and the dik diks are all the prey of the big Cats that are found in Samburu National Reserve.



Impalas numbers have increase for the last five years and that made it easy for the lions to hunt them. Oryx are also preferred due to the size which can fill the whole pride at once. The Water Bucks meat has got a lot of fatty tissue around their muscles thus it’s the least of the big Cats favorite prey.
We happen to meet the Gerenuk feeding on small tree shrubs standing on its two feet and with its long neck, which is its adaptive feature and means of survival in the wild which is a major advantage among the family of herbivores game animals.




Report by Steve Tilas and pictures by Jelly Loloju – Safari Guides, Samburu Intrepids Camp.
©Heritage Hotels Ltd, Kenya. http://www.heritage-eastafrica.com/


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