Game drives in Samburu National Reserve

The Samburu Spectacular Seven– it’s not quite the rugby team but the animals seen north of the Equator that have adapted to the drylands. On any game drive it’s easy to spot the the Reticulated giraffe, the Grevy’s zebra, the Greater kudu, the gerenuk or the long-necked antelope, the Somali ostrich, the Beisa Oryx but not the blind underground dwelling naked mole rat.

 

The Uaso Nyiro River is a magnet that draws the animals to the river except for the gerenuk and the Beisa oryx – both have never been seen drinking water. The Beisa oryx can increase its body temperature to match the weather and hence conserve precious loss of water through sweat whereas the gerenuk survives from the dew off the leaves.

 

Samburu Intrepids Camp boasts of top-notch naturalists and driver guides who know the every part of the reserve and its natural history.

 

At the end of February, the commiphora trees and the acacia trees shed their leaves and flowers waiting for the long rains, which should begin this month. The Uaso Nyiro has been dry since the beginning of the year and the remaining elephants who have not migrated have to dig for water using their foreleg to suck the cool, filtered water from the subterranean.

 

The dry season is a good time to look for the big cats. The felines, especially the lions hang around the river’s banks waiting for the thirsty herbivores to come for a drink and then make the attack.

 

Since the drought of 2009, 90 percent of the buffaloes wither perished or left the reserve.

 

Amongst some of the more active research in the greater Samburu-Buffalo Springs and neighbouring conservancies like West Gate is the Ewaso Lions Project started by Shivani Bhalla in 2009. Today she and her team of Samburu Warriors have identified 40 lions with files on each. Every lion is identified  by its whisker pattern that is as unique as our fingerprints.

 

With 350 species of birds, Samburu is a birders delight for the resident and non-resident species. The grey hornbill is a local migrant

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