Following our stay at Lolldaiga Hills, we ventured to Samburu Game Reserve for more excitement. Samburu is a county found some 345 kilometres from Nairobi and is around 165 square kilometres in size. It is arid to semi-arid so the climate is wholly different to that found in Nanyuki or even Lolldaiga’s. It was scorching hot upon our arrival and incredibly dusty with no signs that there had been any rain fall in some considerable time.
It took a drive of approximately 3 hours to reach our destination and once we had entered Samburu Game Reserve, we slowly made our way along the bumpy tracks to our accommodation which was aptly named Elephant Bedroom. The topography is vastly different to where we had just visited.
It is much more desert like and the heat enveloped us like a suffocating blanket. Wherever we went, the dust swirled around the vehicle like a mini tornado and the speed at which the car was driven made no difference at all to the trail of dust left in our wake.
Samburu is famed for its wild life such as Grevy’s Zebra, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, Beisa Oryx and Somali ostrich as well as a healthy population of big cats and also, it is home to over 900 elephants. Our accommodation was found on the banks of the mighty Ewaso Nyiro river which hosts plenty of giant crocodiles. There is reputed to be over 450 species of birds and as we travelled along, we saw plenty of feathered friends flitting round frivolously, enjoying the freedom of this expansive reserve.
Upon our arrival at Elephant Bedroom, it became immediately apparent why the lodge has this name as there were two rather large male elephants mooching around the car park area. We were warmly welcomed by the staff members and informed that the two visiting elephants were known as Tom and Obama. We were astounded! The elephants were unbelievably close to us but unperturbed by us and gently rubbed each other with greetings, tenderly caressing each other, oblivious to our open-mouthed staring at them.
We continued on to our rooms and it was a delight to realise that we were in luxurious tents a mere stone’s throw from the river with a wonderful plunge pool. This plunge pool was very much welcomed and offered cool relief from the intense heat.
As we readied ourselves to pop back out into the reserve, we were dumbstruck to note that one of the big elephants who had been by the car park when we entered, namely Tom, strolled past our lodge only metres from us and wandered through camp looking for a bite to eat. He sauntered to the neighbouring tent where our friends were staying and loitered in the bushes, steadily munching his way through the plants. We couldn’t believe our luck! Mr Nomad and I left the safety of our tent and snuck behind our friend’s tent, creeping underneath the stilted structure to observe the world’s biggest land mammal taking an afternoon snack. He was in touching distance and we were mesmerised.
We watched him from underneath the tent, then crept up onto the balcony of another tent and if we had wished to disturb the elephant, we could have reached out to feel his leathery skin. We did however, leave him in peace, all the while transfixed by his presence. We couldn’t believe our luck and had to pinch ourselves, as if reminding each other that this wasn’t a dream and that there really was a huge magnificent elephant grazing right in front of our very eyes. It was breath taking!
We did proceed out into the reserve and whilst it felt as if nothing could beat the proximity of Tom, we did manage to spot a beautiful cheetah. He or she simply sat bolt upright in the dense scrub, almost daring us to get closer although we did not attempt this so as not to disturb this elegant creature.
We were also lucky enough to spot plenty of gazelle, impala, warthogs, Beisa oryx, gerenuk and many giraffe. There was an abundance of elephants and we seemed to see them at every turn within the reserve. We spotted a solitary Grevy’s zebra on our travels which is always a delight when knowing how endangered this species is.
We snaked our way along the river, taking in the glorious environment and whilst we did see a giant crocodile sheltering in the water, we didn’t spy one out of the water.
We were privileged enough to see many of the 450 species of birds that reside within the reserve including a Tawny eagle, a pair of Bateleur eagles, vultures forever circling over head and plenty of smaller birds such as a beautiful Grey-Headed kingfisher. Mr Nomad accompanied by our friend Marc valiantly rescued a Superb starling who had become entangled in a thorny bush and this was a lovely moment, to be able to assist a feathery friend in such a dire situation before he became a meal for a larger bird of prey or indeed, a furry predator.
It is always precarious to alight the car and leave the safety of the vehicle in such wild surroundings but the bird could not be allowed to suffer and myself and our other friend, Vanessa were able to maintain a look out and watch the backs of the Starling saviours.
The drive through the reserve was amazing, and the wild life witnessed was as ever, spell binding. The accommodation was nothing short of spectacular and it had most certainly lived up to its name. Numerous feathery friends had joined us at meal times and Mr Nomad had even managed to hand feed a red-billed Hornbill so the wild life inside the camp was just as fantastic as the wild life outside of camp. A tremendous thunder storm on our final day failed to dampen our mood nor had it extinguished the magic of Samburu.
It was a shame to have to leave such an enchanting place but Mr Nomad and I were overwhelmed to share such a dreamy location with our best friends. It was a joy to revel in such escapades with others and we are firmly of the opinion that everybody should be able to share such experiences. Whilst our friends will have to return home, and our next destination would be the airport, Mr Nomad and I will be sure to return in the future for more adventures in this most magical of landscapes.