On the banks of the Ewaso Ng’iro River in the Samburu District of the Rift Valley Province is Samburu National Park. This park offers excellent wildlife and bird spotting opportunities in a peaceful atmosphere.
Situated within the ancient land of the Samburu people who are closely related to the Maasai, the park was established in 1948 initially as part of the Marsabit National Reserve. This area was gazetted in 1961 and a senior game warden suggested that an area north of the river be set aside as a game reserve. Out of this area came Samburu National Park in 1962.
The Ewaso Ng’iro River is the lifeline of the park attracting wildlife to its banks. In an otherwise arid region, Samburu and other neighbouring reserves host animals like lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants and hippos while the river itself is teeming with Nile crocodiles. Rare animals like the long-necked gerenuk, gravy’s zebra and the reticulated giraffe are found in the reserve. Samburu was the home of two famous lionesses, Elsa of the book and film “Born Free” fame and Kamunyak who became well known after adopting two oryx calves.
Samburu is not only rich in wildlife, it is also very significant historically. Between the 1960s and 1970s more than 160 fossil remains of early man (including Homo habilis and Homo erectus) were discovered. An additional 4,000 mammal and stone age artefacts have also been uncovered.