Safari, Days 4-5: Samburu

young bull elephant in Samburu

We flew from Amboseli to Samburu National Reserve in a Safarilink Cessna 206 (our takeoff was slightly delayed as they had to shoo zebras off the runway, you know, as so often happens). We arrived in the mid-afternoon and were immediately taken on a game drive. Each location we visited was unique – the terrain, the climate, the animals – everywhere we went we saw new things. Samburu was home to Grevy’s zebras, reticulated giraffes, elephants, gerenuks, oryx(um, oryxi?), olive baboons, more dik-dik’s and lots and lots of birds. We stayed at a resort called Samburu Intrepids for the two nights we were there. This was an actual resort, with lots of “tents” (I use the term loosely as the only thing tent-like was the zipper that closed us in – everything else was quite deluxe – no bucket showers there!). We had electricity, lots of hot water and Internet. It was a nice break but it felt a lot less authentic than the other places we stayed. As it was much more hotel-like we also had no interaction with fellow guests, which we also missed. This place, of all the places we stayed, had a more “colonial Africa” feel – and that wasn’t a good thing, IMHO.

amazing sunset in SamburuWe spent a lot of free time in the communal areas taking advantage of the Internet to get caught up with email, photo editing, etc. We also quickly figured out what “full board” meant on our itinerary. Drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic and including regular water) were not included. That added up pretty quickly. They also had a huge staff that included porters (God help you if you tried to wheel your own bag anywhere) and everyone expected tips. At all the other places we stayed tips were done at the end and for the whole staff (a much nicer model).

On our second day there the morning started with a heavy rain that prevented our morning game drive but allowed us a little downtime to relax and read and get caught up on email, news, etc. We went out in the afternoon and spent about 4 hours looking for animals. We spent a lot of time off-roading (I think our very nice driver wanted to give us a nice authentic experience but he didn’t know that we had already had the ultimate off-road experience in Amboseli though I’ll give him an “A” for effort). We did get to experience another breathtaking sunset (is there any other kind in Kenya?!).

Happily for us, the rain in Samburu didn’t get in the way of our flight to the Mara – there was a bit of confusion about what airfield we were flying out of (our flight reservations said one thing but everybody on the ground knew it was another airfield). not sure what happened there, as it was never explained to us but hey, it all worked out, thanks Gamewatchers, as always!).

More photos here.