Travel guide to Samburu National Game Reserve: While planning your next adventurous Kenya safari to Samburu National Game Reserve, this article brings you some of the basic information about this reserve including how to get there, what to see, where to sleep, entrance fees and many more.


Before being Gazette in 1962, Samburu National Game reserve started was a famous hunting ground until 1948 when it was gazette alongside Marsabit Reserve to protect the wildlife species that were residing in this area. The reserve was later on split leading to establishment of the present Samburu national game reserve.

Samburu National Game Reserve is one of the stunning safari destination situated in the Northern part of Kenya past the Kenyan Rift valley and the equator line.  It is about 5 hours’ drive from Nairobi. Samburu National Game Reserve thrives with the unique wildlife species that make it a haven worth a visit in a life time located along River Ewaso Ng’iro. The reserve is famous for the featuring of movies like Born Free. A mother fascinating movie featured in Samburu National Game Reserve is the Heart of a lioness. The most fascinating fact about that movies is that long ago, there was a lioness named Kamunyak that adopted orphaned Oryx Calves. The Lioness who fight even the dangerous predators in order to protect these little 6 oryx calves making her a hero as seen in that movie entitled the heart of a lioness.

What to see in Samburu national game reserve

Samburu national game reserve is such a beautiful travel destination with plenty of tourist attraction but most importantly famous for wildlife and the birdlife. Amongst the animals seen in Samburu national game reserve include Oryx, Giraffes, Zebras, elephants, Gerenuk, Hippos, Leopards, to mention but a few.

On the other hand, Samburu national game reserve thrives with over 350 species of birds making it one of the important birding area in Kenya. Some of the bird species seen in Samburu national game reserve include; Reichenow’s seedeater, Somali ostrich, Chestnut-headed sparrow lark, Weaver birds, Acacia tit, African palm swift, Palm-nut vulture, Fischer’s starling, Greater kestrel, Golden pipit, Pygmy batis, Golden-breasted starling, Northern brownbul, and many more.

NOTE: The special 5 of Samburu National Game reserve include; The Beisa Oryx, Somali Ostrich, reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s Zebra and Gerenuk. Spotting these 5 endangered species in Samburu National Game reserve is such a breath taking experience.

Travel guide to Samburu National Game Reserve
Samburu Special Five

Getting there,

Samburu National Game Reserve can be accessed both by road and by air. By road, the driving distance from Nairobi city to Samburu National Game Reserve takes about 5 hours.  By Air, there are domestic flights from Wilson airstrip to the reserve.

Entrance & other fees to Samburu National Game Reserve

Entry fees and other fees refer to the charges levied from people, vehicles, aircraft, camping and many more. All the fees for Samburu National Game reserve can change at any given period of time so always ensure that you have an updated information about the fees always. The most common mode of payment for these fees is basically by cash either in US dollars or Kenyan Shillings. However, cashless methods are as well available for tourists who do not like moving around with cash and these options include Master card, Visa Card or even use the M-Pesa using your phone.

  1. People Entrance fees

To access Samburu National Game Reserve, there is a stipulated fees charged on per person basis per day. These charges depend on the resident status of the tourists and the age. There are fees for the nonresidents and Residents both adults and children. The entrance fees to the reserve are paid in both Dollars and Kenyan shillings.  For Kenya Residents, there is a need to provide a proof of their residence by presenting a valid work permit while Kenyan Citizens and other East African Citizens need to present their valid Identification cards. 

Below is a summarized table of entrance fees for Samburu National Game Reserve for individuals;

Foreign Nonresidents

In  (US $)

Foreign Residents/ East African Residents (KES) Citizens


Adults 70 1000 500
Children 40    


  1. Vehicle entrance fees in Samburu National Reserve

Vehicle entrance fees is charged depending on the number of seats available in the safari vehicle.

6 seats and below 400
Above 6 to 12 Seats 1000
13 to 24 seats  2000
25 seats to 44 4000
45 and more 5000


  1. Camping fees
Foreign Nonresidents

In  (US $)

Foreign Residents


Adults 30 500


20 200


Note: A fee of 10,000KES is applicable to confirm you special Campsite.

  1. Filming fees in Samburu national game reserve

Filming inside Samburu National Game reserve

1 to 10 Crew 10,000
11 to 20 Crew 20,000
More than 20 Crew 40,000


Important to Note: Those who wish to film outside Samburu national reserve ae charged 50,000 Kenya Shillings per day.

There is a need to plan and book your filming safari as early as possible in order to obtain your filming permit as a Travel guide to Samburu National Game Reserve.

When is the best time to visit Samburu national game reserve?

Being a desert and semi-arid reserve, Samburu National Game Reserve can be visited at any given period of time be it in dry or rain seasons. However to maximize sightings which every tourist wishes to have while on their Kenya safari, I will recommend that you plan your Samburu national game reserve visit in a dry season from June, July, August, September and October as well as months of December, January, February and March. At this period of time, the reserve has abundant to see as most of the animals congest along the waterholes in the reserve making it easy to see. However, this dry season is favorable for those who wish to enjoy game drives, walking safari while spotting different species of wildlife.

Travel guide to Samburu National Game Reserve
Game Drives in Samburu

On the other hand, birders and bird lovers should however plan to explore Samburu National game reserve during the rainy season across months of April, May and November. Carry your binoculars and hire an experienced birding guide who understands the exact birding spots in the reserve.

Accommodation in Samburu national reserve;

Wondering about where to stay on your Kenya safari to Samburu national reserve, well, here are some of the safari lodges, hotels and the camps where you can spend your overnight while on a memorable adventure in Samburu national game reserve and they include; Samburu Sopa lodge, Samburu Intrepid, Elephant Bedroom camp, Samburu Riverside Tented camp, Saruni Samburu, Sa Saab camp among others. There are a few accommodation facilities in this reserve and actually it is amongst the least visited destinations in Kenya. For those who wish to do camping, it is important to note that most of the campsites have no facilities thus there is a need to travel with your camping equipment including tents, sleeping bags and many more gears that are necessary for camping. There are however some tented camps as well where one can sleep at a budget friendly fee on your Travel guide to Samburu National Game Reserve.

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