Photograph cheetah in Samburu National Reserve in Kenya. Guided tours.

Samburu Photo Safari

Guided photographic tours to Samburu with Wildlife Photographer Paul McDougall.

Photograph Elephants in Samburu National Reserve. Approximately 900 elephants are found in the reserve. The reserve covers an area of 165 Km² and is located around 345Km from Nairobi.
Photograph Gerenuk and other rare northern Kenyan specialist species such as the Grevy Zebra, Somali Ostrich, Reticulated Giraffe, and the Beisa Oryx.
Photograph Lion, Leopard, Cheetah and Wild Dog. All the main predator species are found in Samburu.
Photograph the Taita Falcon and other rare birds. Birdlife is abundant in Samburu National Reserve with over 450 species recorded.


Location: Northern Kenya
Dates: 28th April to 5th May 2023
26th April to 3rd May 2024
Duration: 8 Nights 7 Days
Price pp*: From £3,994
Places (8 max): Available
Your guide: Paul McDougall
* Price per person based on 8 people.
Maximum of 4 photographers per vehicle.

Northern Adventure. The great unexplored

Located on the edge of Kenya’s vast, hot and arid northern region, It is a photographers dream with Samburu’s rugged scenery, endless skies and vast panoramas creating a powerful and unique backdrop for some of Africa’s rarest game and several hundred bird species.

Samburu National Reserve is one of the 56 protected areas in Kenya. It is famous North of the equator because of the richness of flora and fauna found there; it can be reached through Nairobi-Isiolo-Marsabit road and Maralal-Wamba-Isiolo road. Lying on the flood plains and bottom land of Ewaso Ngiro drainage system in the Great Rift Valley. It rises to an altitude of 2785 ft above sea level and covers an area of 390 km2.Samburu National Reserve was established in 1948 as part of the enormous Marsabit National Reserve under the national park ordinance.

The reserve is part of the ancestral territory of the colourful Samburu people, close relatives of the Masai, and is home to a number of species rarely found elsewhere in any number.

Species to be seen include, Grevy’s zebra, Reticulated giraffe, Greater and Lesser Kudu, Beisa oryx, and the long-necked gerenuk, a graceful antelope that spends much of its time on its hind legs seeking out succulent leaves in the withered scrub that dots this harsh terrain.

Samburu’s dramatic scenery is scorched for most of the year by the relentless equatorial sun, but the wide Ewaso Ngiro River offers some relief. This river rises some hundreds of kms to the west in the foothills of the Aberdares and eventually vanishes beyond Samburu into the recesses of the Lorian Swamp, but is at its wide and dramatic best in the reserve, where you can see large numbers of crocodile on sandbanks at almost every turn. There are also many hippos, and the banks are lined with giant acacias, figs and doum palms, which provide shade and a vital food source to the wildlife that comes to the water. Herds of elephant roam the gaunt hills that punctuate the scrubland, some appear a vibrant red colour after rolling and bathing in the mud and dust.

Samburu at a Glance

The climate for Samburu is hot dry with cool nights with an average annual maximum temperature of 30ºc (86F) and minimum annual temperature of 20ºc (68F).

Samburu National Reserve receives 350mm (14 inches) during peak rainfall in April and November (Variable). Long rains are expected in early April to the end of May and short rains from mid October to mid December. Dry conditions usually prevail from June to early October and from January to March.

Botanist have identified more than 2 dozen plant communities, but thorny scrubs cover much of the reserve and the most common are Acacia Elator, Acacia Tortolise, Salvadora Pesica and the Doum palms.

The neighboring communities to the reserve are the Samburu tribe a clan of the Maasai. They play a major role as part of tourism in the area due to their unique cultural experiences offered to visitors through traditional ceremonies, village visits, food, dances and sale of traditional crafts.

Major Attractions

It is home to the big five:- Elephant, Lion, Rhino, Leopard, Buffalo.

Other animals of interest are: Cheetah, Gerenuk, Reticulated Giraffe, Somali Ostrich, Grevys Zebra, Besia Oryx, Wild Dog(Endangered) Pancake Tortoise (Endangered).

It also contains over 450 species of indigenous birds.

Why I love Samburu

I first visited Samburu in 2003 and have been back almost every year since. Samburu is a unique location for photography and it is possible to capture breathtaking images throughout the reserve. Samburu is particularly nice to visit in low season due to the lack of visitors, at time you can have the reserve to yourself and spend many an afternoon sat by the river photographing Elephants cooling off in the water.

Samburu also tends to provide the unexpected, I have witnessed crocodiles eating a giraffe, tree climbing lions, oryx being stung by bees, wild dogs hunting and killing a dikdik, an aardvark drinking at the waterhole at our lodge and many other extraordinary things. Samburu is usually an overnight tick box safari destination on a busy and hectic safari itinerary.

Samburu really needs a week on its own to be explored, enjoyed and appreciated.

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    Photograph monitor lizards and other wildlife in Samburu National Reserve in Kenya.

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