On the way between Samburu and Nakuru, there are a couple of places for a stop to have a look at the 5199 metres high Mount Kenya from a distance. All around Mount Kenya you also have coffee stops and souvenir shops planted just on the Equator, easily found because of the signs. You have to put up with the hustlers wanting to show you how the water turns one way,on e side of the line and then the other way, the other side of the line. If you know the trick just tell them and they go away. I did give them a few shillings just for front.
We were following a track through the savanna when the driver slowed and motioned off to our right. Once again it took a lot of spotting but there in the long grass was a lioness watching a small herd of Oryx. The only thing was, the Oryx were wise to her moves and every time she tried a manoeuvre they turned the other way. Being on her own didn't help and after 15/20 mins she gave up, but it certainly made fascinating watching.
We had just stopped to look at the Vervet monkeys and let the elephant past so he could cross the river, when our chauffeur/guide whispered "Look up to the left on the far bank, do you see the lioness ?". After much staring through leneses we finally spotted the first one, but after waiting 30 mins and moving along the bank a few yards, what was not our surprise to see the whole pride.At first the male couldn't be seen,but when, what we thought was a large rock, moved, the male was staring at us through a small bush. Even at that distance, the adrenaline cranked itself up. The pride consisted of 1 male, 2 lioness and 3 cubs.
The river that runs through the park is, of course the place where you'll find all sorts of animals congregating, apparently without concern. There are a few crocs lazing about, so don't go partaking of the freshness of the water.
The elephants here seem to have a different colour than those in Amboseli due to the earth here being more of a reddish brown against the grey ash colour of Amboseli. But, whatever colour they are the most magnificent of animals.
The strange Gerenuk, has the body of an antelope and the neck of a small giraffe, that allows it to reach up to the top of tall bushes for food where other species cannot reach, for the succulent leaves. Its large eyes and ears has the same look as the "Mule Deer". The animal doesn't need to drink either as it gets its water from these same leaves and other buds and plants. The Gerenuk is also known as the Waller's gazelle and as the "Giraffe-necked Antelope".
We had seen the tiny Dik-Dik in Amboseli, but they are terribly nervous animals and move away at the slightest noise that they don't like. Normally always in pairs we found this little fellow on its own, but surprisingly not making his usual dik-dik sound. Only standing at 30 cms they are the smallest of all antelopes.
Photo 2. A female waterbuck seemingly keeping an eye out for the Dik-Dik.
Photo 3. Superb profile the Red-Beaked Calao. The male and female are very similar although the male has a larger beak.
Photo 4. This strange looking bird is the Helmeted Guineafowl. Weighing in at around 1.25 kilos, it will run before flying when alarmed but can actually fly short distances. May be seen in quite large flocks scratching around for insects and roots.
Photo 5. Beautiful colours of the sunset on an Impala.
Samburu has it ALL! Well, they don't have Rhinos or Hippos. They have Cape Buffalo, Tons of Elephants,Impalla, Giraffes, Grevy Zebras, Vervet Monkeys, Baboons, Cheetahs, Leopards, and every night at the lodge, they feed enormous Nile Crocs!.
After we spotted the lions at the plains, they moved towards the riverine forest. They crossed the track just in front of our truck. It was amazing, so see them that close !
We had to turn our truck and tried to overtake them again. I think they did their hunting in the meantime, because when we saw them again, they were having their breakfast between the bushes. It was so far and and the lions were so hidden in the high grass, that we couldn't recognise which kind of animal they had catched.
At our last gamedrive early in the morning we were very lucky to see four female lions. We saw them at the edge of the plains and the riverine forest. The highlight of the day !
To see lions is always very impressive for me. The first time I visited Nationals Parks in Africa, it took four weeks before I saw lions at the very last day. So this time we were lucky to see lions in the first Reserve we visited during this trip.
During my former visits to National Parks in Africa it was not very common to see buffalos. So we made some efforts with our truck to find a track to approach this buffalo at the riverside. It was our last game-drive in the Samburu National Reserve before we left for Maralal.
Because of the differences in height we couldn't approach any further, but we were near enough to discover this buffalo had only one horn.
In the plains of the Samburu National Reserve we didn't see many animals. The first two hours in the park on our way from the entrance to the Samburu lodge we saw some zebras, reticulated giraffes and gerenuk antilopes.
Just before arriving at the lodge in the riverine woodlands we discovered a lot of elephants. A pity we didn't see cheetahs and leopards during our three game-drives.
Since the first time I was surrounded by a huge herd of elephants in the Hwange NP in Zimbabwe, I'm completely fascinated by elephants. So we were very happy to see so many elephants in the Samburu National Reserve. I realized I sometimes almost forget to breathe.
The more breathtaking is it, when two elephants start a fight, like I saw near Savuti Camp in Botswana. Bot the most breathtaking event is, when an elephant starts an attack or it looks like he or she has the intention to do so. Till now all the elephants I saw to do so, luckily stopped in time, sometimes after a driver or ranger shouted something.
During our visit in March 2004 we saw a lot of baby elephants, protected by their mum or aunts. It's allready breathtaking to see so many elephants, but looking at the many little elephants makes it even more special.
What we didn't know at the moment of our visit, that we should adopt an baby elephant at the orphanage of Nairobi two weeks later. We choose for Tomboi. And after we got the papers of his background, we found out that he was rescued in the Samburu National Reserve some months before.
He was wounded a bit and abandoned after shooting was heard at night, probably by poachers. Maybe his herd escaped in panic to the other side of the river. After the rangers found him, they tried to trace his mum or one of his aunts to look after him. When they didn't succeed, the plane of the orphanage came to rescue Tomboi and fly him to Nairobi.
After his stay in the orphanage in Nairobi Tomboi moved to the Tsavo NP and lives there now to get used again to go back into the wild.
Samburu National Reserve is visited by large herds of Elephants, drawn by the promise of water. At some places the verdant riverine forest along the banks of the river is even threatened to be destroyed by the elephants.
In the dry season, the elephants use their tusks to dig deep into the dry river beds, unearthing precious water. These waterholes then become a drinking and bathing place for other game.
During our gamedrives we saw a lot of impressive herds of elephants. We had to look good, because everywhere between the trees we saw more elephants. You can see also more elephants by enlarging the picture.