Elephants walking, Samburu, Kenya

Samburu and Meru

A dramatic landscape of semi-arid desert, lush springs and sacred mountains, one of the best places in Kenya for good sightings of black and white rhinos.

The Samburu eco-system lies north of Mt Kenya and the Laikipia plateau, characterised by semi-arid desert and dramatic landscapes softened by lush springs, doum palms and is characterised as much but its colourful communities as much its wildlife and scenery.

This is a region of big skies and jagged peaks and where the Ewaso Nyiro River flows, giving a life-force to this northern area and sustaining excellent plains game and predators, but most noticeable are the rare species, specially adapted to this harsh landscape. Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, Beisa oryx and Somali ostrich mingle with the big cats and enormous herds of elephants.

Verandah View, Elsa's Kopje, Meru, Kenya
Elsa's Kopje, Meru, Kenya

Discover Meru

To the south of Samburu is Meru National Park, made famous by the pioneering work of Joy and George Adamson and now ranks as one of the most rewarding and most overlooked parks in the country. The big 5 are all found here in an area that is fed by a series of 13 streams, so a beautiful mix of grassland, woodland and uncrowded wilderness hide a handful of excellent lodges providing exceptional game viewing in a refreshingly wild environment.

Colourful samburu woman, Samburu, Kenya
Samburu village, Kenya

Walking safaris with the Samburu

A real highlight of your time here is enjoying walking safaris and game drives in the shadow of sacred mountains, worshipped by the colourful Samburu tribes, whose decorative beadwork puts their southern cousins to shame. Their humour and deep love of the region gives the region a personality all of its own.


What do you really love doing? We curate your itinerary especially for you.

Warriors in Evening, Samburu, Kenya

Meet the Samburu Warriors

Head out on a walking safari, led by Samburu warriors. Learn about both their culture and the landscape they call home.

Suggested stay

Warriors, Samburu, Kenya

Explore Samburu

Set out by 4×4, helicopter, camel or mountain bike to explore this dramatic landscape of semi-arid desert, lush springs and sacred mountains.

Suggested camp

Saruni Rhino, Samburu

Track Rhinos

Stay at Saruni Rhino in the pioneering Sera Conservancy. Here, track critically endangered black rhinos within a sanctuary protected by the local community.

Suggested hotel

Gerenuk browsing, Samburu, Kenya

Spot Desert Species

Encounter some of the desert-adapted animals that are only found in northern Kenya, including gerenuks, beisa oryxes and Somali ostriches.

Suggested stay

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Saruni Rhino £££££

  • Kenya
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Saruni Rhino offers an on-foot rhino tracking experience in the remote Sera Conservancy. Located in northern Samburu, this community conservancy has set aside a large swathe of territory that is dedicated to rhino conservation. A small group of relocated northern black rhinos survive here, roaming this arid landscape that is punctuated with dry riverbeds and vast granite extrusions. Tracked using traditional Samburu methods, these endangered animals are closely monitored to ensure their protection.

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Saruni Samburu £££££

  • Kenya
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Perched on the crest of a burnt-red ridge of solid rock, Saruni Samburu is a uniquely designed lodge that makes the most of its location. The villas are uncluttered, but luxurious, with the open-fronted bedrooms and cool stone walls, furnished with ochre rugs and cushions reflecting the earthy tones outside. The views are spectacular, but it is the traditions and semi-nomadic heritage of the local Samburu people give the camp its personality. Led by professional Samburu guides, benefit from a feeling of space and exclusivity when out on the walks under a seemingly endless sky.

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Sasaab £££££

  • Kenya
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Sasaab is perched above the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River, capturing panoramic views across Samburu land, the Laikipia plateau and the Matthews Range. This beautiful camp, with its North-African-inspired decor, is hidden within an exclusive community conservancy.

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Elephant Watch Camp £££££

  • Kenya
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

A wonderful place for anybody with an interest in elephants, Elephant Watch Camp bursts with character and colour. It reflects the passion of its owner, Saba Douglas-Hamilton, the daughter of Iain – one of Africa’s foremost elephant conservationists and founder of Save the Elephants. Saba calls the camp home and, although her presence is never guaranteed, she acts as host whilst she is there. The camp sits just upstream from Iain Douglas-Hamilton’s original elephant research camp. As such, its relationship with elephant conservation is deeply ingrained. The Save the Elephants research centre is only a short drive away, allowing for an insight into conservation in action.

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Elsa’s Kopje £££££

  • Kenya
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Elsa’s Kopje is a stylish wilderness retreat, offering breath-taking panoramic views of the surrounding plains and wetlands below. The lodge is named after Elsa, the orphaned lioness reared by George and Joy Adamson and on whom the film “Born Free” was based. The lodge’s beautiful stone cottages are built into Mughwango Hill, looking out over Meru National Park.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Illona Cross

Illona has visited Kenya numerous times, as well as spending time in the Masai Mara as a safari guide at one of the camps. Having explored much of the country and stayed at a variety of camps and lodges, she always enjoys the diversity of activities on offer, including her personal favourite, horse riding.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 880 980

Chris Johnston

Chris has explored much of Africa over the years, yet holds firm the belief that Kenya offers the best big-game experience in the world. He has walked, driven, mountain-biked, ridden and paddled past some of Africa’s most exciting wildlife whilst on safari in Kenya. And such is the style and comfort of the country’s lodges, all this was whilst within easy reach of an ice-cold G&T.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 880 980

Need Inspiration?
Browse our Kenya holiday ideas.

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Our knowledge and expertise set us apart. So too our curiosity. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

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