The road between Laikipia Plateau and Samburu offers truly astonishing landscapes. During the first part, road steadily climbs through amazingly dark green foothills of Mount Kenya, reaching almost 3000 m above sea level. The land is cultivated and in enormous greenhouses along the road, they grow vegetables and flowers. To the south, magnificent peaks of Mt Kenya offer fantastic photographic opportunities. Once the road reaches the highest point, it drops steeply to the lower plains to the north, which have totally different, semi-arid character.
After the dominantly savanna type of parks we have visited so far (Mara, Nakuru, and Laikipia), Samburu appears very strange at first. It is mostly arid and dusty, but with the strikingly green strip of lush forest along the Ewaso Ngiro river. I was astonished by the almost dry riverbed. I was expecting a strong-flowing river, but instead there were only shallow puddles of water in the wide riverbed.
Road from Archers Post to the entrance gate is very corrugated at first, but gets better as you come closer to park headquarters. Public campsite is relay beautifully set on the banks of the river, with ample shade and acceptable ablutions with cold showers. We spent two days and two nights here and in the adjoining reserve of Buffalo Springs on the other side of the river, but we could easily prolong our stay for a couple more days. Game driving loops along the river on both sides are beautiful, and since there are only few lodges in the park, there’s never any dense traffic on them. Animals are not skittish, but you must work for your sightings. Elephants are really abundant, but it is those more rarely seen animals from typically semi-arid habitats that are the real attractions here. Gerenuk, Grevy’s zebra, Beisha oryx, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, Vulturine Guineafowl… As far as cats are concerned, we were treated by both lions and leopard sightings.
We were particularly excited at a visit of lesser kudus right in our campsite. We were resting after morning game drive, when adult female lesser kudu and her offspring appeared, no more than few meters from us. Lesser kudus are known to be very skittish, but those two specimens behaved like we were not there. They peacefully browsed for more than 10 minutes around us, allowing me to approach them very close with my camera.
Baboons, that are notorious for this public campsite, didn’t impose any problem at all during our stay. Vervet monkeys, on the other hand, required constant alertness.