The African Park That’s got it All


Seeing lions, leopard, rhino and is always a huge thrill but Samburu, Kenya is about so much more than the big five. Not only was the arid mountain landscape breathtaking (as we described in our last post about Joy’s Camp) but the wildlife encounters were some of our most intimate and intriguing to date.

There was an intensity level to each encounter at Samburu and Shaba reserves. What would normally be an average encounter, like vultures picking at a skeleton, turned into one of the most cut-throat Darwinian moments.  Here, 40+ vultures scratched, squawked, pecked with desperation to get at the last bits of buffalo. Watching the power change hands by the second, we were captivated.

There are only 2,000 Grevy’s zebra remaining in the wild and Samburu happens to be a place they thrive. We were lucky enough to study the close-knit stripes of this beautiful endangered species on a few occasions with Joy’s Camp.

Our knowledgeable local guide Eric brought so much more meaning to each encounter. Did you know these adorable little rock hyraxes are the closest relative to the elephant?

Rather than eating breakfast before dawn or racing back to camp for sustenance, the Joy’s Camp chefs would set up the most impressive meals along our route. A grill, complete with omelet station, fruit bar, and pastry table were ready as soon as we pulled up to this exclusive river spot. That’s service.

Just past our brunch spot, Eric pointed out this owl looking ready for a beauty pageant. You’d think such peepers could only be achieved with pink eye shadow and false lashes but the Verreaux Eagle Owl is natural beauty.

Elephant sightings are a common occurance on Kenyan safaris but when this family of 17 elephants, a vertiable fortress of pachyderms, lumbered directly towards us, it stopped us in our tracks. Plus, this herd had two of the tiniest, cutest babies we’d ever seen!

Though the highlights of highlights had to be this grand gazelle training session.  One alpha male dominates a herd of females while the rest of the bachelors band together plotting his demise. To keep their skills sharp, they occasionally have these sparring sessions. Watching these two lock horns and push each other around the field while their mate effectively reffed felt as official as a boxing match.

In the afternoon we set out on a walking safari—always a great way to get in touch with the nuances of the grasslands. As we passed over volcanic rock shards—shot from Mount Kenya centuries ago—and under sparrow weaver nests, we spotted this acrobatic gerunck. We were cracking up watching him balance on his hindlegs , trying not to topple before he got his leafy snack.   

Safaris are usually in the open plains of Africa but in Samburu, the mountains rise up for an ultra-dramatic landscape and an incredible vantage point. We climbed a hill at the end of our walking safari only to find a surprise sundowners waiting for us. We sipped our cold Tusker beers and nibbled on nuts as the sun set over our most beautiful safari experience to-date.

Much love from Samburu,
Anne & Mikever

Note: Joy’s Camp invited us to be their guests; however, all opinions are our own.

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