Sarara is a community owned property and has hung on through some tough years. Remote, in the foothills of the Mathews Range just north of Samburu Game Reserve, it sits within the 75,000 hectare Namunyak Community Group Ranch and now boasts a wide variety of wildlife.
There is nothing quite like relaxing in the swimming pool whilst watching the elephants drink below you. The lodge is on a raised escarpment overlooking a bowl of scrubby arid land surrounded by the dramatic creases of the Matthew’s Range.
Owned by the Namunyak Wildlife Trust, the camp has a special feel about it and plenty to offer in unusual activities.
It has recently been refurbished with just 6 huge tents, each with open air bathrooms and private verandas. A beautiful central sitting room, bar & dining area with its open deck sits above a natural rock swimming pool which itself is perched above the waterhole that attracts a good variety of game throughout the day.
This is vast unspoiled wilderness country and there is thankfully only a limited network of tracks so although there are game drives in the area the emphasis is very much on walking safaris, with excellent local Samburu guides.
These can range from short escorted game walks within reach of camp, a few hours hiking into the Mathews rain forest in search of birds, plants & butterflies as well as some of the elusive forest species, a trek with donkeys to the top of the dramatic Ololokwe or maybe just some time skidding down the natural rock waterfall as well as a variety of bush picnics and sundowners.
A night or two’s fly-camping, as part of a short camel trek are also a feature of the place, possibly visiting the ‘singing wells’, where Samburu gather with their herds through the drier months (normally July to mid October). Sarara is closed in April, May and November but otherwise good throughout the rest of the year. This isn’t traditional safari country but the whole place, with its sense of remoteness and well balanced community initiative feels right and we recommend it for veteran safari enthusiasts.
Samburu and Buffalo Springs
This is the biggest of the three reserves in northern Kenya. Samburu has good populations of elephant, buffalo, cheetah and lion, but it is the best place to Kenya to spot leopard. What’s more, there is the ‘Samburu Five’ which are endemic: the Reticulated Giraffe, Grevy’s Zebra, Somali Ostrich, Besia Oryx, and long-necked Gerenuks, all of which are commonly sighted. Another delightful sight are dik diks (the smallest of the antelopes) dashing across the roads or seeking shade in thickets.The reserve has some wonderfully intimate camps.
The location of the Samburu National Park forms a unit with Buffalo Springs and the Shaba National Reserve. It lies on the Ewaso Nyiro River and is part of a wondrous savannah which is broken up by mountain slopes. Parts of it are strewn with volcanic rock – another unique wildlife setting.
Between the savannah and forests, a picturesque landscape is created and arguably this scenery is a reason alone to visit. The diverse range of animal species it has to show off is not just an added extra, but a welcome accompaniment.