Samburu National Reserves.

This is number 7 of my Top Ten, simply because it provides the opportunity to see some unusual species in comparison to the rest of East Africa!

Where: Located in northern Kenya, a flight from Nairobi or a long drive that can take in Mount Kenya and other interesting areas.

Why: Unusually amongst East Africa’s parks, Samburu offers a number of dry area, or desert-adapted species more commonly associated with the deserts of northern or southern Africa.  These include oryx, gerenuk and the Somali ostrich, but also present are reticulated giraffe and Grevy’s zebra.  The proud and colourfully and exotically dressed Samburu people live in this area and are often employed in the camps, providing an interesting cultural aspect to the visit.   There are some wonderfully remote and scenically spectacular areas outside the reserve offering great desert-type vistas.

When: Samburu is open year round but game viewing tends to be at its best during the dry season, June to October when wildlife is drawn to the waters of the Ewaso Ng’iro River.  Unfortunately due to holiday season this is also the busiest time for visitors to Samburu.

Where: The Samburu Reserve itself is small at only 165 and does have the most dense concentrations of big game: elephants, crocodiles and all the big cat species can be found here, but it also has the highest density of lodges and camps, meaning it is heavily used by safari vehicles.  Staying in one of the more upmarket camps outside the reserce will help avoid the congestion, spending time in the more remote areas and coming into the reserve itself for your big game ‘fix’.

How long: You need at least 2 nights in Samburu, preferably 3 if you have the time.

What to do: Game viewing by vehicle is the option inside the Reserve, but if you are staying outside walking safaris and balloon trips are possibilities.

My View: The game viewing in Samburu is unusual and can be terrific.  You have to decide if the crowds will bother you, if so, either give Samburu a miss or stay outside of the Reserve.  If you are a first time safari-traveller, seeing the spectacular oryx and gerenuk, not to mention reticulated giraffe will probably make the visitor traffic worthwhile!

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For more information on Samburu and Kenya’s other safari destinations visit:

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Next on the Top Ten – the Selous Game Reserve.


The Masai Mara


Third on the list of my Top Ten African safari destinations, the Masai Mara is one of the most famous wildlife areas in Africa: famed for it’s variety of species, for its migrating herds crossing the crocodile-infested waters of the Mara River and immortablised by the BBC’s Big Cat Diary which was filned in the Mara.


Where: Located in southern Kenya,  on the border of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, 4 -5 hours drive or a short flight from Nairobi.

Why: Year-round resident game in lovely open scenery making for easy game viewing.  Good numbers of lion, cheetah and leopard, many of whom are very relaxed around safari vehiciles making for great game viewing.  When the huge herds of wildebeest and zebra are in the Mara the viewing can be truly outstanding!  Elephant, rhino, hippo and crocs complete an impressive list of megafauna!

When: Year round but at its best when the big herds are around normally from July through to the end of September.

Where: The Mara is a relatively small area compared to some of the larger parks, and can get very busy particularly during the holiday season of July to August.   The smaller select camps along the rivers will give a feeling of exclusivity but some of the concession areas just outside the reserve allow more personal game veiwing experiences.

How long: You need at least two nights and preferably three in the Mara, and can combine two differenet camps in different areas for a more complete visit.

What to do: Game drives are the main option in the Mara, but walking and horse riding safaris are possibilities in the areas just outside the reserve.  Masai cultural visits are also possible.

My view:   The Mara is a terrific reserve with great game viewing and easily accessible from Nairobi with numerous flights.  Some people, particularly experienced safari-goers, may find the number of vehicles a bit much and it can be hard to get exclusive game viewing in the main reserve.  If this may worry you, the harder to get to northern Serengeti may be the better option, but for those with limited time, the Mara is a great choice.


For more information on the Masai Mara and Kenya’s other safari destinations visit: Or contact us on :

Next on the Top Ten – Tarangire National Park!


The Top Ten Wildlife Areas of East & Southern Africa!

Actually they’re my ‘Top Ten’ as like all choices it’s all subjective and highly personal, however after nearly 30 years of taking groups on safari in East and Southern Africa I know what works and which areas make for a great safari destination!

Of course, there’s far more to it than simply the destination: you have to be there at the right time of the year, in the right part of the park and doing your safari in the right way, but if you end up visiting a combination of any of my Top Ten, you’ll have a wildlife experience to savour!

Over the next month or so, every few days I’ll be posting a new blog with the next entry on my list, with information on why the area is such a great safari destination, when and where to go, how long you might want to stay and what to do there.

Starting tomorrow with the jewel in Botswana’s crown –  The Okavango Delta!

Talk tomorrow – and to make sure you don’t miss any of the ten, click on the Follow button at the bottom of this Blog which will alert you when a new blog is posted.


For further details on African photographic safaris or on any of the areas mentioned in this blog visit:

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