Lodges

Elephant Watch Camp

Quirky luxury and intimate elephant encounters in Kenya's lovely Samburu.

Elephant Watch Camp

Stay in luxurious, imaginatively-furnished netted tents at eco-friendly Elephant Watch Camp. Set in the Samburu National Reserve in northern Kenya, the camp is small but perfect, with not a single fence to separate you from the animals that live here. Watch and listen to elephant scooping nutritious Acacia tortilis seeds from your roof. (You're quite safe, so simply enjoy the experience.) Then wake in the morning to birdcalls, step outdoors to explore the camp, satisfy your appetite with five-star meals and tread softly with your Samburu guide as you discover the wildlife and learn the ways of the bush.

At the lodge

The hotel

The communal area, like the tents, is built of fallen trees and colourfully decorated. Meals are served under cover or beside the Ewaso N'giro River, on whose banks the camp lies. The camp staff make all the food using locally sourced ingredients, so the Italian-meets-African cuisine is fresh and fabulous. Enjoy picnic lunches in the wilderness, and starlit dinners accompanied by the hooting of owls, a lone Samburu flute and the splash of animals in the water. Wi-fi is available.

The rooms

There are six thatch-covered tents, all decorated in a fusion of luxury African-style bush living and bedouin tent bohemian. The walls combine canvas and netting to keep bugs out but allow in the sounds and scents of the wilderness. Inside, flowing fabrics cascade to the floor, there's a king-sized bed with crisp cotton sheets, lamps, a flashlight, fluffy towels and storage space. The en-suite bathrooms are private, with a bucket shower that is filled with steaming water at night.

On safari

Experiences

Elephant watching is what this place is truly about (some 900 elephant roam free in the Samburu National Reserve), but there's lots more to see from camp – vervet monkey, baboon, mongoose, lizards, crocodile, big cats and a plethora of birds – listen out for the tiny Scop’s owls, which call “trrruk” in the trees every few seconds. Learn to identify the landscape with the Samburu guides, who are happy to help you interpret the signs of the wild.

When to go

Samburu by month

January

Season: Dry
  • The close proximity to the equator can make the weather difficult to predict. In this month there is usually little rainfall with warm sunny days.
  • Vegetation is still quite thick but wildlife is prolific with many unusual species encountered across a range of habitats.
  • The birthing season is in full swing with numerous young herbivores causing a stir amongst the cheetah and lion.
  • The reserve is bursting with birdlife, migrants are adorned with bright colours and attempting to catch the eye of a mate.
  • A photographer's delight, vegetation is lush with a variety of flowers, plenty of young animals and high predator activity.

February

Season: Dry
  • The close proximity to the equator can make the weather difficult to predict. In February days are long with plenty of sunshine and little chance of rain.
  • Vegetation is still quite thick but wildlife is prolific with many unusual species encountered across a range of habitats.
  • After the birthing season there are numerous newborns causing a stir amongst the predators.
  • The migrant bird species young have now left the nest and are littering the sky, strengthening their wings for the long flight North.
  • Enjoy particularly good photographic conditions in this month with good light, animals in excellent condition and emerald green vegetation.

March

Season: Wet
  • The close proximity to the equator can make the weather difficult to predict. At this time of the year days are still relatively long with plenty of sunshine but rainfall increases in the form of afternoon showers.
  • Vegetation is lush and green making wildlife a little more difficult to find but no less spectacular with young antelope in abundance at this time of year.
  • Impressive numbers of elephant with young, feed on the lush grasses of the open plains.
  • The end of the breeding season for birds is fast approaching, migrants are beginning to strengthen their wings for the long journey North.

April

Season: Wet
  • The close proximity to the equator can make the weather difficult to predict. However at this time of year expect high rainfall often over prolonged periods of time with a handful of sunny days.
  • Wildlife viewing although still good, is at its most challenging with heavy rains and lush vegetation obscuring views of the animals.
  • Migratory birds begin to head North in search of suitable breeding and feeding conditions.
  • Enjoy the vivid pinks of the flowering desert rose, a delicate flower surrounded by a crown of thorns.

May

Season: Wet
  • The close proximity to the equator can make the weather difficult to predict. In this month rain is a given falling regularly but usually for short periods of time, leaving plenty of sunshine hours for safari.
  • Wildlife viewing although still good, is at its most challenging with heavy rains and lush vegetation obscuring views of the animals.
  • Take advantage of the rare species present in this region, including the beautiful pinstriped Grevy's zebra.
  • Enjoy the vivid pinks of the flowering desert rose, a delicate flower surrounded by a crown of thorns.

June

Season: Dry
  • The close proximity to the equator can make the weather difficult to predict. There is a marked improvement in conditions in this month, with little rainfall and long sunny days.
  • Wildlife viewing improves with the steady approach of the dry season, causing animals to move towards the perennial water sources.
  • Enjoy unique wildlife encounters with species like the long-necked gerenuk, Grevy's zebra, Reticulated giraffe and the Beisa oryx.
  • June is a photographer's delight with animals enjoying their prime, vegetation beautifully green and long hours of sunshine.

July

Season: Dry
  • The close proximity to the equator can make the weather difficult to predict. In this month there is usually little rainfall with warm sunny days.
  • Animal behaviour is a little more predictable at this time of the year, with wildlife congregating along the Ewaso Nyiro River, the only source of year-round water.
  • Grasses are short during this period improving visibility and the potential for finding wildlife.
  • There is a good mix of rarely seen species and predators, including lion, leopard and cheetah.
  • A great month for photography with animals in good condition, long hours of sunshine and vegetation still quite green.

August

Season: Dry
  • The close proximity to the equator can make the weather difficult to predict. Over this period temperatures are sunny and comfortable with little chance of rainfall.
  • An exceptional period for game viewing with wildlife congregating along the last remaining water source the Ewaso Nyiro River.
  • With the lack of rain, grasses are short improving your chances of finding those unique and rarely seen species.
  • Spot one of the resident leopard stretched out amongst the boughs of the riverine forest.

September

Season: Dry
  • The close proximity to the equator can make the weather difficult to predict. In this month there is usually little rainfall with warm sunny days.
  • Wildlife viewing is at its best will high densities of wildlife congregating around the remaining water sources.
  • Visibility is good with foliage thin and grasses short, improving your chances of finding the more elusive wildlife species.
  • The migratory birds begin to arrive from North Africa and Europe creating a stir amongst the treetop foliage.

October

Season: Dry
  • The close proximity to the equator can make the weather difficult to predict. This month sees temperatures climb and an increase in rainy afternoons towards the end of the month.
  • With conditions at their most extreme for wildlife, animals are forced into close proximity along the last remaining water sources, leading to some interesting interactions.
  • Grasses are short and dry improving the quality of game viewing.
  • Migratory birds are present at this time of the year, singing and presenting their beautiful breeding plumage to the opposite sex.

November

Season: Wet
  • The close proximity to the equator can make the weather difficult to predict. In this month rains can be severe, however it is often a hit and miss scenario with ample sunshine hours should the rains not arrive.
  • The arrival of the seasonal rain rejuvenates this landscape, plants begin to shoot allowing the herds to spread out once more.
  • The grasses begin to lengthen with orange, white and red flowers interrupting the sea of green.
  • A great time of year for 'twitchers', migratory birds are present in their breeding plumage causing a commotion amongst the branches.
  • The striking scarlet flowers of the cork bark tree are another seasonal delight enjoyed at this time of the year.

December

Season: Wet
  • The close proximity to the equator can make the weather difficult to predict. Expect rainfall in this month with long hours of sunshine inbetween.
  • Water sources are now replenished with the land lush and green, making the always impressive wildlife viewing a little more tricky.
  • It is the start of the birthing season for many of the antelope species present in the region, causing high excitement amongst the predators.
  • The wildflowers are in full bloom with butterflies drifting from one blossom to the next.
  • Migratory birds are present in abundance, providing a kaleidoscope of colour from ground to sky.
  • The striking scarlet flowers of the cork bark tree are another seasonal delight enjoyed at this time of the year.

Wildlife


Encounter a diversity of species in the arid and beautiful Samburu National Reserve, including herds of elephant and buffalo, prides of lions and both cheetah and leopard. However, what separates the Samburu from other parks is its unique wildlife, including the gerenuk, Grevy's zebra, Beisa oryx, reticulated giraffe and blue legged Somali ostrich. A noteworthy mention is the reintroduction of the last member of the Big 5: black rhinoceros, currently scarce but making good progress.

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