The first time I went to Samburu, I had in mind what every nairobian had in mind, and what my brothers had filled up my mind with……that there is nothing in Samburu, only the dry and parched land as a result of the very very hot and unreliable weather. And so, I did not know exactly what to expect on my way there.
Driving through Nanyuki on our way to Isiolo, I could feel the temperatures increase steadily. Even the soil and vegetation types changed alot. On reaching Isiolo, I realized that this town is just like any other small town in other parts of the country. Well…..it is special in its own way, but then again it has various social ammenities and so many small shops selling a wide variety of goods.
Luckily, Samburu National Reserve is approximately 20 kilometers from Isiolo town, and the fact that for one to access Samburu National Reserve you have to drive through Buffalo Springs National Reserve is really an added bonus for me as I got to see the wildlife diversity in these two reserves. In particular, it is the Ewaso Nyiro River that generally seperates these two reserves.
Samburu/ Buffalo Springs are two of the unique National reserves I have ever seen. I could not believe that though a large percentage of vegetation and rivers in these reserves has completely dried out, the reserves could still harbour so many different wild and beautiful wild animals and birds. I have seen the yellow necked and the red necked hornbills, gerenuk, the different elephant families that we have up here such as the Native Americans, the Royals, The Winds Family and the hardwoods.
This also includes the so many mongoosses and squirrels that would always join us for breakfast, and the one genet cat that was always in time for supper.
I stayed for only three days and during that time, I got to visit Chumvieri Primary School, visit one of the high school students in Chogoria, who has benefited from our eductaion programme and join a ugandan researcher who was carrying out a research in elephant intestinal parasites, to collect elephant dung in Buffalo Springs National Reserve.
I had a fantastic time, except for the nights, because we had to spend the nights in tents, and there was no sharing of tents. During my last night at the camp, I slept so peacefully till around 2.a.m obsessed and convinced that there were wild animals outside my tent. I remember putting on my torch, putting my phone on silent mode, repeating a short prayer over and over and my hand was shaking so much, I nearly dropped my torch. I remember one song that kept on playing in my mind. ‘In the morning you’l be alright, in the morning the sun’s gonna shine, in the morning, no clouds in the sky’ … .a gospel song by Mary Mary. I woke up one of our staff members who went round with a guard only to find that there were no wild animals in sight anywhere near the camp.
Early next morning all the STE staff had somehow been told about the incident and they were all making funny jokes about it. All in all, I had a very fantastic time and I was glad to come back to Nairobi where I knew I was safe from wild animals.