No trip to East Africa is complete without witnessing the wildlife for which this region is famous. After four days of hard work on Mt. Kenya, the SLIK group spends three days at Samburu Game Reserve, a three hour drive north of Batian’s View and located along the Ewaso Nigro River.
Each day begins before sunrise with a slow game drive along the river or across the savannah viewing animals. The pace is slow and conducive to closely watching the animals’ behaviors and careful photography. As the sun climbs and the day becomes warm, the animals are typically less active and the SLIK group returns to camp for a late breakfast. The afternoons are for classes about the local ecosystem, the Samburu culture (the dominant tribe of the area), Kiswahili practice or a little afternoon R&R. Later in the afternoon when the animals become active again, the SLIK crew ventures out for another game drive before returning to camp at dusk.
Samburu’s dry land environment is host to all of the large animals in Kenya, but with the special element of having the perennial Ewaso Nigro River running through the reserve. With the wildlife congregating along this lush corridor, a herd of elephant, zebra or giraffe is never far away. While in Samburu we will be in staying in tents in an established campsite along the river and cooking communally. Camping provides the group with a very new way of experiencing East Africa’s wildlife, as the distant evening sounds of Africa’s wildlife fill the air.
“There is nothing that can prepare you for your first sight of an elephant, lion, or herd of giraffe. To see such animals on television is one thing, to be up close and personal is quite another. I had no idea just how big an elephant was until our van came within ’20 of a huge bull elephant! I felt like crawling under the seat, but I was frozen in place with sheer wonder. Fortuntately the elephant didn’t seem to even care we were there as he went on grazing in the bush”.
Ian Donnally-Taylor, ’05
“I loved seeing the wildlife, but hanging out in camp along with Ewaso Nigro river was the highlight of my time in Samburu. A crocodile sat on the bank opposite our camp, baboons were in the trees overhead, and in the distance a herd of impala grazed amongst the acacia. While I was definitely a visitor, for that afternoon by the river I too was a part of the ecosystem and mesmerized by all that was happening around me”.
Abel Herrera, ’09