Samburu National Reserve
In many ways the Samburu is the embodiment of the Africa many of us dreamt about as kids— and, often, long, long after. Nurtured by the lushly meandering Ewaso Nyiro River, the Samburu is rugged, calmly inviting, and enveloped in the air of remote Old Africa, scented by acacia.
The Ewaso Nyiro’s riverine forest is much frequented by the Samburu’s almost shocking plentitude of large (and cunningly small) mammals, including large gatherings of elephants. We once saw a group of 40 or 50 of the monumental beasts approach the river. Small groups tiptoed down the bank, spent about 10 minutes washing and frolicking, then clambered up to make room for another well-mannered elephantine bunch. Of perhaps even greater note than engaging wildlife is the Samburu people, close cousins—near brothers, in fact—of the Maasai. Elegantly proud, unfailingly friendly, the Samburu remind us of an old truth of safariing: While we came to Africa see its animals, our fondest memories are often of its people.