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Amazing facts about the Samburu Special Five

All kinds of wildlife exist in this wilderness north-east of Mount Kenya, but the most interesting are the special five herbivores found north of the equator and here we will cover amazing facts about the Samburu Special Five: Grevy’s zebra, gerenuk, reticulated giraffe, Beisa Oryx and the Somali ostrich.

Samburu is a six-hour drive from Nairobi along the highway that leads to the central Kenyan highlands before descending into the warmer Laikipia Plateau.

While Samburu is smaller than other Kenyan parks and reserves, its diverse wildlife tend to cluster closer together near the life-giving Ewaso Ng’iro River, making it an ideal place to set up camp and do some game-viewing. Wake up early for a sunrise game drive through the Samburu Game Reserve. The cooler air and low-light are the ideal time to spot hunters such as lions and leopards on the prowl, and the early morning light is also quite spectacular as it sets fire to the landscape.

There are many reasons why you should consider exploring Samburu National Reserve. The region offers you the chance to explore the diverse wilderness, discover its wonders such as the Samburu five, meet the local Samburu people, and also allow you to venture somewhere far more off the beaten track. Samburu is smaller than other parks and reserves in Kenya but its diverse wildlife is concentrated along the Ewaso Nyiro River, making it an ideal place for game viewing.

If there is a Kenya safari adventure that can be quite rewarding and worth putting in your safari bucket list, then a Samburu safari qualifies for this. This adventure safari allows you to experience the wonders of Samburu.  Samburu reserve is the natural home to the Samburu special five, not much common like the “Big five” but really exciting and unique to sight, and only found in the Northern part of Kenya. This refers to the area immediately after crossing the Equator in Nanyuki. So who are the Samburu special five? They include the Reticulated Giraffe, Beisa Oryx, Grevy’s Zebra, Gerenuk and Somali Ostrich.

Samburu is a six-hour drive north of Nairobi along the highway that leads to the central Kenyan highlands before descending into the warmer Laikipia Plateau. Our enchanting Kenya adventure tours in the Northern circuit will present you an opportunity to spot both the big five and the Samburu special 5. Although not much visited, Samburu National Reserve offers amazing safari experience and besides the Samburu special five the reserve is home to other wildlife species such as elephants, lions, leopards, and plains zebras among others. The diverse wilderness also hosts a rich variety of birdlife. Although Samburu is the name mentioned while referring to safari tours in the North, Samburu national reserve shares the animals with the neighboring Buffalo Springs Reserve and are separated by the Ewaso Ny’iro River. The river is the main source of water in this dry region and it flows through the doum palms giving life to the Samburu ecosystem. Also sharing this unique wildlife is the Shaba Reserve on the opposite side of the road.

Reticulated Giraffe


Reticulated giraffe has brick-shaped brown coat pattern divided with a clear network of striking and narrow white lines. They are slightly smaller than their cousin, the Masai giraffe and also less dependent on water. Hence the reason they adapt well in this dry and arid areas. They inhabit dry savanna with trees especially the acacia species. They feed on thorny bushes, leaves and soft twigs which they pull with their long prehensile tongue.

Beisa Oryx


This majestic antelopes have pale grey coats to reflect the excess sunlight. They possess spear-like horns with the females having longer horns than the males. They also have black and white facial markings and a black side stripe along the flank. They are quite shy and will normally walk away when you approach a group. They will tend to feed on succulent plants to obtain moisture and have adapted to feeding at night and early in the morning while retreating under shades during the day to escape the heat.

Grevy’s Zebra


Grevy’s Zebra are lovely and beautiful animals. They are the largest of the zebras and can be distinguished by their large heads, rounded ears and narrow black and white body stripes. The stripes do extend to the flank leaving a white belly. They are both day and night active and they occur in small groups since they are less social than the plains zebras, showing less social behaviors such as grooming.



Gerenuk means “giraffe necked” in Somali language. This comes from their elongated necks which together with standing on their strong hind limbs allows them to browse on highest and green leaves. They have small pointed heads with rather large ears. The males are heavier than female and have thick S-shaped horns. Females lack horns. They prefer to inhabit thorny bushes and are mainly diurnal feeding early in the morning and late afternoon.

Somali Ostrich


The common ostrich has a pink neck and pink legs whereas the Somali Ostrich has a pale blue neck and blue legs. They few in numbers and quite difficult to spot.

To experience the amazing facts about the Samburu Special Five, contact Arrow Adventures Kenya who will gladly customize an exciting safari adventure in this northern frontier region.

Find our recommended Kenya Safari adventures packages to Samburu:

3 Days Samburu Adventure Safari

7 Days Meru Samburu and Reteti Conservation Safari

8 Days Discover Kenya Adventure Safari

Arrow Adventures

Arrow Adventures Kenya offers tailor-made, affordable and amazing deals for adventure activities allowing you to marvel at the fascinating wildlife and landscape within East Africa. Our experts will help you customize an unforgettable adventure holiday experience. We have the best wildlife safaris with amazing Kenya and Tanzania Adventure Tours Packages and you get to sample the best attractions in the region. We offer privately guided safaris where you will enjoy our personalized services.

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