East Africa Day 5 – Samburu

Getting up at 06:00 was surprisingly okay; we were hopeful that we’d see a big cat in the morning’s drive as we’d not seen one the day before. Before the game drive they once again served tea and coffee – fuel to keep people going until breakfast was served after the drive. Almost immediately once out of the gate we saw more elephants, though that was all we saw throughout the drive apart from a solitary giraffe, a silver-backed jackal, and a kite. Our driver had hoped to find us a leopard and for a while was following lioness tracks, but alas neither could be found.

Almost immediately once out of the gate we saw more elephants, though that was all we saw throughout the drive apart from a solitary giraffe, a silver-backed jackal, and a kite. Our driver had hoped to find us a leopard and for a while was following lioness tracks, but alas neither could be found.

Olive Baboon (Papio anubis) with a baby

Unlike previous days it was not a buffet breakfast, but it did include juice and tea so at least there wasn’t the extra expense the other meals had. I went with the cooked breakfast option and it was actually very good, as was the mango juice. As I finished my breakfast there was a large number of baboons start to walk past the fence and the occasional one crossing into the camp. I did of course run back to the tent to grab my camera to get a couple of photos before they disappeared.

Female Lion (Panthera Leo)

At 10:00 we were back on the road heading to a Samburu tribe’s village. Moments after leaving camp we saw our first lioness wandering near the riverbank. She looked a little ragged though indicating she may have had a tough dry season with very little in the way of food. Before we’d even left the park we also encountered a crèche of 15 ostrich young being protected by an adult male and female. The female led the way whilst the male guarded the rear.

Me with a Samburu tribe

Once out the park the drive to the village was quite short, and it was an unexpected 30USD to go in; we hadn’t been told this beforehand, though it did go towards the needs of the whole tribe. We were welcomed by the chief, who was probably the eldest in the tribe and had elongated ears from ear piercings. They then did a “lion dance” and asked us to join in. I didn’t do any of the dancing, but I did have my photo taken with them.

A Samburu tribe’s camp

The women of the village then started to sing as they brought us into the village. We were then told about their way of life and shown inside one of their huts. It had two “mattresses” made of leather on top of the soil and a small fire for cooking maize and beans. The young men of the village don’t eat there though, they have to go out into the bush to eat their food. It is considered shameful for them to be seen eating inside the village.

This then took us on to learn about their education system and they asked for a donation towards sending their children to school – apparently a years education for a single child costs 2000 Kenyan shillings. They then demonstrated how they make fire from sticks and donkey excrement. There was then two opportunities to buy souvenirs from them. I had planned on buying from them, but after the entrance fee I decided against it as I hadn’t brought much money out with me for this tour.

When we got back to the camp it was lunchtime, and this time it was a buffet style. As we ate, elephants bathed in the river and drank. One thing I did note though was that the elephants also left their waste in the same place they drank and washed. Probably not the best of ideas, but it didn’t seem to bother them. As both elephants were bulls I did expect some conflict there, but they were quite laid back and just kept to themselves.

Secretary Bird (Sagittarius serpentarius)

The next game drive was at 16:00; once again we didn’t really see anything – just animals we’d seen before but in fewer quantities. This did give us the chance to photograph more birds though such as the Secretary Bird and a Tawny eagle. We got back just after 18:30 as the sun was setting.

African Elephant Eye

Whilst showering I heard an elephant; it was the first time we’d heard one as when we encountered them earlier they were quiet. This time though, although we could hear them, we couldn’t see them. Before going for the evening meal I stopped by the gift shop and bought a tribal mask for 900KS and a fridge magnet for 350KS. This worked out as around 15USD so wasn’t a bad price; I would have bought a t-shirt too, but they had none in my size.

Sunsets on an Eland herd in Samburu

The evening meal was another buffet so I tried as many different foods as I could, all of it being quite tasty. This included their desserts where one tasted a little like a marshmallow. My friend bought a drink, but they tried to get away without giving him his change. He was a little miffed by this point so wasn’t going to let it pass and made sure he got it.

As the evening came to an end it was time to pack again ready to move on, but this wasn’t made easy by the lights flickering on and off. Apparently the generator doesn’t get switched off until midnight so we weren’t sure what was causing it.

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