Saruni Samburu

Saruni Samburu is a deluxe, design lodge located in Kenya’s wild north. It is the only lodge in Kalama Conservancy, a community-owned wildlife reserve that borders Samburu National Reserve, with 200,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness to explore and enjoy exclusively. Perched on a spectacular viewpoint, its 6 villas are open and spacious, heralding spectacular views over Kenya’s Northern Frontier District and Mount Kenya in the distance. Samburu is a great wildlife destination known of its rare species, its population of predators and the large herds of elephants. The Ewaso Nyiro river offers a lifeline to the wildlife of this arid region of Kenya. Guests are guided from start to finish by Samburu warriors who are passionate about their land and their culture, learning first-hand about their fascinating customs and traditions and their ancient, local knowledge - a truly authentic experience. The vastness and purity of this landscape, combined with the untouched local culture, elegant comfort and welcoming hospitality makes for an intimate, exceptional and life-changing experience.

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Accommodation

Saruni Samburu’s six luxury villas are open and spacious, heralding spectacular views over Kenya’s Northern Frontier District. They are stone structures with open fronts that are closed at night with canvas and nettings, providing total privacy and safety. Two are Single Villas (one with a double bed and the other one with a twin that can become double). Both with en-suite bathrooms and dressing rooms, spacious living, dining area and outdoor verandah. Two are Family Villas: each containing 2 x en-suite bedrooms with individual dressing rooms and one common large lounge and dining area, as well as several verandahs. This type of villa has one common entrance and cannot be split out for separate use. Two are Family Villas: they have two separate entrances and can be booked both as a complete unit or individually, guaranteeing each party maximum privacy. Each villa consists of 2 x en-suite bedrooms with individual dressing rooms, a large shared lounge and dining area, as well as several verandahs. The area that connects them can be open or closed, offering two solutions.

1 Villa

It is a large house with one en-suite bedroom joined by a spacious living room and verandah. It has a very unique character and style and blends beautifully into its surroundings. With its outdoor shower, private dining and living room and interesting design, it makes for an exciting and memorable stay. It is a short walk away from the main dining area, the bottom pool and Samburu Wellbeing Space.

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1 Honeymoon Villa

The Honeymoon villa has one bedroom and a spacious living area and verandah. It has been written about in numerous publications as the room with the most beautiful view and possibly the most amazing room in Africa. Built onto the edge of a hillside around the natural rock formations, it makes you feel as if you are on top of the world. The panoramic views of the wilderness below are enjoyed from the elegant bedroom and verandah.

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4 Family Villas

The 4 family villas fall into two different categories: 1)  two of the villas have two separate entrances and can be booked both as a complete unit or individually. When booked separately, the privacy is total because of the separation between them; 2) the other two have one entrance and are perfect for families. All have incredible views, large bathrooms with private outdoor showers and a wonderful open living area for relaxing and private dinners.

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The Samburu

Still semi-nomadic and very strongly connected to their traditions and culture, the Samburu are one of the most famous and interesting tribes in Kenya. Closely related to the Maasai and speakers of a version of the Maa language, they are believed to have reached Kenya between four and five centuries ago with other Nilotic groups walking south from the Horn of Africa.

Rates from US$800

See our 2024 Saruni Basecamp Rates and Terms & Conditions – simply click on the view/download button below.

Please contact us for Resident Rates applicable to residents of Kenya & East Africa.

View or download the full Saruni Basecamp rates
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Activities & Experiences

  • Guided, shared day & night game drives
  • Photographic hide by waterhole
  • Picnics, bush meals & sundowners
  • Samburu Wellbeing Space
  • Guided bush walks
  • Warriors Academy – family activity
  • The Sacred Mountain Trek
  • Cultural visit to local village & community
  • Tribal story-telling through song & dance
  • Pool swimming
  • Birdwatching
  • Stargazing
  • Seedballs throwing
  • Scorpion & night torch safari
  • Thumb Rock hike
  • Visit to local Samburu caves featuring rock art
  • Reteti Elephant Sanctuary Excursion
  • Traditional Ceremonies & Blessings
  • Helicopter excursions

Facilities

  • Swimming pools (two) & sunbathing area
  • Pool bar
  • Samburu Wellbeing Space – massages & treatments
  • Gift shop – supporting community groups & projects
  • Photographic Hide & Waterhole
  • Communal lounge, dining area & fireplace

Amenities

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Indoor & outdoor shower
  • Indoor bath (some units)
  • Fan
  • Mosquito net over bed
  • In-room fridge & water dispenser
  • Private living area & verandah
  • Private dining
  • Exercise mat
  • In-room safe
  • Electricity

Saruni Samburu is located in Kalama Conservancy, Samburu, Northern Kenya

Discover where our other Saruni Basecamp Properties are in Kenya

Saruni Samburu’s positive impact on habitat, people, land and wildlife is impressive. The camp is being considered an example of sustainability for the model of conservation where investors and landowners establish a working partnership with measurable benefits for both.

The lodge, opened in 2008 and eco-rated “gold” by ESOK, has adopted systems that minimize its footprint: we work on a modern solar system that reduces to very little and only as back-ups the use of generators, we use bio-degradable detergents, we collect rain water as much as possible, we encourage our guests to disperse seed balls that help with the reforestation of eroded areas. But perhaps the biggest contribution is to the community: a vast majority of our employees are Samburu and members of the community, our financial contribution to the Kalama Conservancy cover an important percentage of the annual budget of the conservancy. This is making possible not only then upkeep of the conservancy, but the distribution of school bursaries and the management of health centres.

We also believe that sustainability means to encourage the cultural pride of the Samburu people and allow them to share their values with our guests. These values are strictly connected to conservation and protection of habitat and wildlife. This is why our guides are always around the fire exchanging stories with the guests, and this is why we have an activity called Warriors Academy where young members of the community spend time with our visitors and show them their skills and their beliefs.

Reasons to Visit Saruni Samburu

There are many reasons to visit Saruni Samburu and we have selected the six main ones to make it easier for you to feel the uniqueness of this safari lodge, where nature, wildlife and people connect in a special way.

Astonishing Location

Saruni Samburu is located in tribal lands to the north of Samburu National Reserve. From its clifftop position, the lodge overlooks the vast private wildlife sanctuary of the private Kalama Conservancy, with exclusive access to some 240 000 acres of pristine, protected wilderness.

Incredible Wildlife

The area around Saruni Samburu is teeming with wildlife – including giant herds of thirsty elephant coming to drink at the waterholes, leopard making their lairs on rocky outcrops and packs of endangered African wild dog crossing the plains below the lodge. The area is also home to the rare, endemic Samburu Special Five: Grévy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, Beisa oryx, Somali ostrich and the outlandish gerenuk antelope.

Unique Activities

At Saruni Samburu, you can do as much or as little as you choose. From day and night game drives, picnic breakfasts on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River or bush dinners in a dry riverbed with firelit Samburu dances, to guided bush walks and visits to the local village and caves featuring ancient Samburu rock art. Our elephant proof, sunken hide offers remarkable photographic opportunities as elephant, hyena, leopard, birds and other creatures come down to drink at the adjacent waterhole. Of course, there’s no need to actually leave the lodge if you prefer a more relaxing experience – you can spend time in and around our pools, enjoy a massage in the Samburu Wellbeing Space, browse the Samburu artefacts in the Saruni boutique or lose yourself in the vastness of the night skies above.

Fascinating Culture

The nomadic Samburu are the custodians of this region, and you can enjoy unique opportunities to witness, interact with and learn from the sustainable lifestyle of one of Kenya’s most iconic ethnic groups. Our guides are Samburu warriors who combine professional qualifications with authentic inherited local knowledge, and delight in sharing their time-honoured traditions and customs.

Innovative Eco-Design

Saruni Samburu is architecturally fascinating in a way that’s entirely sympathetic to the local landscape. Built into and around the boulders of a towering volcanic rock face and perched high above a steep valley, the lodge offers unbelievable views. Open and spacious, the guest rooms and main area blend into and fuse with their surroundings, while the use of stone ensures that interiors are cool during the heat of the day. Just like the Samburu region itself, Saruni Samburu is bold, dramatic, beautiful and truly unique.

Community-Focused

Saruni Samburu is the only lodge in Kalama Conservancy, and a major source of income for the communities in the area. Since its opening, Saruni Samburu has consistently provided jobs, income and skills transfer opportunities for neighbouring communities. Ecotourism directly supports conservation – by visiting Saruni Samburu, you are directly giving back to the people that protect this beautiful area, improving their quality of life and making conservation a viable, long-term land-use choice.

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