Samburu National Game Reserve

Samburu Travel Blog

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Elephant peeling bark
 

In the morning, we found a herd of forty elephants half a mile from camp. While several elders kept a tight formation around a sleeping infant, most fed on trees and foliage along the river. We watched them break strips of bark loose with their tusks, grip it with their trunks, then peel trees bare. Others snapped trees to the ground to feast on green branches. It was easy to grasp the ongoing problem of keeping their population in control to preserve the limited forests. Such destruction by their ever-increasing numbers could easily tip the delicate balance of the savannah's eco system. Since aggressive anti-poaching regulations of recent years, elephant numbers had increased alarmingly.

 

We stopped at a lodge inside the Samburu National Game Reserve and lounged on their nice deck.

Gerenuk feeding on a dwarf acacia tree
While gazelles and waterbucks drank from the muddy river, we sipped iced lemonade. A lone elephant approached to wrap its brown trunk around green branches to strip them clean. On the nearby sandbar, a pair of pelicans fought clumsily over a landed fish, stirring a young crocodile to splash into the water.

 

After filling water jugs and getting another flat tire repaired, we made an afternoon game drive further up the river scanning the rocky hillsides for leopard. It looked like prime country for the big cat but we saw none. Sighting what looked like an antelope hanging from a dwarf acacia tree, we alleged that a Samburu hunter was dressing out a kill. Scott cited venison in the Upper Peninsula; Richard, kangaroo in Australia, and wondered how the meat would compare.

Reticulated giraffe
Instead, it turned out to be a gerenuk standing tall on its hind feet with its neck stretched even further upwards as it chewed on leaves that were much too high for other antelope and a little low for giraffes.

 

A duiker browsed lower brush nearby and we approached close enough to fill our viewfinders with that pygmy antelope which stood only twenty inches tall. Along with several giraffes in the area, we were impressed that these three species were able to feed on the same vegetation without conflict or competition. Each had evolved to survive in the arid, bleak African bush.

 

We set up camp inside the reserve on sloping ground. Deep grass between us and the Isiolo River deterred our exploring its bank for fear of snakes, crocodiles, and low-lying predators.

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Elephant peeling bark
Elephant peeling bark
Gerenuk feeding on a dwarf acacia …
Gerenuk feeding on a dwarf acacia…
Reticulated giraffe
Reticulated giraffe
A gerenuk
A gerenuk
A duiker
A duiker
Munching giraffe
Munching giraffe
Elephant stripping branches
Elephant stripping branches
Samburu
photo by: Baosafari