On the banks of Ewaso Ngiro river, opposite the Buffalo Springs National Reserve, you will find Samburu National Reserve, the homeland of Kamunyak. Who is Kamunyak (meaning, ‘the Blessed One’), you will ask. Last seen in 2004, this lioness became famous one day when a group of conservationists noticed that she had adopted 6 oryx calves and started taking care of them as if they were her cubs. Kamunyak would fight other lions to protect her adopted children and scare off other dangerous predators. A documentary about her, called ‘Heart of a Lioness’, came out in 2005 and created quite a surprise in the world of biology.
Another famous feline, Elsa the Lioness, raised by the Adamson family and later released into the wilderness, also spent some of her teenage months here, in Samburu, growing up and learning how to survive in the wild. Elsa and two other cubs were found by the body of their dead mother and adopted by George and Joy Adamson who raised the lions within Samburu and Meru national reserves. Two elder ones were evetually sent to live in a zoo, but Elsa grew up to be an independent wild lioness who knew how to hunt and survive amongst other lions.
Samburu National Reserve is favored by many animals because of the Ewaso Ng’iro river that flows through the middle of it, nurtures the green valleys and brings water to all the living creatures. For a long time Samburu National Reserve was hardly accessible by roads and thus not frequently visited by tourists. It hosts quite a big population of cheetahs and leopards, along with elephants, buffaloes and hippos. Gerenuk, olive baboon, Grant’s gazelle, impala, Grevy’s zebra, waterbuck, giraffe and other herbivores are most frequently seen around Samburu National Reserve, and you also will be able to point your camera at about 350 species of birds, from ostriches to kingfishers and large raptors.