Game Driving in the Samburu National Park
The night in the Samburu Tribe village was very peaceful. Only my fellow traveller Ellen had some problems to sleep since a little child was coughing all night in the mud hut next to her tent. In the morning she talked to the parents and found out that the kid was suffering from Malaria. She decided to donate some money to the family to allow them to see a doctor providing cure for the disease. While this is a generous act by Ellen, you never know if the money is actually used for the intended purpose or if the parents spend it differently…
Breakfast was at 7:30am. As the night before we didn’t need to cook since the meal was prepared for us by the people of the local village we spent the night in. I didn’t have high expectations and was positively surprised by very delicious pancakes and scrambles eggs. It’s really a wonder that these tribal people living in basic mud huts are able to prepare more delicious food as most restaurants in the area.
Unfortunately we had to leave the village at 8am to go game driving in the Samburu National Park. The gate of the park was only a 5min drive away from the village and as soon as we entered the park we started game driving. We were accompanied by four warriors of the local village. Surprisingly they didn’t ask for any money but stated in a very honest manner that it’s an honour for them to spend some time with us and show us the animals of the surrounding area.
During the game drive we were lucky to spot a lion during the first minutes. Usually it is not easy to spot them. The lion was laying in the shadow of a bush only a few metres away from our truck. After observing the lion for a while we continued our game drive until 11am. We saw different kind of animals including elephants, giraffes and ostriches.
After setting up our tents at the ground of the Samburu Lodge we prepared lunch using the leftover pasta from last night. We mixed it with some tined tuna which was an interesting but tasteful version of pasta salad.
To kill some time until the afternoon game drive at 3pm some of us jumped into the pool of the lodge. They wanted to charge us quite a lot for using the pool but our leader Tom managed to negotiate a group discount of 600 Kenyan Schilling (7.50 USD) per person. The pool area was very nice and clean also featuring a Jacuzzi. I enjoyed it so much that I and a few others decided to skip the afternoon game drive and relax at the pool area instead. So I ended up spending a total of four hours in the Jacuzzi mainly chatting with my fellow travellers Chris and Marek which was very entertaining. When I left the Jacuzzi I was as clean as I haven’t been on the whole journey before. When you spent most of the day in dust and only have a mostly cold shower every few days you simply lower your hygienic standards and get used to be dirtier than back home.
When the others returned from the afternoon game drive they told us that they haven’t see any different kind of animals than in the morning so I didn’t regret that I stayed at the pool. I also have done lots of game driving on my previous Africa trips so that I don’t have a desperate need to see anything specific but just enjoy the scenery.
The lodge itself was a very beautiful place featuring nice wooden huts and a viewpoint overlooking the river. The staff of the lodge was also feeding the crocodiles in the river every evening to attract some visitors.
For dinner we decided to not cook a meal from the truck but eat in the restaurant of the lodge. Most people stayed at the viewpoint and had a meal from the snack menu. Michelle and I chose the more expensive five course meal since the food of the last days was kind of returning and we just wanted to eat something nice and different. However, the staff refused to serve us in the viewpoint area and wanted us to move to the restaurant. After we spoke to the manager of the restaurant the request was dropped and we could eat with everybody else. After spending an average of only 1-2 USD per meal during the last weeks, I had to pay 40 USD this night but it was really worth it.
On the way back from the lodge to the campsite we were requested to walk with a ranger carrying a gun since we sleep in the middle of a game park and it may happen that one of the animals tries to attack us. However, there wasn’t much action during the walk and we didn’t see any big animals in the dark.