Of the 3 safari places we stayed at during our holiday this was our favourite. It was quite a small lodge (I think 36 rooms spread well apart) which gave an uncluttered and spacious feel to the place. It was also the one closest to nature as outside your door you were basically part of the National Park. You had Dik Dik’s (smallest of the deer) and other animals wondering around near to your rooms and they had a watering hole close to the dining area so wherever you were in the lodge you were likely to see animals fairly close up wandering to and from the watering hole. We didn’t see a huge variety of animals at the watering hole- deer, zebra, giraffe, warthogs, guinea fowl and baboons so whether we missed any big cats or elephants I’m not sure but it seemed unlikely they were going to pay a visit. It was also rather amusing to see a tanker turn up on the first day to fill up the watering hole but glad they did as the animals came soon after. There were also a large number of exotic birdies hanging around the dining area looking like they wanted stuff off plates or maybe were simply being sociable and showing off for the cameras.
The rooms were nice with an outside patio for the views and to let you watch life go by. They do not have electricity on all day so be prepared for minor inconveniences on that front but they did have torches in the room and we did not experience power cuts during darkness. I also think there was always hot water at the key times you would want a shower.
The swimming pool was lovely and you could see the watering hole from there and keep an eye out for any animals arriving. It was probably just the way the weather worked out but this was the only place we really had sunbathing weather (we were there in August). When we moved South the weather was much worse and we even got rain. So if a chill by the pool is part of your holiday then you may want to research weather patterns and not assume Kenya is just going to be hot everywhere all the time.
One downside to Samburu is the location. We had more or less picked a standard tour off the internet and tweaked it but hadn’t realised what a long trek it was from Nairobi. Over the course of the holiday we found the constant travel of 5-7 hours to different lodges combined with early game drives or early departures very tiring. If travel is not your thing you may want to consider whether you want to make the long journey to Samburu which seems to be a there and back location (rather than being on the way to somewhere else) or just have your holiday closer to Nairobi and do different lodges around Masai Mara. You should also consider adding in a couple of spare days where you can get up late and just sit by the pool. We only had two nights here and did not want to miss any game drives but we could have done with an extra day just to chill. If you want to see most variety on your holiday though Samburu does provide a different landscape to the Masai Mara as it is more desert like and you will see different animals here. You’d have to do more research than we did to find out whether Samburu is worth it for you.
Maybe it was just by chance but Samburu turned out worth it for us as it was the wow factor safari of the holiday as we saw a Lion-Croc fight and a dead elephant that seemed to have just keeled over in the river from old age with a pride of lions running over and around the corpse. We saw all the big cats here as well. This may be the kind of thing that can happen anywhere and no more likely than at Masai Mara but it made the holiday for us. Also the place we stayed in Masai Mara was far less ambient and much busier. That may have been down to our choice of lodge there but all the game drives in Masai Mara had many more vehicles converging on any given action and you’d see up to about 40 vehicles crowding round a Cheetah whereas in Samburu there were fewer vehicles around giving you a much more intimate feel to the place.
Food at the hotel was fine. There was not quite the wide choice of some other places we stayed but it was good and service and staff were, as ever in Kenya, excellent.
A very enjoyable stay, the only downside being the travelling, but if you are going to Samburu we would have no hesitation in recommending this lodge.
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- Also Known As:
- Samburu Sopa Hotel Samburu National Reserve
- Samburu Sopa Lodge Kenya/Samburu National Reserve