Reviews of Saruni Samburu
Wildlife sightings and reviews
17 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Saruni Samburu and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"Excellent lodge, disappointing food"
Everyone talks about the view but believe me, it has to be experienced.
Our villa, (#3) was beautiful and spacious. Service was excellent and we usually dined in our room for a more relaxing experience. Our room attendant, Simon was excellent. However, the food was disappointing. There were no menu options, the Italian-based meals had a consistent sameness, and the chef used a lot of salt on every dish.
The manager Daryll was truly accommodating and he plans further upgrades to the lodge and is dedicated to ongoing maintenance.
Service throughout was friendly and consistently upbeat and attentive. I also had two wonderful deep massages in the wellness centre." See all these reviews: 15n in Kenya
Again, the season was the downside--no animals at the watering hole and therefore no use for the photographic hide, something my husband had really been looking forward to. Lots of animals in the game drive in the reserve though." See all these reviews: 7n in Kenya; 5n in Tanzania; 4n in Zanzibar
"Luxury in the bush"
As the rains had come to Samburu by the time of our visit, there was no wildlife at the lodge's waterhole, but we saw plenty on our game drive into the main national reserve - elephants, giraffe, zebra, antelopes, fantastic birds and a pride of seven lions. We heard other lions roaring overnight right by the lodge too.
Local Samburu staff were fantastic - special mention to Kennedy's Dawa cocktails and Benson's knowledge of the night sky. Thanks, too, to Darryl, who was holding the fort as manager.
The menu was quite meat-based and featured imported produce eg smoked salmon as well as plenty of fruit and veg." See all these reviews: 10n in Kenya
"Beautiful lodge in a fantastic location"
Zoe and Johan are the managers, and do a fantastic job. As soon as you mention their names they appear, and are clearly on top of everything that happens in the lodge to ensure a great experience. All the staff are professional and friendly, special mention must be made of Kennedy in the restaurant who took excellent care of us. Don't miss a scorpion night safari with Johan and his ultra-violet light - it'll encourage you to stop wearing flip flops at night!
I think our stay coincided with a period of drought, so the wildlife in the Kalama reserve itself was fairly sparse - on an evening drive we only saw dik diks and guinea fowl. In the Samburu national park there is much more to see, but that is a fairly bumpy 45 minute drive away. We were only there for a couple of nights, and so there wasn't time to go to the reserve on the last morning, so I would encourage guests who want to see a lot of wildlife to take every opportunity to go to the reserve itself, as the wildlife in the conservancy is much less visible.
Also highly recommended is a visit to the local village (which can be combined with a drive). It was fascinating to learn about the Samburu way of life, see inside a home, and meet some of the villagers." See all these reviews: 6n in Kenya
"What a view!!"
Everything was great except for the hot weather which made our bedroom and bathroom unbearable during the day. Our guides, Jimmy and Lapoyan were excellent.
The service was wonderful. Two beautiful pools, but not enough shade and not enough chairs.
The food was terrific and the spa staff were great - we both had massages and they were fabulous." See all these reviews: 13n in Kenya
"Special sightings and a Samburu wedding"
The villas are spread over a large area and are a good walk from the main dining/bar/meeting area. We had the "signature" villa, number five, which had 180 degree views and is almost the furthest away! The accommodation is very large with a lounge/dining area, bedroom and huge bathroom. The little outside seating area was impressively shaded by a massive boulder. A few maintenance issues let it down, for instance large holes and broken zips in the insect mesh.
The cuisine is Italian inspired served at the communal tables for both lunch and dinner. We found the lunches to be better for us as vegetarians than the dinners. The bush breakfasts were basic.
The camp is in the conservancy and a half hour drive from the national park entrance. The park itself proved to be the busiest of the three areas we visited. We weren't comfortable getting involved in a lion sighting that attracted 10 jeeps and a school bus. Having said that we had some spectacular viewings, including the successful hunting of a young Grant's gazelle by a cheetah with very small cubs,bat-eared foxes mating, and gerenuk browsing on their hind legs.
While wildlife may be a bit more shy and harder to spot in the conservancy, it is certainly worth spending time there. On the last full day of our five-night stay we saw a herd of 15 Grevy's zebra and caught a fleeting glimpse of an aardwolf.
The guides and staff are all traditionally dressed Samburu. Guide Simon and tracker Emanuel were good company with impressive spotting skills. One of the guides was getting married during our visit and we were very privileged to be invited to go along to part of the two-day Samburu celebrations." See all these reviews: 16n in Kenya
"Amazing views at Saruni Samburi"
Cool breezes through the room." See all these reviews: 16n in Kenya
"A truly special place!"
I was completely blown away by the lodge, the design and size of the rooms left me speechless. The use of local wood and furnishings gave a warmth and luxury to the rooms.
The rooms all built on the hillside with completely open fronts give unfettered views over the open plains. Unforgettable from the outdoor shower! The rooms are spread out so that no room overlooks another. You get the feeling you are the only guests.
There are 2 lovely infinity swimming pools, a welcome extra which again give that amazing feeling of space. Complimentary massages were also a unexpected bonus!
Around the lodge we saw Klipspringer, DikDik Dassies and lots of birdlife.
We were collected from the airstrip by our friendly guide, Sambara. He was an excellent guide with an extensive knowledge of the animals and birds of the Samburu region. He was very proud of his Samburu roots and happy to answer all our questions. Of which there were many!
We had a warm welcome from Zoe and Johan on arrival and they were very attentive throughout our stay. They were there when we went on a game run, there when we returned and present at every meal.
I enjoyed eating at a communal table with the other guests, sharing their experiences. The food was excellent. As a vegetarian there was always a special meal for me. A lot of thought went into the menus both at lunch and dinner.
We specifically chose Saruni for its remote location but it is important to be aware of the distance form Samburu National Park. It takes an hour to get into the park where most of the game drives will take place.
Saruni Samburu is not just a safari lodge, it is a beautiful, peaceful place to spend time just relaxing.
Very difficult to leave!" See all these reviews: 10n in Kenya
"Saruni Samburu review"
We are rather elderly & found the trek to the lodge from our rooms slightly challenging & were very glad to have an escort in the evenings to hang onto. We thought it would have been reassuring to have a walkie talkie provided in one's room should one wish to contact the lodge.
Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our stay." See all these reviews: 10n in Tanzania; 10n in Kenya; 3n in Zanzibar
"Saruni Samburu review"
Game viewing started from the moment we were picked up from the airstrip. We got so lucky as we approached the river the scene was surreal as we saw large groups of reticulated giraffe (in my wifes opinion and mine of the three type of giraffe these were the most beuutiful and majestic), elephants, gerenuks, lions and more. Not long after our arrival we witnessed a single male lion unsuccessfully try to take down a giraffe. A lasting memory for sure.
Once at camp we fell in love with the setting, rooms and facilities. A great place but above and beyond all else stands out the people and the food. We found the staff at Saruni Sambura to be the friendliest and most engaging in all of Africa. Moses stands out himself for being the most engaging staff member on our entire trip, enthusiasm like his makes your trip truly memorable.
The food was outstanding, creative and inspired rivalling some of the best meals in Europe and America. A great experience." See all these reviews: 12n in Kenya
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