Reviews of Saruni Samburu
Wildlife sightings and reviews
20 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
"Gorgeous location with stunning views"
One reason for us to visit Samburu was the opportunity to observe the typical mammals of the north: Reticulated Giraffe, Oryx, Gerenuk and Grevy Zebra ... and we saw them all and often!
The lodge itself is superb and the location on a hill fantastic! You will not miss anything there: huge rooms all with great views to an endless landscape, friendly staff and tasty food! But the best of all is the pool at the top of the hill with stunning views - really hard to get beaten!!
Despite the long drive to the National Park all in all we would choose this lodge again because of it's fantastic location: alone in a remote area with unique views!" See all these reviews: 16n in Kenya
"Saruni Samburu review"
The hotel is jaw dropping amazing. The view is spectacular and the rooms are unlike anything we have experienced before. The feeling of the inside being outside is great and we thoroughly enjoyed the outside showers. The room's patio was a great place to sit and enjoy the scenery that stretched for miles.
The rooms were extremely clean, comfortable and luxurious. The communal area was great. The staff were very nice and friendly. Martin who was our waiter for the stay was excellent. He was so friendly and happy to chat about himself and his community. He couldn't do enough for us and was always available, to the extent that he gave us his phone number in case we wanted to text him from the room for anything. We couldn't have been better looked after by him.
The entertainment in the camp was excellent, on Christmas Saruni arranged local village teenagers to put on a dance show and one of the evenings we had a very enjoyable bush dinner.
The downside to Saruni for us was the game drives and the limited amount of time actually in the reserve. The focus here isn't on the drives and you are actively encourages to spend more time in camp. It's a long drive back and forward to the reserve and we found with the drought that there wasn't much to see in the conservancy on the way to and fro.
In comparison we spent 30hrs over 3 days on drives in another camp but only 7 hrs over 3 days in Saruni!
When some of our party booked a special excursion it was assumed the rest of the party would stay in camp and when that wasn't the case it was very difficult for them to accommodate a drive and resulted in only 5 hrs total game drive for the day (3 if you take off the drive to and fro).
When you do get to the reserve the elephants are unreal and its a great experience to spend time sitting amongst them as they go about their day.
In our opinion Saruni is great if you want a little bit of drives and a lot of relaxation and comfort but it isn't the place to be if your main focus is game drives." See all these reviews: 11n in Kenya
"Saruni Samburu review"
Great food, great staff, great massage and the boys loved the pool and the environment.
The first guide was very uninspired and I asked for a change - next morning we had a new guide who was great." See all these reviews: 9n in Kenya
"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
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