Dusty storms, hot ashy air and razing dry winds fiercely swirling across the sun-baked rugged plains of lifeless acacia and cacti, for a moment drop you to a desolate part of the Sahara, then dust hits your face aiming directly for your already red eyes, slapping you out of your imagination back to the senses that you are still in Kenya.
I Miss Samburu 🙂 , so much I would scream this again and again. Maybe its the colour pop of beads and blood or the perfect sunrise views you can never miss here, but; Okay, the Samburu story is a different one. I call it “the Nomadic Samburu Sunrise Culture”, you have to be up before the noisy humming birds, have the livestock out in the fields grazing, or packing to look for the next hope of food for your hundreds of livestock and all your chores done by sunrise “If you are a Samburu”, otherwise the sun and heat won’t even let your little food taste good. It’s so hard to even survive just seated on the shade the whole day watching sneaking little creatures scramble for some food.
When we took this Samburu trip with my peers sometime back as an educational and give back to the community project. What came out of it were some lifetime experiences we’ll never forget, well as Tim Cahill puts it “A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles”.
Forget the distance from Nairobi which I honestly don’t remember by the way *you can use Google* , Assume there’s no hunger in this far land, then don’t even look at the sun nor feel the heat and you are ready to indulge in everything Samburu has to offer.
SHABA National Reserve and BUFFALO SPRINGS N.R.
Located within the heart of Samburu, joint by wildlife corridors a meandering Ewaso Nyiro river and bordering each other to pass as one, the game safari here is quite rewarding. The rare big five that is the Gravy zebra, gerenuk, reticulated giraffe, Somali ostrich and Beisa Oryx and other wild animals grazing along the trails of lush green grass by the fuscous brown river are the highlights of your wild chase. Shaba is dominated by beautiful hills that can make for a good hiking experience while Buffalo springs prides in the high number of elephant families.
The Samburu Culture.
The fascinating traditional Samburu is still so stuck with nomadic culture and routine. Their family set ups and homesteads are ancient and temporary built in the traditional way. We have different sleeping zones for men and women according to different age groups, like the warriors living and sleeping in the forest bushes. They have hundreds of bomas of cattle guarded throughout the night and its funny how women are the ones responsible for livestock herding. I would try sound feminist here but that’s a story for another day.
Back to where we were, our first stop was at Archer’s Post Samburu with our first hunt being drinking water. The heat is roasting and dehydrating. We then visit a Women’s Camp to mingle with them and get to hear their life story; these are women who are not in marriages for different reasons or girls who ran away from their homes to escape forced marriages. They’ve tried to adjust to life by finding economic ways of surviving and their blessing is beadwork and carvings which is a major part of Samburu’s pride. The traditional ornaments are quite a master piece you would want to take home as souvenirs, and they even gave some to us as Presents. We then joined them in some organized Dance and music and as much as I was clueless I was totally enjoying the flow of it.
See Video SAMBURU WOMEN DANCE
Samburu’s main source of living is River Ewaso Nyiro yet walking down the river, it’s sad to see diminished water levels leave alone the brown water colour but that’s their main source of life and their only way to survive. At times when it’s so dry they dig up holes in the sand at the river bank to collect and filter the dirty water then scoop it using a calabash.
Elephant Watch at SAMBURU National Reserve.
Get a chance to visit Samburu national reserve and appreciated how the Samburu people have given much effort to wildlife conservation and livestock integration. They believe the wildlife attracts tourists to their land which in turn benefits them economically. The Ewaso River is famous for families of Elephants crossing over to feed on the other side or rubbing their backs and breaking down doum palms lining the river.
Also try hiking to their Ornamental Mountain “Mt Ol Lolokwe”, where they believe is the source of their supernatural powers and enjoy its breathtaking view of the magnificent Samburu landscape. Come across some naked morans in the forest and run because it is taboo for you to see them.
The Samburu culture has much to offer and is a great appreciation of our African culture and roots.
Have you been to Samburu? What was your experience like? If you haven’t am planning for a repeat trip, would you like to join? Let me know what you think. 🙂 🙂