Africa has the famous ‘Big Five’ but Samburu has its own ‘Special Six’ and throughout the two and a half days we spent here we were lucky enough to spot all of these rare species: Grevy’s zebra, the Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, the long-necked gerenuk, Guenther’s dik dik and the beisa oryx.
Less than a minute after leaving our lodge gates, we spotted a group of Guenther’s dik diks weaving in and out of the shrubs. If you don’t know, dik diks are tiny deer-like animals with huge eyes and a small pointy nose.
We continued through the park, admiring the stunning mountainous scenery characterised by irregular green peaks and sheer rock faces, and crossed the bridge of the river. After another few minutes, we found a large dazzle of special Geby’s zebra, distinguishable from the common zebra by their round ears and thin stripes as well as their white bellies.
Just a minute further up the path we found a tower of reticulated giraffes! Funnily enough, the intricate hexagonal pattern on the reticulated giraffe is perhaps the most commonly depicted image of a giraffe in cartoons and illustrations, but it is one of the rarer species, only found in this northern region.
A game drive the next morning, as the sun rose, gave us the opportunity to witness the park in another light. We were lucky enough to witness the long-necked gerenuk as they stretched up on their rear legs to graze on the tree leaves. We also saw impala engaged in a morning tussle with locked horns, and a herd of majestic beisa oryx.
Along with the excitement of finding two leopards and two lions that afternoon, we were also lucky enough to see a group of Somali ostrich almost ‘dancing’ and moving their feathers in time. As with lots of bird species, it is the males that are the most beautiful – needing to attract a suitable female partner! Its plush black and white feathers ruffling were truly mesmerising to watch!
By Emily Fraser