Guided Game Drives - Day & Night
Guests can enjoy morning, afternoon and all day game drives through renowned and teeming conservation areas; Kalama Conservancy and Samburu National Reserve, two fantastic habitats for African wildlife. Saruni also highly recommends night game drives in Kalama Conservancy, when nocturnal species can be encountered. This is a unique activity not permitted in the National Reserve.
Bush Meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner
Guests enjoy breakfast along the Ewaso Nyiro River and starlit dinners in a dry river bed under the vast African skies (weather permitting). Saruni loves to take guests to their secret spots for a bush dinner or for a picnic lunch that allows guests to be with elephants, waterbuck, lion, impala and the Samburu Five that stop to take water. Note – bush dinners are usually part of a group, unless the lodge can accommodate otherwise.
Saruni Samburu offers guests a unique experience for Kenya: access to an elephant-proof, open ground level hide based at a waterhole, where from both novice and professional photographers can photograph animals and elephants from ground level. Designed with the needs of photographers in mind, buried underground, and covered with earth on three sides as well as on the roof, located a few steps from a waterhole, it is 'painted' with Samburu red earth and covered with shrubs and bushes: the perfect spot for 'stealing' amazing images of what occurs at the well-frequented waterhole. It can have up to 8 guests inside, it has maps and books available, and bean bags for photographers. The waterhole at Saruni Samburu offers a unique opportunity to spot from very close up the elephants that come and drink its water, the fantastic birds species and the 'Samburu Five'; reticulated giraffe, Beisa oryx, gerenuk, Somali ostrich and Grevy’s zebra. Being in the middle of an arid area, the hide also provides excellent opportunities to photograph from ground level and from very close up the predators of Samburu, especially lion and leopard.
Guided Bush Walks
Walking safaris are individually tailored to guests' interests and are set in a breath-taking landscape. Walking with the Samburu warriors out in the African bush is a fantastic experience and guests learn from their authentic local knowledge of the plants, animals and landscape, about their traditions and about their lives. Having discovered Samburu rock art in several caves nearby the lodge, Saruni includes a visit to these extraordinary archaeological sites during the bush walks.
Samburu Wellbeing Space
In collaboration with Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees (Stresa, Italy) and its world-famous spa - Centro Benessere Stresa,Saruni runs the Samburu Wellbeing Space.It is a unique feature in Samburu: in the most serene and relaxing environment, guests enjoy massage and wellness treatments under the supervision of highly trained staff. The new techniques combine sophisticated methods developed at Centro Benessere Stresa with ancient Samburu wisdom and knowledge.
For instance, the Spa therapists use the Olmurmuru seedas (Albizia Harvey) to reduce muscular discomfort and pure gel from Usunguru (Aloe Kedongesis) for sun burnt areas. Among the treatments available, guests can choose between the lymphatic drainage massage, decongestive or nourishing or purifying facials, manicare, pedicare and the popular sport massage. All with an open view of Kalama Wildlife Conservancy, where elephant, kudu and giraffe roam freely.
Infinity Swimming Pools
Should it get too hot up on the hot rock - and sometimes it does - guests have the option of lounging around and taking a refreshing dip in not just one but two infinity pools! The upper infinity pool is located high on an impressive panoramic view point near to villas 5 & 6. The spectacular lower infinity pool is situated close to Kudu House (main communal area) on a rocky formation.
If guests are passionate about birds, Samburu is the perfect place to visit; not only are the species abundant but the birds can be easily spotted and photographed. Saruni's guides are birdwatchers by instinct and training and share a love for birds. Saruni's guides always carry field guides in the game drive vehicles.
The sundowner is a well-deserved drink at the end of a long day on safari to ‘salute’ the African sun as it is setting. Saruni guide's drive guests to an unforgettable panoramic viewpoint and serve guests' favourite drink along with a selection of scrumptious ‘bitings’; small snacks to whet appetites ahead of the delicious dinner which awaits.
The Warriors Academy is a special interactive safari experience with a strong educational flavour, designed especially for families with children or small groups. It is a fun learning experience, that allows families to explore not only the wildlife, but also the authentic lifestyle of one of the most well-known and culturally fascinating tribes left in Africa; the Samburu. Under the tutelage of their ‘Moran’, or warriors, participants get to know, enjoy and understand these unique people and see the Kenyan wilderness from a different perspective. Combined with regular safari activities, and tailored to guests' interests and timeframe, the Warriors Academy can last between 1-3 days, and needs to be booked in advance.
Cultural Visit to local village and community
Saruni safaris are not only focused on wildlife but also on culture and people. Some call it ‘cultural tourism’. Saruni calls it ‘meet the neighbours’. Guests visit genuine Samburu villages - the lodge's neighbours and friends, and are privileged to share moments of their life. They are the ancient custodians of this land and Saruni feel it is an integral part of the overall experience for guests to see how they live, how they protect the environment and in what way they differ from other African tribes. Be prepared for the Samburu to ask questions too as they will be curious about life outside of their way of life! Consider it an exchange of ideas and information.
*Please note, this visit incurs an additional charge of US$20 per person that goes to the community directly.
Reteti Elephant Sanctuary
Located in Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy in Samburu County of Northern Kenya, Reteti Elephant Sanctuary is the first community owned and managed elephant sanctuary in Africa. The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary is situated in the remote Mathews Range, among Kenya’s second largest elephant population. Similar to the world-famous Sheldrick Sanctuary in Nairobi, it takes in orphaned and abandoned elephant calves with the aim to release them back into the wild herds adjoining the Sanctuary. This excursion needs to be arranged in advance with reservations at the time of booking, or lodge management, and is payable extra.
Saruni Weddings & Blessings
Saruni Samburu is the perfect place if guests want to be part of an unusual but very genuine Samburu wedding ceremony. The experience can be enjoyed either by newlyweds who want to re-affirm their vows in the middle of a very spiritual land or by those who plan to actually get married in Kenya. The ceremony takes place in a Samburu village, with the participation of the elders, the women and the warriors, or on the top of a mountain overlooking the endless landscape.
These are available upon request and payable extra, with excursions to Mount Kenya, Turkana and everything in between.
Visit to local caves featuring rock art
As part of the guided bush walks, guests can also visit nearby mountain caves where, hundreds of years ago, the Samburu have drawn hunting scenes and animals in what the experts call ‘white rock art’. The caves evoke a past when the Samburu were mostly pastoralist warriors.
The Sacred Mountain Trek - Mount Ololokwe
Standing proud on Saruni Samburu’s doorstep, Mount Ololokwe is the Samburu tribe’s sacred mountain. It is a pillar of cultural significance to the Samburu and an exciting trekking venture to many others. Setting off at dawn, Saruni's professional guides will accompany guests during this day’s excursion to the summit (with picturesque pit stops for breakfast and lunch) teaching guests along the way about the mountain, its cultural significance and all of its wonders.
*Please note, this trek is payable extra.
Interested in scorpions and all that lies beneath the sand, hidden away from sight? Each night, Johan, lodge manager, takes guests on a ‘scorpion safari’ using his special ultra-violet torch that locates scorpions lurking in the sand. Understand the many different types of scorpion that call the earth surrounding Saruni Samburu their home. Walking shoes or boots advised!
The night skies above Saruni Samburu and the ‘hot rock’ upon which it sits are among some of the brightest and most beautiful in the world. Unpolluted and unobscured, every evening the night skies provide guests with an alternative ‘playground’. There is a powerful telescope for guests use in Kudu House - the main mess area of Saruni Samburu.