Samburu National Park, Northern Kenya, Kenya
At a Glance
Wait in the hide and see what comes down to drink at the watering hole
Visit the singing wells
Spend a night under the stars, sleeping in your own mosquito-netting tent in the middle of a dry river bed, watching the stars in the clear sky above you
Enjoy a bush dinner on a dry river bed close to camp
Experience a night game drive and track the nocturnal and elusive leopard
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
Closed 15 April - 1 June and 15 October - 10 December
The main season is in January and February, when the weather is hottest and driest. At this time, the animals in the wildlife parks tend to congregate more around the watercourses, making them easier to spot.
Northern and eastern Kenya temperatures vary from highs of up to 40°C during the day to less than 20°C at night. Rainfall in this area is sparse and, when it does occur, is often in the form of violent storms. July is usually the driest month, and November the wettest.
To start planning your vacation to Sarara Camp
Sarara is a leading community-run tented camp set in the Mathews Range of Northern Kenya. Accommodation is in six double tents, each with flush-loos and open air showers. A natural rock swimming pool overlooks a waterhole frequently visited by animals.
Sarara is a dry season refuge for several hundred elephant. Lion and leopard are resident and there are two separate groups of the endangered African wild dog. Other wildlife species interest include kudu, black and white colobus monkeys, Grevy’s zebra, striped hyena and gerenuk.
The conservation work carried out by the Namunyak Trust to date has been hugely successful. As a result of the severe ivory poaching crisis of the mid 1970s and early '80s, there were no recorded elephants remaining in the Mathews range by 1985. Today, several thousand elephant are recorded as living and breeding peacefully in the southern Mathews range area, together with a variety of other wildlife species.
Sarara Camp has six luxury tented rooms each positioned to maximize the stunning views of the Mathews Mountain Range and the watering hole. There is an outdoor bathroom offering a superb view of the hills from the shower. But there is also an indoor loo and sink at the back of the tent. Each tent has its own private terrace with table and chairs and morning coffee and tea are brought to you so that you can wake up gazing out over the mountains.
One of the highlights of the Namunyak area must be a visit to the famous ‘Sarara Singing Wells’. Samburu warriors bring their cattle to these watering holes on a daily basis during the dry season. Some of the wells are up to 10 meters deep. The warriors strip off, descend to form a human chain and chant traditional Samburu songs as they pass water up by hand for the cattle. This mind-blowing ritual goes on for several hours a day.
Sarara Camp has six en-suite luxury tents, each positioned to maximize the stunning views of the Matthews Range of mountains and the animal watering hole. Each tent is spacious with high ceilings and plenty of cupboard space, electric lighting, flush loo and 24-hour hot and cold running water and an outdoor shower.
Sarara welcomes family groups but the camp is not suitable for very young children, due to the unfenced nature of the camp.
Sarara has an infinity pool up on the cliff overlooking the animals below. The camp is powered by solar energy generated by several sets of solar panels. Fresh food is kept, not in a refrigerator, but in a specially designed charcoal store. Twice a day the charcoal is soaked with water and evaporation keeps food at cellar temperatures.
All water is fresh, pure mountain spring water – no pumps required. Bottles/glass/plastic/tins are all removed from Sarara and recycled. Solar panels run all freezers etc. Minimal chlorine is used in the pool.
The emphasis at Sarara is on walking safaris or walking with camels but game drives are also available. It is also possible to arrange walks with fly camping at night. A unique experience of watching the local cattlemen at the singing wells is not to be missed.
Anna Thomas (Staff)
Sarara is an absolute stunning property with so much to offer. During my stay I felt like I could have spent an entire week here and still not had enough time. The rooms are stunning allowing absolute comfort and luxury. The views of the Mathews Mountain range steal the show and I could have sat in the main lodge area looking out at the landscape for hours on end. The game here is not as strong but you do still see quite a bit of animals such as the special five. Activities to do here are many including game drives, visiting the famous Samburu Singing Wells (only during dry season), horseback riding, Samburu womens beading, fly camping and hiking up to Mathews Mountain range. Sarara is wonderful for everyone of all ages and is a truly authentic, off the beaten path experience mixed with culture and wildlife.
Hannah Dawson (Staff)
This beautiful lodge located in the Matthew ranges is perfect for both families and couples. Boasting a stunning outlook, luxury tents with terraces and beautiful outdoor bathrooms. The communal areas are very open all giving way to the mesmerizing views and the water hole below. Beyond the safari, there is horse riding, hikes, waterfalls and the wonderful Reteti elephant orphanage.
Sian Frost (Staff)
Sarara is one of the most beautiful camps in the incredible setting of the Matthews Mountain Range. The 6 luxury tents all boast incredible views over the mountains and plains, especially from their spectacular outdoor bathrooms, in which I could quite happily live! There is far more to do here than you normal game drives, speak to your guide and walk to the waterfalls and pools with a picnic lunch and spend the day swimming, go for a horse ride around the foothills of the mountains or visit the spectacular and culturally humbling singing wells for an unforgettable experience.
Sarara Tented Camp located on the Namunyak (Place of Peace) conservancy, a 343,400-hectare (848,198-acre) tribal community-owned wilderness area with five guest tents situated just below Warges peak to the north of Ol Donyo Sabache (also known as Ol Lolokwe, the sacred mountain). The setting affords unrivalled views of the Mathews Range, and since the camp isn't in the mountains themselves, Sarara can offer game drives through the Namunyak wilderness, where guests have a better chance of seeing lion, leopard, and two separate groups of African wild dog -- one pack here numbers more than 30 individuals, making this Kenya's most significant wild dog habitat. Now that once-furious poaching has been stopped -- much thanks to the Sarara community initiative -- Namunyak also attracts large herds of elephant. The emphasis here is mainly on walking excursions -- you can head across to the Mathews forest for a walk with a Samburu scout. Sarara tents each have an open-air bush shower, veranda, and comfortable beds, and quality bed linen, bathrobes, towels, and other essentials are provided. The lounge and dining banda overlooks a natural pool (for swimming) and a waterhole (where animals drink). Don't miss a chance to check out the Sarara Singing Wells, where Samburu warriors water their herds during the dry season. Since some of these wells are as much as 10m (33 ft.) deep, the men strip off and climb into the pits, forming a human chain. For several hours each day, they'll chant traditional tunes as they haul out the water, passing it up by hand for the cattle.
You have to make an effort to get to Sarara Camp, but the journey is completely worth the time and expense.
Fly Fishing in Northern Kenya
If you want to try something really different during your vacation then why not take a fishing trip up to Lake Rutundu or Lake Alice. Situated at 10,000 feet above sea level, on the slopes of Mount Kenya this is a totally unique fly fishing experience.
Game Drives in Lewa Downs
Explore this beautiful area of Kenya with your professional safari guide in search of some of the fantastic wildlife of Laikipia. Enjoy the opportunity to track and view some of the critically endangered white and black rhino of the conservancy.
Reteti Elephant Sanctuary
Samburu is famed for its impressive elephant population. Go on game drives in search of these magnificent animals and for real enthusiasts a visit to the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary is an absolute must!
Riding in Northern Kenya
Horseback safaris are the most exciting way to see the bush and in Kenya they are without a doubt the most exciting and adventurous safari you can do.
A scenic flight is the ultimate way to enjoy Kenya's spectacular landscapes, whether by helicopter or in the wonderful Waco bi-plane, it is an experience of a lifetime.
Location & directions
Samburu National Park, Northern Kenya, Kenya
Sarara Camp is situated on 75,000 acres of Namunyak Wildlife Conservation Trust land. It is mostly dry plains, but the Sarara River flows through, and is flanked by the Mathews Ranges, giving it a truly stunning setting and a good range of habitat.
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