Sarara Camp: About the Destination

Located in Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya

Sarara is located within the unspoiled wilderness of the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy—an area of approximately 850,000 acres nestled around the southern corner of the Mathews Range. The only permanent camp for hundreds of miles, Sarara sits on a raised escarpment overlooking the Mathews. Below their craggy, cedar-studded slopes, dry bush country unfolds. Bubbling springs rise in the hills, providing precious water to the Samburu people and the wildlife species that inhabit this ancient land.

Wildlife and Natural History

Since its establishment in 1995, the Namunyak Wildlife Conservation Trust has worked to protect one of the last great stretches of untouched African wilderness—and its conservation efforts have paid off. Today, several thousand elephants live in the southern Mathews Range area, in addition to a variety of other species including leopard, giraffe, wild dog, and kudu. Guests at Sarara need not stray far from their tent in order to view these splendid creatures. During Kenya’s dry season, the camp watering hole draws a host of daily visitors such as elephant and warthog; and nearby, a secret hide allows for close-up viewing of whatever animal or bird happens to wander by.

People and Culture

This is the home of the Samburu, a group of semi-nomadic pastoralists who are closely related to the Maasai. Though their ancestral lands once stretched from here to Ethiopia, subsequent tribal clashes forced the Samburu to move south to the sparsely populated area they inhabit today. Here in northern Kenya, where the foothills of Mount Kenya give way to the semi-desert plains, the Samburu maintain a traditional lifestyle. As their ancestors have done for centuries, they keep livestock including cattle, sheep, goats, and camels, and wear distinctive costumes of colorful woven textiles, animal skins, beads, and ornaments.

As one of the six group ranches that make up the Namunyak conservancy, Sarara maintains a deep and meaningful relationship with the Samburu, who are as much a part of the fabric of this land as is the wildlife. Members of the Samburu community work at the camp and serve as guides on game drives and bush walks, drawing on their ancestral heritage to offer unique insight into the local flora and fauna. Guests may also visit a nearby village and take part in the daily rituals such as milking goats and corralling cattle. During the dry season, one of most magical experiences at Sarara is a visit to the singing wells—an ancient Samburu tradition.

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