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“Could have been better” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Samburu Game Lodge

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Samburu Game Lodge
Samburu Game Reserve Near Archers Post, Samburu National Reserve, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
dorset uk
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
“Could have been better”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2012

Stayed here half way through our safari and after Kilaguni and OlTukai this was disappointing. The river view was great (crocs on the opposite bank), although it was a dirty brown but the rooms were tired and in desperate need of a refurb. The grounds were nice to walk around and had an excellent narture walk with Jacob. The restaurant was open sided and uncomfortable when windy and extemely noisy as it was full, food was mediocre, long queues and unless cooked on the spot i.e stir fry, hot food was only warm. Breakfast was ok but never tried any cooked food. Longlife milk only and never really cold but if you are only here for a night or two it's not that critical.

Room Tip: We were on the upper foor of the block with good river views, the bungalows are probably more roomy.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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125 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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    38
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (34)
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English first
Derby, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2012

We stayed at Samburu Game Lodge for the second and third night of our honeymoon and this was possibly my favourite of all the lodges we stayed at. From the moment we arrived, I loved the place. The drive through Samburu National Reserve to reach the lodge was beautiful, it was arid and hot, and we saw so many animals before we had even reached the lodge.

The grounds to the lodge are beautiful. The bougainvillea outside are really stunning, as are the flocks of superb starlings in them. As soon as we got out of our vehicles, we were handed a hot flannel and a cold drink for refreshment, given a brief introductory talk, then shown to our room.

We could not believe our luck! The room was very large, with a double bed (and mosquito nets), dressing table and a sitting area, facing the large patio windows. These led straight out onto our private balcony overlooking the Ewaso Nyiro river. Off the bedroom was a large dressing area and wardrobes, which led on to the bathroom, which was quite spectacular. I have never had such a large bathroom before or since, it was beautifully decorated, had a shower enclosure and a bath, but the best bit about it was that there was a large window running the whole length of the bath with the same fantastic view of the Ewaso Nyiro. Stunning!

Food here was great, and our group enjoyed sitting in the bar by the river in the evenings. There was even time for a quick dip in the swimming pool as well, which again is lovely. The gift shop at Samburu Game Lodge is the best one we saw anywhere on our stay in Kenya, and the prices are reasonable. (Word of advice - don't get caught out (as we did) buying from anywhere where you have to haggle prices. Wait to visit the gift shops at the lodges. We thought we had got good prices after bartering the prices down to about half, but when we visited the gift shop at Samburu with its set, marked prices, we realised we had paid well over what we should have done!)

The game drives through Samburu were as good as anywhere we visited on safari, if not the best. We saw cheetah twice, leopards three times (including a leopard that had just brought down a male impala and was still throttling it, before starting to drag it off towards the trees), a lioness and cubs, and a large group of 60 elephants - not to mention all the regular animals like giraffe, impala etc. The most commonly seen animals must have been the lovely little dik-diks which seemed to be everywhere. This was also the best location for birds - we saw some absolute stunners, including three types of eagle, goshawks, vultures etc.

The lodge itself isn't too bad for wildlife either. There were the usual vervet monkeys around, as well as baboons, and lots of birds including the beautiful superb starlings, kingfishers and egrets, and from our balcony we saw about 10 - 15 vultures flying in to roost in the top of a tree opposite the bar. The following morning a herd of elephants had come down to the river bank opposite the lodge.

I would recommend Samburu to anyone and would go again at the drop of a hat. It was a beautiful place with lots of wildlife. It also felt like a proper safari experience due to the terrain - bumpy and sandy, with our vehicle at times being at a 45 degree angle! This leads me to another bit of advice. We travelled with Somak Safaris who were excellent, but we saw that several tour companies were using minibuses, which were just not suited to Samburu's terrain. We had a Toyota Landcruiser which was an incredible vehicle - nothing was beyond it. On the day we arrived at Samburu, before we had even reached the lodge, we came across a minibus from another tour operator which was stuck in the sand, which we had to tow free. The following evening our driver heard on the radio of someone else who was stuck, and went to assist. It was another minibus which had become embedded in sand - again, we had to tow them free. Somak may not be the cheapest, but we got our value for money. To enjoy somewhere as fantastic as Samburu to its full potential, it is worth paying that bit extra.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2012

Dispite a major setback with our vehicle, and some very annoying Vervet monkeys, we enjoyed our stay at Samburu - mid-May 2012.
Plenty of different habitats made each 'Game Drive' an individual experience, made even better if like usyou have a sharp-eyed and experienced driver/guide to help get the most out of each trip.
The staff proved exceptional and really put themselves out to help us in any way possible.
Yes, we would recommend it to everyone.

Room Tip: Our room, 38, was handy being just off the main block and facing the river.
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Blythburgh, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2012

The Samburu Game Lodge is situated on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro river, which can occasionally be a precarious place to be - looking at the 'flood level' gauge that is situated in the now defunct bottom bar which has been largely washed away following floods in 2010 and 2011.
June seems to be a quiet time of year at the lodge, but we benefited from that by being given rooms with their own private river patio. The beds were comfortable and the bathroom well appointed.
The food was lovely and served a la carte (but I think with more guests they would do the ubiquitous buffet). The bar probably has one of my favourite views in the world, and with the sounds of a guitar player in the background seemed most idyllic.
Each evening at around 7pm, you will also get to see the Nile Crocodiles being given their evening snack (I wasn't sure if the purpose was to let us tourists see the crocodiles, or for the management to know where they were when we were being escorted down the dark paths to our rooms!)
Samburu was also (somewhat surprisingly to me) a great place to get little 'knick nak' souvenirs. Their gift shop offered items at reasonable prices (especially compared to some of those 'curio shops' that you will no doubt be taken to on an organised safari). I picked up a pin dish for kes 250 (under £2) and a 'proper' catapult which I believe it's (56 year old) recipient will love for kes220!

Room Tip: While all have a good view, the rooms with a private river patio (ours was 67) are a bit special.
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Embu
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2012

This lodge is one of the earliest lodges in Samburu and has a stunning location on the Uaso Njiro River. WIth more than 30+ years of safaris I know a good lodge/camp; and this is not it. The lodge is run down and in desperate need of refurbishment. The food quality is basic and of a poor standard. The staff are often indifferent and could do with some further training in customer relations. Better options would be 'Intrepids', 'Larsens' or 'Elephant Bedroom'. Samburu is one of Kenya's premier parks for seeing wildlife and one of my favourite destinations. Leopard sightings are common. Samburu is well known for it's large herds of elephants. There is nothing quite like seeing elephant families playing at the rivers edge. The bridge near the lodge providing access into Buffalo Springs was damaged by floods in November 2011 and has not been repaired. This means that virtually half the park cannot be accessed.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2012

Considering oldest lodge in Samburu reserve, it is very good. The meal is good. They offer al carte when they do not have many guests but it is almost 4 courses and have valiety. Starting from soup, all were satisfied. Rooms are clean and size is also not small and not too big with African antique. Some lodges have too big spaces unnecessary. We could see some elephants, giraffes walking along the dry river just next to the lodge. We wish to visit when river has water though. It is nice to see the river from lounge.

Room Tip: Request rooms near the lounge so that you can get independent lodge. They have honeymooner rooms and...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2012 via mobile

Traveling with Cosmos on the big 5 safari with my family of 4. We were welcomed by lovely warm and friendly staff, for are two night stay. After travelling through the game reserve to here. We were given refreshments and then shown to are luxury tent. Looking out onto a river. The rooms were lovely with marble bathrooms. Had a comfey 2 single beds and my wife and child was in another tent with a king size bed.
Meal times you couldn't have faltered with the freindly staff. Food was a buffet. While having dinner you would look out onto the river where a elephant would come and get fed.
The pool was nice to sit down and relax after your wonderful game drive. Seeing all the animals you could think of. We saw a leapard twice while seeing baby Lion cubs and lots more animals. Overall this was a unbelievable place to stay.
Their was the chance to visit a local tribe we never went however people who did enjoyed it, if you do visit the tribe they need MATCH STICKS/LIGHTERS to light their fires to scare away the lions.

  • Stayed July 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Samburu Game Lodge

Address: Samburu Game Reserve Near Archers Post, Samburu National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Samburu District > Samburu National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Parking Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 13 Specialty lodging in Samburu National Reserve
Also Known As:
Samburu Game Hotel Samburu National Reserve
Samburu Game Lodge Kenya/Samburu National Reserve

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