How to get to Samburu National Reserve : Samburu national reserve is a very rewarding safari gem located about 310 kilometers from Nairobi, the capital of Kenya and where most safaris start from to numerous Kenya safari destinations including Samburu.

From Nairobi to Samburu one can use either by air or road, by road it takes about 5 to 6 hours to get there using Thika Superhighway Road. Flying to Samburu national reserve is the most convenient way to get to there, the flight is about 1.5 hours from Wilson airport in Nairobi to several airstrips serving Samburu such as Kalama Airstrip, Buffalo Springs Airstrip and Samburu Oryx Airstrip.

This article has relevant information on how to reach Samburu national reserve by road and air from Nairobi, also has information on how to reach Kenya and Samburu national reserve from oversea countries such as from USA, UK, Canada, Europe, Australia India and Dubai UAE.


Road transport is by far the most popular mode of transport to get to Samburu national reserve from Nairobi, from Nairobi to Samburu the distance varies depending on which gate or entry point to enter Samburu. The typical distance from Nairobi to Samburu is approximately 6 hours to Archer’s Gate which is the main entry point to Samburu.

Route to use from Nairobi to Samburu

From Nairobi City, use the Thika superhighway heading out from Nairobi City and keep on the Nyeri Katarina highway and turn right at Marwa Town which is 12 kilometers from Karatina town. Head North, out of Nanyuki via Timau and toward Isiolo while staying on the main road. If you are leaving from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA Airport, use the Eastern Bypass to connect to Thika Superhighway at Ruiru Road Junction so as to cut out the city traffic.

How to get to Samburu National Reserve
Biking in Samburu

Once at Archer’s Post, just drive a few kilometers off the highway to Archer’s gate.

Driving time to Samburu

From Nairobi city to Samburu national reserve’s Archer’s Gate it is a drive of 5.5 – 6 hours.

Road conditions to Samburu national reserve

Travelers heading to Samburu national reserve for a safari usually ask about the road conditions. Well, most of the route is actually a tarred road starting with highway A104, B3 and finally C12, except the last sections which is approximately 1 hour.

The Tarmac portion of this tarmac road is however in a sub standard condition in certain places including a few stretches with potholes, while the last unpaved portion can be bumpy and dusty (however this condition adds to the adventure of getting to the African wilderness).


The type of safari vehicles to use to get to Samburu national reserve is always one of the frequently asked questions about how to get to Samburu. There are two types of vehicles commonly used in Kenya safari including Samburu safaris,as well as safaris in East Africa. These safari vehicles are Safari Tour Minibuses (Tour Vans) and 4X4 Safari Jeeps (Toyota Land cruiser or Landrover vehicles).

All these safari vehicles have in built pop – up game viewing roof hatches, the hatches are open by the driver once on a game drive in Samburu national reserve. These vehicles also have UHF Radio calls and cooler boxes, in terms of costs. The safari/tour vans cost less than the 4X4 wheel driver safari jeep/cruisers, there are also some tour vans which come with 4X4 capability, albeit with the lack of ground clearance or off road ability that comes with a Land Cruiser.

Carrying capacity in these two types of vehicles is maximum of 7 passengers with 6 being ideal and 8 passengers being the upper limit with an extra seat filled into the vehicle.

How to get to Samburu National Reserve
Game drives in Samburu

Kindly note that luggage restrictions apply in these vehicles.


Flights to Samburu national reserve are operated by several airlines flying from Nairobi’s Wilson Airstrip to several airstrips serving the reserve, a one way flight from Nairobi to Samburu takes approximately 1.5 hours.

Flights to Samburu national reserve, the same plane usually turns around back to Nairobi after dropping off or collecting passengers from several airstrips of Samburu.

All of the flights to Samburu take off from Wilson Airport in Nairobi and for your flight, you are recommended to be at the airport about 45 minutes prior to the flight. Flights to Samburu are served by two main airlines that are Air Kenya and Safarilink, these airlines have a reliable services and credible safety record. There are also connecting flights from Samburu national reserve to Masai Mara via Nanyuki, these flights are available during the peak season.


  • Morning flight: depart Nairobi’s Wilson Airport at 09:15 am and arrive in Samburu at 10:45 am.
  • Return morning flight: depart Samburu at 10:55 am and arrive at Wilson Airstrip, Nairobi at 12:40 pm
  • Morning flight: Depart Samburu 10:05 am and arrive Masai Mara at 11:30 am.


Samburu national reserve, the surrounding game ranches and conservancies are served by several airstrips. These airstrips are spread out in different parts of Samburu and they serve lodges and camps situated in close proximity, this is in order to cut down transfer time from the airstrip to the safari lodge or camp.

Airstrips serving Samburu national reserve include

  • Kalama Airstrip
  • Buffalo Springs Airstrip
  • Samburu Oryx Airstrip

Types of aircrafts used for flights to Samburu national reserve include propeller planes with seating capacities ranging from 40 seaters for DeHavilland Das 7 and 8 aircraft to 13 seater Cessna Caravans.

On these flights, passengers are limited to 15 kilometers of carry on and check in luggage combined.

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