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Samburu Kenya Safaris

Elephant Watch Camp

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Elephant Watch Camp,Samburu

Elephant Watch Camp is a luxury tented camp located in the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya. The camp is situated on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River and offers a unique wildlife experience with a focus on elephant conservation. Elephant Watch camp is run by Oria Douglas-Hamilton, who has been studying elephants for over 40 years and has brought her scientific studies to the attention of the world.

The camp offers six en-suite tents that are crafted from all-natural materials, including trees felled by elephants, and stand in woodland by the Ewaso Nyiro river. The camp is deeply conscious of its duty as guardians of this wilderness and is committed to eco-tourism and conservation. The camp offers a range of activities, including wildlife viewing, visiting the nomadic Samburu communities, and meeting leading conservationists in the field.

Eco-Luxury Lodge

Elephant Watch is the ultimate in eco-luxury and an unrivalled wildlife experience, thanks to our long links to pioneering elephant conservation in Kenya’s Samburu National Reserve. Here, your dreams of an African adventure without compromise come true. Spend magical days among wild animals with our charming professional guides and meet leading conservationists in the field. Return to camp to immerse yourself in a luxury that is highly sensitive to the environment’s fragility. Let the commotions of modern life dissolve as your soul is soothed by its reconnection with nature.


The camp has six wide and breezy desert-style tents, draped in multi-coloured cottons, each covered with a high thatched roof. Using the unique shapes of dead trees stripped of their bark by elephants, each tent is individually decorated with unique pieces of handcrafted furniture,a king-size bed and crisp cotton sheets. Side tables with books and solar-powered bedside lamps add to the cosy atmosphere.

The en-suite bathrooms are built around the gnarled trunks of acacia trees and are open to the African sky.Water from the camp well is heated in the sun and poured into hand-painted buckets for a reviving “bush” shower.

Elephant Watch Camp samburu Accommodation

Elephant Watch has become home to some of the largest elephant bulls in Samburu, and they regularly walk among the tents. During the sagaram season, they are with us almost everyday.Of the six tents, two can be fitted with extra beds for children under 16. Extra tents can be put up during Christmas to cater for increased need.


Elephant Watch Camp make and bake every bite of our delicious food on site to offer you a superb fusion of Italo-Afro-bush gourmet for which the Camp is famous far and wide. Vegetables are sourced locally from the foothills of Mt. Kenya, and then spiced to perfection with herbs from our organic garden. The meat comes mostly from our organic farm in Naivasha, or from the lush cattle ranches of Laikipia, where livestock is pasture-raised and free to roam.


Over the years, we have found many exciting ways to get out into the wilderness and really experience all it has to offer. Now, we want to offer you the fruits of that knowledge. While staying at Elephant Watch Camp, our guides will discuss with you what you would like to do each day, and tweak plans according to your mood and their recommendations

Game drives

This is the core activity for elephant watching as a vehicle provides the safest platform to take you right into the middle of the herds. We have a small fleet of specially modified four-wheel-drives that give you the best and safest vantage point. Our drivers and guides are trained to approach animals respectfully so as not to disturb them. This means that Samburu’s elephants, big cats and most large mammals have become so used to our vehicles that they will play out their full range of emotions as if we weren’t there at all, paying us the great compliment of simply ignoring us. This allows you to experience them in their most natural state, in complete safety and comfort.


Dotted across Samburu National Reserve are a series of secret spots where you can safely step down from the vehicle to spend a quiet hour or two relaxing over a picnic lunch. Some are on high ground with views stretching across untouched wilderness to distant mountains. Others are in glades in the shade of the Acacia woodland on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro. Our chefs will have packed delicious food for you – ice-cold soup with fresh focaccia, Moroccan rice salad with mini burgers and seared chili broccoli, finished off with rum-laced melon mix for pudding – and plenty of chilled drinks in the cooler box.


Walking in Samburu is one of the highlights. There’s plenty of short walks to do around camp, like going in search of some of the small five – elephant shrews, buffalo weavers, ant lions, leopard tortoises and rhino beetles – or on a meandering bird walk with close to 400 species to identify. We know where to find hornbill nests along the river bank or a pair of Verreaux eagle owls that live close to camp, and there’s nothing more fun or unpredictable than answering the call of a honey-guide who leads you on a merry dance to find the closest bee-hive. When the river is low we can splash along in the shallows and show you where the crocodiles have slid into caves under the banks to estivate during the dry season, and the warriors are always up for a game of football in the dry river bed. For those who are more adventurous, nothing beats hiking up the famous flat-topped sacred mountain, Ol Donyo Sapache, or the peaks of the Matthew’s range.


After a long day exploring the wilderness nothing is better than a traditional sundowner – a cool cocktail with a clear view of the sun as its golden orb slides below the horizon. We like to take time to appreciate these celestial moments – the change from day to night, the rising of the moon, or lying beneath the dizzying expanse of stars. The best place for a sundowner is on top of a modest hill at the end of a snaking dry river to the west of Camp.  The walk takes an hour at a reasonably gentle pace, in the company of a host of warriors.  Often, by the time you arrive at the hill, the warriors are in a celebratory mood and keen to dance a renyatta – the traditional leaping competition of young men – that they may well invite you to join!  This is often followed by a host of exhilarating games – like lions trying to steal calves from a mother cow – that are hugely popular with guests and warriors alike!  We often suggest a gift of a goat as a thank you.

A Visit to save the Elephants

Elephant Watch Camp is very closely connected to the world-leading conservation charity, Save the Elephants, established by Iain Douglas-Hamilton as part of his pioneering research on the world’s largest land mammal. We highly recommend that you drop by the organisation’s visitors centre, a little way downstream from camp. There you can learn all about the elephant collaring programme, how radioactivity from the atom bomb helps us age ivory or how a successful beehive fencing project is preventing elephants from raiding crops. Outside the centre a display of lower jawbones shows you the sad relics of poaching but also how the researchers can age and sex elephants from their bones. Equally fascinating is learning how good scientific research can contribute long-term to elephant management in a rapidly changing world, where habitat loss is an increasing problem.

A Visit to a Samburu village

Most of our team come from villages that border the national reserves, and the nomadic community there regularly welcomes our guests to see a little of how they live. A few hours spent in the company of the Samburu families we know well makes a great outing for kids, who can learn how to milk goats, throw spears, make jewellery or even participate in a mock cattle raid. Elders and village leaders will answer all your questions. If there’s something on your mind, why not pop in to see the local wise-man, who is enormously generous with his insights and blessings. Eco-tourism offers important alternative livelihoods or income streams for these stoic nomads, and by finding ways to reinforce their culture and build on their natural conservation ethic, it helps protect the wild animals too.

A Hike up mount Ololokwe

Looming temptingly on Samburu’s northern horizon is Ol Donyo Sapache (Ololokwe), a flat-topped mountain with dizzying rock walls that is sacred to the local people and only a couple of hours drive from camp. With permission from the tribal elders, Elephant Watch guides can take you up to its peak for unparalleled views into what used to be called Kenya’s Northern Frontier District. A forest with ancient trees shrouds the top, and eagles soar along the cliff edges to catch thermals. You can ascend and descend in one day – a walking round trip with a picnic takes between four to five hours. Or we can set up a simple bush camp so you can overnight under the stars and experience the marvel of dawn from this exceptional vantage point.

Camel rides/walks

For the more adventurous we have teamed up with a beautiful community lodge on a distant escarpment to offer a three day camel trip that ends at Elephant Watch. Walking starts at first light whilst the day is still cool and if you get tired you can always take a break on the back of a camel. Elephants are often sighted on foot and your nights are spent sleeping out under the stars, listening to lions roar as you feast on bubbling stews cooked over a campfire. On the last day you splash across the Ewaso Nyiro river to arrive in the sumptuous cool of Elephant Watch Camp where you can soothe your aching muscles under a hot shower and be spoiled rotten for a few days as your muscles continue to tingle from all the exercise.

Wild Safaris by helicopter

Skimming low above the treetops or soaring up and over an escarpment like an eagle on a rising thermal, the only way to absorb the full immensity of Africa’s landscapes is from the air. A day-trip by helicopter takes you from the semi-arid warmth of Samburu at 3,000ft all the way up the northern slopes of Mt Kenya to the ice-cold waters of Lake Alice, at more than 12,000ft, one of the best trout fishing spots in Africa. Or you can head into the open desert of the Suguta valley, over shimmering soda lakes, go fishing for Nile perch at Lake Turkana, or even explore the paleontological sites of Koobi Fora. All within a day’s trip with a tasty picnic from Elephant Watch Camp.

Elephant Watch Camp Samburu Activities

Elephant Watch Camp Rates

All Non Resident rates are quoted for an all-inclusive stay at Elephant watch Camp in US Dollars and subject to change without further notice.  Non Resident in US$
Non Resident Rates-US$
Adult sharing per night1,3001,140
Single adult per night1,6091,300
Child 5 and under 15 years per night650575
  • Peak:15 June, July, August, September, 20 December – 05 January 2024
  • Standard:11 May – 15 June, 01 – 20 October; 10 -19 December

Full board accommodation & laundry-House wines, beers, selected spirits, sodas and water-Visit to Save the Elephants Research Centre-Elephant watching and game drives-Bush picnics and sundowners, guided bird walks and hikes-Manyatta and school visits-Local airstrip transfers from Sopa /Oryx-Laundry-VAT and Service Charge


Park Fees – rates estimated for 2018 (USD 75)-Champagne and a la carte wines-Extra lunch with drinks USD$ 80 p/p-Exclusive use of EWC Vehicles USD$ 350 per day-Samburu Dances USD$ 100-Bona fida tour leaders & guides – USD$ 250 per night, ex park fees-Gratuities

  • Helicopter excursions – price upon request.
  • Hiking up to Mt. Ol Lolokwe (Ol Sabache) – price upon request.
  • Whole day excursion.
Minimum Stay

Minimum of 2 nights booking Charges for the extras available on request are quoted by a 3rd party & may be subject to change without prior notice

Child Policy

Children up to age of 5 come for free


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