In February 2017, Saruni is proud to expand its luxury collection of lodges and tented camps with the opening of ‘Saruni Rhino’. Located in Sera Community Conservancy, in the wild, undiscovered northern frontier of Kenya, the camp is currently a little over 2 driving hours from our Saruni Samburu lodge in nearby Kalama Conservancy (the driving time will decrease to little more than one hour with the completion of a new access road). Saruni Rhino offers the first rhino tracking experience in East Africa: an amazing walking safari that provides a uniquely thrilling adventure, but also allows our guests to actively contribute to the protection of this iconic species.
Comprised of two elegant ‘bandas’ (open stone cottages, previously known as 'Kauro Guesthouse') sleeping 4-6 initially and a main ‘mess’ cottage for dining and relaxing, Saruni Rhino is nestled amidst swaying doum palms dotted along a dry river bed (the Kauro ‘lugga’, in the heart of the conservancy) with sweeping views of a nearby waterhole and dramatic landscape so typical of the north. The waterhole is a popular watering stop-off for a diverse range of wildlife: elephant, impala, birdlife, hyena, oryx, Grevy's zebra and much more, making it great ‘bush TV’ from the comfort of your cottage’s sandy verandah at any time. The dry river bed proves the quintessential torch-lit bush dinner location under the vast African skies.
Whilst staying at Saruni Rhino is an experience in itself; echoing the origins of safari – exploring remote areas of a yet largely undiscovered terrain, the main draw to the area is the reason for our camp’s name sake – the endangered black Rhino.
After years of hard work, substantial investment, passion and determined commitment by Sera community members and Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), in May 2015 Sera Community Conservancy became the home to the ‘Sera Rhino Sanctuary’. Sera Community Conservancy is a vast, untouched wilderness of more than 350,000 hectares, larger than Luxembourg and Hong Kong combined. It is the first community conservancy in Africa to own and operate a sanctuary dedicated to the conservation of the critically endangered black rhino. The sanctuary currently provides state-of-the-art protection for 11 black rhinos relocated from Lewa Conservancy, Nakuru National Park and other areas. This move sees the rhino back in its natural habitat in northern Kenya after 30 years.
Saruni is delighted to be able to offer our guests a scintillating, ‘thrill-of-a-lifetime’ experience: a walking safari tracking black rhino on foot, accompanied by an expert Saruni guide and a highly-trained Sera Community Conservancy ranger, equipped with a transmitter correlating to the GPS whereabouts of the 11 rhinos throughout the 54,000 hectares-large sanctuary. The vast rhino sanctuary has been fenced in what is one of the most advanced conservation projects in Kenya. Operational only throughout certain hours of the day for maximum protection, the use of the transmitter allows us to game drive our guests a tracking distance away from the nearest rhino, leaving the vehicle and continuing on foot (very lightly to not give away our presence) to metres from the grazing rhino. The tension is palpable as you come across the rhino in such close proximity for the first time; heart beating, pulse racing, curiosity and excitement mounting – it doesn’t get more thrilling than this!
The adventure doesn’t stop there. Following your ‘up close and personal’ encounters with ‘the supreme rhino of Sera’, the conservancy provides further plentiful wildlife opportunities and experiences; game drives to spot the Samburu specials (oryx, gerenuk, ostrich, Grevy's Zebra, reticulated giraffe), buffalo, elephants, antelope and a plethora of birdlife.
Sera is also home to The Fifty Wells, ‘Kisima Hamsini’, a series of (50!) springs where local pastoralists take their livestock to water, digging up water from the wells to fill up holders and troughs. The Singing Wells are also a driving distance away and can be visited with some notice – a rare treat to see the local community singing proprietary songs recognisable only by their own cattle, to encourage them to come to the wells to drink.
In addition, guests can pay a visit to the recently opened The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy located in the remote Mathews Range nearby, providing protection for orphaned and abandoned elephant calves with an aim to release them back into the wild herds adjoining the Sanctuary.
At nearby waterholes, early morning and late afternoon, an amazing natural spectacle can be witnessed. Thousands of sand grouse swoop to take the water, the flapping of their wings en masse creating one of the most sensory delights possible. Sera is the ultimate birding enthusiast and photographer’s playground.
Bookings from 1st February 2017, current nightly Saruni safari rates apply per person sharing. Access to the rhino tracking requires the payment of a special conservation fee of US$175 per day/night and it is open to guests over the age of 16 only. For enquiries and reservations, please contact us at email@example.com.
Sera Community Conservancy and Saruni Rhino have two private airstrips that can be used by chartered aircrafts and helicopters. For all other internal flights, the nearest airstrip is Kalama, the same for those landing at Saruni Samburu.
Across the next months, we will be working round the clock to prepare Saruni Rhino for your stay and to define the supreme Sera Rhino Experience. We will keep you updated across our social media and in our newsletters. In the meantime, for further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Check out our Saruni Rhino rates & fees, by downloading the below document.
Check out more images in our Saruni Rhino photo gallery, here.
For Maps of Saruni lodges locations, Saruni Rhino, NRT conservancies and Sera Community Conservancy click here.
Download our Saruni Rhino presentation below to find out more about East Africa's first on-foot black rhino tracking experience.
Download a Saruni Rhino introductory 1-pager below.
Listen to Saruni CEO & Founder, Riccardo Orizio, introducing ‘Saruni Rhino’ in this link to a recent webinar.
“Take only memories, leave only footprints”. (Chief Seattle)