Saruni Rhino offers the first rhino tracking experience in East Africa, and you can enjoy this special activity each day of your stay in the company of an expert guide and experience ranger. This is the undoubted highlight of your stay, yet you also have time to take part in traditional game drives in open 4x4 vehicles and join a guide for a nature walk. Saruni Rhino's guides come from the local Samburu community, so as well as observing the flora and fauna, you have the opportunity to learn about the Samburu culture and way of life.
The lodge is in the Sera Community Conservancy, a remote wilderness area in the far north of the country. It is about a 2 hour drive from Saruni Samburu lodge, and the two combine well for a comprehensive safari experience.
Stylish simplicity is the key at Saruni Rhino. You stay in a banda, a cottage constructed of local stone and thatch, with rustic furniture, an en-suite bathroom with full running water, and your own terrace. The bandas vary in size. with one providing good family accommodation.
Swara House is the central area where you relax with fellow guests between activities, and sit down to group meals hosted by the lodge managers and guides. Food is tasty, made from fresh ingredients created into dishes with a definite Italian flavour. There's an inviting swimming pool, especially welcome on a hot day. The nearby waterhole provides entertainment as a parade of animals and birds arrive to drink their fill.
As well as rhino tracking and safaris, while here you can visit the singing wells to witness herdsmen draw water for their livestock, singing as they do so, and, if booked in advance you can spend time at Reteti Elephant Sanctuary to meet orphaned and abandoned calves being cared for and prepared for release back into the wild. Bush meals and sundowners in specially chosen locations are all part of your stay at Saruni Rhino.
Open: Saruni Rhino is open all year. It first opened in February 2017.
Location: Saruni Rhino is in the 350,000 hectare Sera Community Conservancy in northern Kenya. It is about a 2 hour drive from Saruni Samburu Lodge. The nearest airstrip for scheduled flights is Kalama, 90 minutes away, and charter flights can land at Kauro 5 minutes from the Saruni Rhino. Sera Rhino Sanctuary is a 30 minute drive away.
Rooms: There are 3 guest bandas built of stone with thatched roofs and canvas window blinds. All are en-suite with hot and cold running water, a shower and flush toilet, and have private terraces. They vary in size. Banda 1 has a large bedroom and can sleep up to 4 people, with 1 double bed and space to add 2 singles. Banda 2 has a double bed and accommodates up to 2 people. Banda 3 provides family accommodation, with 2 double bedrooms, and the possibility of an extra single bed. It has 2 bathrooms and a shared sitting room. This banda has the best view of the waterhole. There is solar-powered electricity and batteries can be charged in rooms. All rooms are supplied with botted drinking water.
Activities: The main activity is tracking black rhino on foot in the Sera Rhino Sanctuary, led by an experienced guide and conservancy ranger. This is supplemented by game drives in the conservancy and rhino sanctuary and guided bush walks to see the Samburu Five: the gerenuk, reticulated giraffe, Somali ostrich, Beisa oryx and Gery’s zebra. Safari activities are led by Samburu guides. At the lodge you can watch wildlife at the waterhole, including the arrival of huge flocks of sand grouse. You can visit the Kisima Hamsini, also known as the singing wells, 50 springs where local livestock are watered and herdsmen sing as they draw water from the wells and fill the troughs. The following activities are included in the rates: one rhino tracking session per day, shared day and night game drives, guided bush walks, bush meals, picnics and sundowners. Other activities that can be arranged if they are booked and paid for in advance include a visit to the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, and helicopter and light aircraft flights.
Facilities: The dining and living areas are in Swara House, the social centre of the lodge. There is a freeform outdoor swimming pool. The nearby waterhole is a magnet for animal and bird life.
Dining: Meals show a distinct Italian influence and communal dining is the norm, hosted by the managers and guides. In room dining is available to guests staying in banda 3. Bush meals can be arranged.
Children: Children aged 5 years and over are welcome. The minimum age for rhino tracking is 16 years. Banda 3 makes good family accommodation.
Health: This is a low risk malarial area.
Communication: There is free Wi-Fi in communal areas. There is mobile phone coverage in some parts of the property.
Notes: There is a minimum stay requirement of 2 nights at Saruni Rhino plus 2 nights at Saruni Samburu.
The lodge accepts debit and Visa and MasterCard credit cards. Cash can be used for tips but is not accepted for additional services or products. Cash payments can be made at Saruni Samburu or the Saruni head office in advance of your stay, if necessary.
Saruni Rhino co-operates with the Northern Rangelands Trust to improve the living conditions of the Samburu people living in the Sera Conservancy, and through its tourism provides local people with enhanced incomes. Most of the staff are drawn from the local community and are trained by lodge staff.