After spending a night in the Samburu lodge, we started our second day in Samburu Game Reserve with much anticipation. We were of high spirit and were determined identify more species during the Game Drive. Fortunately, things did happened according to our wish for this time.
Although the drive in the evening was not as fruitful, that in the morning allows us to have a glimpse of various rare and spectacular species. For instance, we had witnessed a gang of wild dos hunting down a Kirk’s Dikdik and a Grevy’s zebra slowly marching across the road. With these once-in-a-life-time encounters, we were fortunate to have observed most of the signature species in Samburu Game Reserve.
Speaking about the observations done during the Game Drives in the past two days spent in Samburu Game Reserve, it has come to my attention that the reserve has really not been following the code of conduct strictly, echoing our finding in our pre-trip research. It is discovered that most of the vehicles fails to maintain a distance of at least 20m away from the observed animal. Moreover, the number of vehicles gathering next to an animal simultaneously is observed to peak at 21, imposing disturbance towards the animal. The loud noise and flashlights emitted by the tourists also affect the livelihood of the animals. Even though park rangers were patrolling the reserve, no action from them is done to punish these violations of the code. Hence it is proved that Samburu Game Reserve has not been following the regulations strictly. Therefore, negative impacts to the natural habitats will be generated from ecotourism in the long term.
Not only did we experience a few game drives, we had also conduct a local village visit in a nomad tribe nearby. This visit addresses the cultural segment of ecotourism as ecotourism also aims to foster cultural learning and exchange. After being greeted by colorfully dressed natives with two traditional dances, we then enter the village to observe the interior of the self-made simple huts and other special traditions. The visit is definitely an eye-opener to me as it allows me to understand the hierarchy system and livelihood of the Samburu natives. On the other hand, I also felt pity for them when learning that the whole village is facing hardships currently due to a drought last year. Seeing them enthusiastically urging us to buy their hand-made souvenirs just to receive a few more dollars to support their daily necessities really ache my heart. What’s more shocking is that the waiter in the lodge that I chat with a lot actually comes from this exact village. His sharing about his village really impacted me as I saw sadness and despair when he revealed this fact.
In conclusion, the time spent in Samburu Game Reserve was extremely valuable and educational to me. It shall be cherished in the bottom of my heart for the rest of my life.