Come with us to remote Kenya and the Namunyak Wildlife Conversation Trust to discover the only place in the world to see the traditions at the singing wells. Unchanged and un-photographed for centuries, this Samburu ritual matches the Great Migration in its rare and captivating nature.
The lands of the Namunyak Wildlife Conversation Trust include the southern region of the Matthews Mountain Range. The local Samburu welcomed the conservation activities of the Namunyak Wildlife Conversation Trust in 1995. In years since, residents have found harmony with the wildlife and safety from the threat of poachers. Sarara Camp anchors the Namunyak region, enhancing the safari experience with a unique proximity to the Samburu communities.
The Singing Wells
Namunyak is the only place on the planet to witness the local Samburu traditions at the singing wells. Almost daily, the dry riverbed near Sarara Camp is mined for water by the Samburu. To keep their cattle nourished, the warriors will dig wells along the riverbed until they reach water. This ritual at the singing wells is an astounding feat of teamwork as the Samburu create a human chain to reach the water in often very deep holes. Throughout the entire process the warriors sing in unison to keep the rhythm of the digging, and then stay in sync while passing the water up to their cattle.
While this generations-old tradition is a regular part of life for the Samburu of this region, the warriors are naked as they dig, sing, and pass water. Thus, every visit to the singing wells is an incredibly personal experience. Photography at the singing wells is not permitted. It’s a request from the community that the guests and staff of Sarara Camp respect without hesitation.
The singing wells experience happens often first thing in the morning, leaving the rest of the day open for exploring the Namanyak area. Embark with a guide for a hike into the Matthews Mountains or set off for a game drive. Back at Sarara Camp, a generous main lounge provides a cool place to relax between activities. You might also choose to swim in the pool built into the edge of the escarpment; this spot offers one of the best views at camp.
Game drives, bush walks, and camel treks are all possible in the area, and the nearest water hole and secret hide is mere moments from camp. Namunyak is noted for its excellent leopard populations, along with large numbers of lesser kudu and African wild dog. The devastation of ivory poaching from 1970s and 1980s has been reversed, and several thousand elephants are now thriving. Experienced trackers help safari-goers find the many area denizens including, lion, cheetah, buffalo, gerenuk, and reticulated giraffe.
Consider extending your trek and enjoying the mobile camping options of Sarara Star Camp. Only accessible on foot and located more than two hours from Sarara Camp, your safari begins within the forest. Guides will point out the sights along the way, including fascinating plantlife and rare Colobus and De Brazza monkeys in the trees above. Led by their Samburu keepers, camels ferry supplies and equipment to the campsite, allowing for an unencumbered day of exploration.
When you aren’t exploring, take a dip in the natural rock pool that is fed by a mountain spring, and reflect on your view over Northern Kenya’s mountain landscape. Retire beneath mosquito netting in your private tent, and wake rested and ready for more of your mobile camping experience.
Ready to experience the singing wells in Kenya? Craft your own custom safari by getting started with the experts at Ker & Downey.