In March 2010, devastating floods rocked the area. The great Ewaso Nyiro River burst its banks and destroyed the main bridge which connects Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves. This was a huge problem for us. Trips to the airstrip in Buffalo Springs would now take us 4 hours one way compared to the usual 1 hour as we’d have to drive all the way to Archers Post. We also struggled to go into Buffalo Springs as often as we’d have liked to as it meant camping out in the field after tracking lions late in the evening. The wear and tear on the vehicles and extra fuel and mileage incurred were unplanned and it really did take a toll on our field budget.
Finally, good news came our way in September. Thanks to facilitation from Sasaab Lodge and the Samburu and Isiolo Councils, the British Army agreed to fix the bridge. They begun in September and completed it by mid November. The official opening was on the 25th of November and it was a fantastic day. Representatives from both Samburu and Isiolo councils were present, managers and guides from the lodges, British Army personnel and resident researchers. Community members from neighbouring villages were also present – they had been stranded for months and struggled for access to food and supplies. They danced and sang across the bridge, excited with the opening of the bridge.
The new bridge!
Turkana dancers entertain the crowd
Large crowd gathers at bridge opening
British Army addresses the crowd
Elders bless the opening of the bridge
Wardens of Samburu and Buffalo Springs open the bridge!
Walking across for the first time
We are thrilled to have the bridge open at last and relieved to know that we have easier access to Buffalo Springs again. It was a great moment, walking across the bridge (it actually rained on us as we did that which the Samburu people believe is a blessing) and also driving across for the first time since March!
Driving across for the first time since March
Ewaso Lions is sponsoring the repair of the wall near the entrance to Samburu thanks to your flood donations. We’ll keep you posted on this!