The Samburu Lowlands Research Station is located on a curve of the Lengusaka River just down the hill below Lengusaka Village. The Research Station is ideally situated on the edge of both the Namunak and Westgate Conservancies. It is well situated for work in the Wamba Plain from the Mathews Range to Llusen Gap and as far as Lldomoque along the C79/C78 road that goes from Archers Post through the Samburu Lowlands to Maralal in the Samburu Highlands.
The Research Station is several acres in extent, with marked pitches for tents and a limited number of constructed rooms that can be hired for lodging. It includes a lounge/bar that is open to the local community, a commercial kitchen, two outhouses, two showers, a campfire for the evening, and meeting rooms in the village of Lengusaka where you can charge batteries, hold indoor meetings or lectures, and store and display works in progress. The Station also includes a vacant manyatta that you can study at your leisure.
The Research Station supplies full board, translators who speak English, Swahili, and Northern Maa, and some work product from previous researchers so that you do not necessarily have to start your work from scratch. For example, botanical samples and identifications at least by local name that other researchers have collected are available to you.
The Research Station will assist you with local contacts in your field of interest. We have a close association with other local institutions and with the Samburu County government. We are working in cooperation with local institutions to develop a local archive for scholarly work and some work product so at least some of the research that takes place at the Research Station can benefit the Samburu community. Please visit our Policies page for more details.
The Research Station sources as much as it can locally. For example, all tables and chairs are made locally, and rather than buying plastic cups and containers we hire local women to carve the containers we need out of wood. We purchase as much of the food as we can locally, first from the shops and weekly market in Lengusaka, then from the shops in Wamba, and finally from shops in Isiolo if necessary. We source eggs and chickens from local manyattas when they have surplus to sell. We pay above average wages to our local employees, and men and women receive the same pay.
Samburu people are renowned as fast, long-distance walkers. The there are few roads, but many obvious paths, while other routes are known by locals and can be shown to you by your local guides. The terrain is not unduly challenging, but is unmade and often uneven, and many local plants shed large thorns. Bring good, thick-soled walking shoes, a water bottle, and a rucksack or other carrying bag that leaves your arms free.
The Research Station has a Land Rover for use for travel in the Lengusaka area, however, there are not many roads and many places researchers visit are not accessible by large vehicles. The Research Station also has a mule and camels available if you need to carry equipment some distance from Lengusaka. Young men with a motorcycle taxi service are also easily hired. There are trails used by these motorbikes throughout the countryside which will facilitate your travel throughout the Namunak.