SAMBURU, BUFFALO SPRINGS AND SHABA NATIONAL RESERVES

Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba are the most remote and inaccessible among the popular reserves located in Northern Kenya along the banks of the Ewaso Ngiro river. Shaba, the less visited of the three, is also the largest, with a total extension of 239 km². Samburu and Buffalo Springs are similar in surface area, 165 km² and 128 km² respectively. The area has been traditionally inhabited by the Samburu people, a nomad paranilotic tribe closely related to the Maasai. The dusty plains are broken by smooth hills, outstanding the Koitogorr uplift in Samburu (1,245 m) and, lying far beyond, the flat head of the reddish Ol Olokwe mountain.

The extreme heat, in spite of the altitude above 1,000 m, and the landscape desolation, are ingredients of the less hospitable Africa. Beyond Samburu and Buffalo Springs, the river heads on licking Shaba’s north border. This place takes its name from a volcanic cone that rises upon the plain.

Species. Samburu is famous for hosting some rare species which cannot be found elsewhere in Kenya. Among them are long necked gerenuk, Grevy’s zebra, elephants, crocodiles, gazelles, reticulated giraffes and Beisa Oryx. The leopard is a frequent passer-by.

Activities. The bulk of wildlife gathers around the scarce wet areas, mainly the forested banks of the Ewaso Nyiro, which brings the Aberdare water. and the crystal clear Buffalo Springs, at the eastern side of this reserve, formed by the arise of underground streams coming from Mount Kenya.