The waters of the great Ewaso Nyiro river draw wildlife in great numbers to its banks, creating an oasis of green.
This river flows through three great northern reserves, Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba. This is spectacular country, set against a backdrop of the mighty Mountain Ol Olokwe.
The verdant riverine forest is a stark contrast to the arid thorn studded plains. Samburu is visitedby large herds of Elephants, drawn by the promise of water. In the dry season, the elephants use their tusks to dig deep into the dry river beds, unearthing precious water. These waterholes then become a focal point for other game.
The Samburu region is the best place to find several endemic Northern species, including Gerenuk, the Reticulated Giraffe, and Grevy’s Zebra. The forests along the river banks are home to many birds, including local species such as the Palm Nut Vulture and the Vinaceous Dove. These forests are also home to many Leopards, often seen at dusk. The sight of one of these beautiful and elusive creatures is always a rare treat.
Lions are also frequently seen on the riverbanks, and Cheetah can be found on the open plains. On rare occasion, packs of African Hunting Dogs are sighted passing through the reserve.
Shaba was where Joy Adamson, author of Born Free spent her final years, returning a leopard to the wild. This was the subject of her final book, Queen of Shaba.
More recently, Shaba served as the location for the hit series Survivor Africa, which pitted its contestants against the challenges of this wild remote country.
The Ewaso Nyiro is also an important water source for the Samburu villages surrounding the reserves. The Samburu culture is a truly fascinating one, sharing a great deal of ancestral and linguistic ties to the Maasai.
The Samburu are herders of Camels and Goats, and are often seen on the reserve boundaries bringing their animals to water.
In areas around the reserves, there are several private sanctuaries working closely with the Samburu to protect both their tribal lands and the local wildlife. These sanctuaries are open to guests, and are well worth visiting for those interested in Samburu culture.
The entire Samburu region is a place of breathtaking and magical beauty, a place where the vision of a deep red sunset silhouetting the doum palms along the river as a leopard emerges to hunt brings the perfected today on safari.
Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba are all accessible by road via Isiolo and Archers Post. Driving time from Nairobi is approximately 6 hours. There are airstrips in both Samburu and Buffalo Springs, with daily scheduled flights from Nairobi.
Samburu and Buffalo Springs are contiguous reserves, while the separate Shaba is a short drive to the east. The reserves have well established internal roads and tracks.