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Samburu and Shaba Reserves


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Kenya Safaris

Gerenuk in Samburu

The elegant gerenuk prefers the dry north of Kenya and cannot be found anywhere else in the country.

Hidden Gem

Since Samburu National Reserve is not particularly well-known it tends to be less crowded than most other Kenyan parks and reserves. The reserve is located on the northern banks of the Ewaso Ngiro River in the north of the country. The typically drier region can be hot and arid creating a landscape of parched hills and plains. The river, and the vegetation on its banks, encourages a wide range of wildlife to set up permanent and non-migratory residence. Giraffe, buffalo, waterbuck and zebra (including the endangered Grevy's zebra) from the surrounding savannah plains make their way to the river shores daily. Lion, leopard and cheetah are often easier to spot than in the more lush southern parks, due in large part to the lack of grass cover.

Unusual Wildlife

Elephant enthusiasts will take great pleasure in the large family herds of these massive mammals that call the reserve home. The reserve is also a great place to see wildlife that prefers the dry north of Kenya and canít be found elsewhere, such as the gerenuk, an odd, yet distinguished looking, gazelle with a long neck that stands on its hind legs to feed. Bird watchers will find the approximately 365 recorded species of winged critters particularly rewarding around the river area.


On the southern banks of the Ewaso Ngiro River, is the Shaba National Reserve. If the name sounds familiar it may be because of the publicity it received when the first hand-raised leopards were released back into the wild here by Joy Adamson.

The reserve gets itís name from Mount Shaba, an extinct volcano that lies on itís border. The landscape is dotted by hills created by eruptions and lava flow over 5000 years ago. The four springs within reserve lines keep the area better watered than itís neighbor just across the river. As in Samburu, the safari go-er will find elephant, lions, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, gerenuls, buffalo, oryx, gazelles, dikdiks, waterbucks and a large variety of birds here.

The stark contrast of the landscape and the high concentration of wildlife make the area truly unique.

Rift Valley

Hell's Gate Lake Nakuru Nairobi

Central Highlands

Samburu and Shaba Aberdare Mnts.

Savannahs & Plains

Maasai Mara Amboseli Tsavo

Related Climbing and Active Options

Trekking in the North of Kenya