Samburu National Reserve consists of a low lying, semi arid plain on the southern bank of the northern Ewaso Ngiro River. The reserve which lies 9km east of Buffalo Springs National Reserve was gazetted in 1974. The beautiful stark landscape is dominated by Samburu Hill in the south, at the foot of which is a rugged area with steep ravines.
Samburu National Reserve is a semi arid area situated to the north of Mount Kenya and the equator. The complex formed by Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba Reserves is one of the most stimulating and challenging of wildlife areas in Kenya. They are the most accessible and visited of the protected areas in the country's rough north, right at the edge of the evocative NFD or Northern Frontier District - a vast and little visited region where travelling is rough and the nomadic tribes have changed little over the centuries.
The countryside in Samburu is characterized by thorn scrub interspersed with wide lava strewn plains. Acacia and Dom Palms shade the broken ridges and sand rivers. The Uaso Nyiro River, which has its origins in the moorlands of the Aberdares Mountains to the south, is the main feature of this habitat and it supports a large variety of wildlife and Game birds. Even in times of drought its 32 km (20 miles) of permanent water provides succour to the local game. When the water levels are very low the elephants dig into dry sand in order to create small water holes.