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.

Background Information


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.

Experience Samburu National Reserve

Samburu is arid and sandy, making it a tough area for wildlife to live in. Despite this, a bountiful collection exists, typically of animals not found further south - the Beia oryx, Somali ostrich, Masai Ostrich, Grevy's zebra, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, leopard, cheetah and lion. The aardwolf has been spotted on several lucky occasions. The more common reptiles are seen relatively easily such as the "tree agama".

Samburu National Reserve is the best place to view several endemic Northern species including the long necked gerenuk, reticulated giraffe, Grevy's zebra and Beisa oryx. Buffalo, cheetah, leopard, lion and plains game can be found in the reserve. On rare occasions, packs of African wild dogs are sighted passing through the reserve.

Grevy’s Zebra, Somali Ostrich, Kudu, Beisa Oryx, Reticulated Giraffe and Gerenuk are among the northern species that can be seen in Samburu. Leopards, lion, Cheetah, Crocodiles, Buffalo, tiny Dik-dik and Spotted and Striped Hyena are frequently sighted. Immense flocks of Helmeted and Vulturine Guinea-fowl drink at the river, while it’s not uncommon to see 100 species of birds in a day, including the giant Martial Eagle and tiny Pygmy Falcon.

Locate Samburu National Reserve

Related Popular Destinations in Kenya

Aberdare National Park
Aberdare national Park's topography ranges from high moorland, hills and peaks to indigenous forest, ravines, streams and waterfalls.
Amboseli National Park
The "Open Plains" and "Place of Dust". Amboseli comes from the word Empusel, meaning “open plain” in the language of the local Maasai people.
Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru is world famous for, and was created a National Park to protect, its stunning flocks of Lesser Flamingo, which literally turn its shores pink.
Maasai Mara Game Reserve
Maasai Mara Game Reserve is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Kenya regarded as the jewel of Kenya’s wildlife viewing areas.
Meru National Park
Meru was one of the two areas in which conservationists George Adamson and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the Lioness made famous in the best selling book and award winning movie Born Free.
Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park is a unique ecosystem by being the only protected area in the world close to a capital city.
Samburu National Reserve
Samburu national reserve neighbors the homes of the Samburu tribe of Kenya, a tribe known for their remote culture, pastoral and nomadic way of life.
Tsavo East National Park
Forms the largest protected area in Kenya and is home to most of the larger mammals, vast herds of dust –red elephant.
Tsavo West National Park
A haven for the many elephant which pass between the two, and a major dispersal route for elephants crossing into Tanzania on its Southern borders.