Samburu National Reserve

Size: ca. 165 square kilometres
Founded: 1948
Distance from Nairobi: ca. 345 kilometres


In the dry and hot landscape of the Samburu National Reserve, you will see the rare animals of the arid zone, such as the Somali giraffe, the Beisa oryx, the Somali ostrich, the Grevy’s zebra and the gerenuk. The Ewasa Ngiro River flows through the reserve; its shores offering the perfect place for thrilling animal viewing. Elephants, crocodiles, hippos, buffaloes and big predators such as lions, leopards and cheetahs all roam through the Samburu National Reserve. More than 450 species of bird can also be found here.


The Samburu National Reserve, located to the north, is one of the drier areas of Kenya, giving the park its own unique character. Due to the very low rainfall, the plants and animals have adapted to these dry conditions. Thus, you will find animals and plants here that do not exist in the southern parks of Kenya.

Among the animals of Kenya’s northern and the arid zones, you will find Somali giraffes, Beisa oryxes, Somali ostriches, Grevy’s zebras and gerenuks, also known as giraffe-necked antelopes due to their long necks. Gerenuks often stand on their hindlegs and stretch out their necks to reach the highest leaves.

The landscape of the north impresses with its numerous inselbergs, the Kopjes, that protrude from the ground as rocky hills. In general, the vegetation consists of grasslands and dry bushes. The lifeline of this hot and dry area is the Ewaso Ngiro river, where water flows throughout the year. Many animals congregate along the river to quench their thirst and along the riverbanks you will find gallery forests with various different acacia trees as well as the gigantic doum palms, the only palm tree with a branched trunk.

The Ewaso Ngiro river attracts many animals, especially during the dry season, making this the ideal spot for game drives. The river itself is home to hippos and crocodiles, while elephants, buffaloes and other large animals are often found on the shore. Even the big cats find most of their food along the riverbank, so be on the lookout for lions and leopards on the hunt.

The nomadic people of Samburu are also at home in this dry region of the Samburu protected area. The culture of the Samburu is closely related to that of the Masai.

The northerly situated Samburu National Park, Shaba National Reserve and Buffalo Springs form an ecological unit, which is managed by different regional authorities. Each area has its own set of rules. Together, these three nature reserves are the ideal destination if you want to experience exciting animal viewing in a picturesque landscape.