Worlds apart, from the other parks, on the hot and arid vast desert once known as the ‘Northern frontier district’ there lies the Samburu National Reserve. The heat scorched scrublands extending all way to waters of Lake Turkana and beyond are the home to Samburu who are cousins to the Masai.
The days are extremely hot with cool nights and evapo-transpiration is greater than available moisture going to high as 30 degrees. In the 833 sq km of the protected area flows the River Uaso Ng’iro. Across the river is the Buffalo Springs National Reserve. A bridge connects the two, and they are often grouped together. Nearby is the swampy wilderness of the Shaba National Reserve.
The river feeds wildlife found in the reserve and the nearby communities
The lush vegetation along the Ewaso Nyiro River attracts plenty of wildlife that includes Somali ostrich, gerenuk, Reticulated giraffe, Beisa oryx and Grevy’s zebra. There is a number of weird and wonderful wildlife species endemic to this area such as Gerenuk antelope, Leopard, lion, cheetah and hyenas are easy to spot.
Over 450 bird species some endangered species
For the bird lovers, there is over 450 bird species some endangered species have been recorded and the river area is particularly rewarding. The Lesser Kestrel and the Taita Falcon are species of international conservation concern and they both utilise the reserve. Five species categorized as endangered have also been recorded in the reserve. These are the African darter, great egret, white-headed vulture, martial eagle and the yellowbilled ox-pecker.
Samburu was one of the two areas in which conservationists George and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the Lioness. Their story was made famous by the bestselling book and award-winning movie “Born Free”.