Samburu National Reserve
The three National Reserves of Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba are at the beginning of the dry north it is not a completely parched area as it is watered by the Uaso Nyiro River or ‘River of Brown Water’ as known in Samburu. This is an essential and sometimes erratic water source for all the inhabitants, including a considerable amount of wildlife in the reserves and Samburu cattle and goats.
The scrub desert, desiccated savannah and small hills of this region create overriding colours of muted greens, dusty creams, sand yellow, earthen ochre and every shade of brown, perfect camouflage colours for the many animals that inhabit these parks.
The reserves are relatively small and animals are easy to find, with a number of weird and wonderful species endemic to this area. Notably the gerenuk – also known as the ‘giraffe necked antelope’ because of its ridiculously stretched neck adapted for browsing high into the bushes. Another local inhabitant is the Grevy’s zebra, which resembles an ass with wide stripes that don’t quite go all the way under the belly. Reticulated giraffes are different from their southern cousins in their perfectly arranged pattern. A very common dwarf antelope in these parts is the tiny dik dik, who is devoted to its mate for its entire lifetime.
Many other species exist in these reserves and large crocs and hippos inhabit the river. Leopard, lion, cheetah and hyena are found here and an unusual treat is that leopards are commonly seen in daylight.
Birds are numerous and 365 species have been recorded in Buffalo Springs reserve.