Samburu, Shaba & Matthews Range

Arid, craggy terrain with Doum palms tracing the river lines.


Safaris in Samburu National Park & Shaba

Wild and soul-stirring, Samburu National Park lies in the tribal lands of the Samburu people. The park is nestled in a hot and arid thorn bush area north of Mount Kenya. Samburu and the adjacent Buffalo Springs Game Reserve offer you the chance to see some dry area wildlife that you won’t easily see elsewhere on a Kenya safari.  These include the rare reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, Somali ostrich, Grevy’s zebra and Beisa oryx.

Samburu National Park lies north of the Ewaso Ng’iro river with a craggy terrain with Doum palms tracing the river lines. It’s a mix of rolling plains, rocky outcrops and thorn bush. Buffalo Springs lies south of the river with a similar terrain. To the east lies Shaba National Reserve, dominated by Shaba Hill. This is a beautiful little park which leopards love because of its rocky terrain and steep ravines. Here the endangered wild dog are also sometimes found.

The river is the lifeblood of the Samburu region, especially in the dry season. This draws the wildlife  such as elephant, buffalo, cheetah, lion and leopard to Shaba National Reserve. The dry terrain makes for low grass cover and easier game-viewing.

The birdlife here is among the most spectacular in the world, with over 400 species recorded, mostly around the river area.

Samburu Cultural Interaction

A particular facet of Samburu is the interaction with the local Samburu tribes. They are excellent guides and you gain a fascinating insight into their culture. You may want to visit the community projects with local people which are run by many Samburu camps.

There are some great private safari camps in the region and our favourite camps are the luxurious Sasaab Camp and Saruni Samburu camp. Out of the Shaba lodges, we would recommend Joy’s Camp.

Matthews Mountain Range

North of both Laikipia and Samburu is the Matthews Range, a remote, unspoilt and rarely visited area Crises from the grey desert of the Northern Frontier District of Kenya. Wildlife find this verdant forest a natural refuge amid its arid surroundings.  Elephant, buffalo, kudu, waterbuck and giant forest hog are regularly sighted as well as a variety of forest birds. Leopard, lion and wild dog are also present but less commonly seen. One of the Matthews Range camps we like is the charming Kitich Camp which specializes in scenic walking safaris – a welcome change after several days of sitting on game-vehicles.