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Shaba is part of three small adjoining savanna national reserves that lie on either side of the Northern Ewaso Ngiro River, 211 miles North, North East of Nairobi (Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba). They were established in 1948 as the Samburu Isiolo Game Reserve, part of the once extensive Marsabit National Reserve. Now they are managed by their respective county councils, Samburu and Isiolo.

Shaba takes its name from Mount Shaba (5,003ft), a volcanic mountain that became extinct around 5,000 years ago and lies on the border of the reserve.

The reserve consists of a low lying, semi arid plain on the southern bank of the Northern Ewaso Ngiro River. It lies 5 miles east of Buffalo Springs National Reserve, from which it is separated by the main road from Isiolo to Marsabit. The reserve was gazetted in 1974 and is administered by the Isiolo County Council. Its Northern section includes a 21 miles stretch of the Ewaso Ngiro River; here and elsewhere in the reserve are numerous springs and swampy areas, although some have bitter tasting water.

The starkly beautiful landscape is dominated by Shaba hill to the south, at the foot of which is a rugged area with steep ravines. The sandy soils are volcanic in origin.

The Animals:

Elephant                      Grant’s Gazelle
Lion                              Gerenuk
Cheetah                      Kirk’s Dik-dik
Hippopotamus          Impala
Antelope                     Beisa Oryx
Grevy’s zebra             Leopard
Somali ostrich           Waterbuck
Reticulated giraffe    Wild dog


Birds: Over 450 species of birds have been recorded in the Samburu area and include:


Somali ostrich

Somali ostrich                           Lilac-breasted Roller
Grey-headed Kingfisher          Palm nut Vulture
Sunbird                                       Red-billed Hornbill
Bee-eater                                   secretary Bird
Marabou Stork                           Verreaux's Eagle
Tawny Eagle                              Superb Starling
Bateleur                                      Yellow-billed Hornbill
Vulturine Guinea fowl               Vulture


Attractions and Activities:

Game Drives: Shaba National Reserve has a particular place in the history of Kenya game conservation for it was in this reserve that the authoress, Joy Adamson died. She was greatly known for her efforts on the rehabilitation of the compliant leopard to a wild environment. Shaba was one of Joy Adamson's greatest African loves; it was in this tranquil wilderness where she released the first hand-raised lions.

Camel Safaris: Take a life time ride as you view the scenic Shaba landscape, on the back of this desert mammal under the guidance of it's a trip down a rugged exciting road with memories so fond you will want to come back!

Bird watching: In Samburu, bird watching is done while taking safari walks or game drives accompanied by competent bird guides. You will get to know the birds’ names, their colors and other features. Since so much of the Samburu is open grassland or bush, the birds are also relatively easy to see.

Visit to Traditional Samburu Village: Get to visit the Samburu village and watch the beautifully beaded and decorated Samburu Morans perfoming cultural dances and songs. A resident Culturalist will be there to talk more on the culture and traditions of the Samburu community.

Other attractions: Scenic landscape and riverine forest, Permanent Springs. Shaba has 17 springs at which animals congregate during the dry season, Joy Adamson's monument.

How to Get There:

By Road: Located 217miles from Nairobi, the reserve can be accessed to by road through Isiolo on all weather bitumen while Isiolo Archers Post is gravelled. The road section distance from Isiolo to Archer’s gate is 21 miles.

By Air: The Samburu National Reserve has an airstrip called the Oryx Samburu Airstrip.