Safarilink operates two daily flights to Samburu, Lewa and Nanyuki. These flights give passengers access to Samburu, Shaba and Buffalo Springs, as well as to all the conservancies in the Laikipia region. Safarilink also offers daily scheduled flights between Samburu and the Maasai Mara.
Between the lush highlands of southern Kenya and the arid north of the country lies a trio of reserves: Samburu, Shaba and Buffalo Springs. With dramatic scenery, rare wildlife and diverse birdlife, these reserves are not to be missed.
The Ewaso Ngiro River runs through the three reserves, drawing wildlife to it in this arid region. Many species found only in the north of Kenya can be seen here, including gerenuk, Grevy’s zebra, oryx and reticulated giraffe. Other species that live here include lion, leopard, cheetah, elephants, buffalo, hippo, crocodile, dik-dik, and waterbuck. Over 350 species of bird have been recorded, including kingfishers, sunbirds, bee-eaters, and various raptors and vultures.
Samburu National Reserve was one of the places in which George and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the Lioness. Elsa, who had been orphaned along with her two sisters, was adopted and brought up by the Adamsons. Her extraordinary story is told in the books and films Born Free, Living Free and Forever Free. Another famous lioness from Samburu is Kamunyak, meaning Blessed One, who adopted at least six oryx calves and protected them by fighting off predators; the documentary Heart of a Lioness tells her story.
Shaba National Reserve is most notable for a massive cone of volcanic rock, and the solidified lava flow that streams from it. The four springs in the reserve make it less arid than either of the other two reserves. Buffalo Springs National Reserve is named for a sparkling oasis at its western end. This is one of the rare places in which both the Burchill’s zebra and the Grevy’s zebra, and both the Maasai ostrich and the Somali ostrich, can be seen.
The Samburu people, closely related to the more famous Maasai people, inhabit the area. Semi-nomadic pastoralists, they entered Kenya from Sudan in one of the waves of Nilotic migrations between 100 and 300 AD. Like the Maasai, Samburu society has traditionally been organised around cattle, which are used for dowries, fines and ceremonies. The Samburu tradition of singing while fetching water has come to be known as the Singing Wells; watching this is a highlight of the area. Visits to local villages give fascinating insights into the Samburu culture and traditions.