Northern Kenya Attractions

Northern Kenya attractions is a tranquil Kenya wilderness dotted with volcanic peaks and scenic semi-arid landscape. You find Samburu, Buffalo Springs, Shaba and Marsabit National Parks

Samburu National Reserve

Samburu National Reserve: This is a wildlife haven where you are likely to spot Africa’s big cats-lions, cheetahs and the elusive leopard. Some animals are unique to this northern Kenya Park; gravy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, kudus and gerenuk. The Ewaso Nyiro River, the boundary with the neighboring buffalo springs national reserve, is where the elephants buffaloes and other animal species gather for a drink. You will find the scenic semiarid landscape quite dramatic. The reserve is located within the lands of the colorful semi-nomadic Samburu tribesmen. Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba National reserve include in their boundaries all the flora and fauna to be found in the north of Kenya. The dry grassland interspersed with acacias is interrupted from time to time by rich green vegetation, wherever enough water is present. E.g. the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro river (with its huge Nile crocodiles) or in marsh regions. This countryside dotted with volcanic peaks offer a sanctuary to a wide variety of animals. These baboons,’ reticulate Giraffe’s, Elephants, waterbucks, gerenuks and grevy zebras. Lion and Cheetahs are not quite so common but plenty of leopards can be sighted. There are no longer any rhinos. In addition to Kamunyak, the renowned lioness famous for adopting oryx calves, the Samburu National Park boasts of some several species of animals which are considered unique to the region, including its unique dry-country animal life. All three big cats, Lion, Cheetah and Leopard can be found here, as well as Elephants, Buffalos and Hippos. Other mammals frequently seen in the park include Gerenuk, Grant’s gazelle, Kirk’s Dik-dik, Impala, Waterbuck, Gravy’s Zebra, Beisa Oryx and Reticulated Giraffe. Rhinos are no longer present in the park due to heavy poaching. There are over 350 species of birds which include Somali Ostrich, Kingfisher, Sunbird, Bee-eater, Marabou Stork, Tawny Eagle, Bateleur, Guinea fowl and Vultures.

Buffalo Springs National Reserve

This is separated from the Samburu National Reserve by the Ewaso Nyiro River. It is however less hilly and less dense than Samburu but equally attractive. The Reserve takes its name from an oasis of limpid crystal clear water at the Western end of the Sanctuary. There is also numerous bird life including the Somali Ostrich which dominates the plains. Larger than its southern relative, the Maasai ostrich is more easily distinguished by its indigo legs and neck. Next in size is the Koori Bustard who stands a meter high. His behavior is unpredictable, at times running or crouching at the first sign of danger. An unexplained phenomenon is the presence of the Common Zebra in Buffalo Springs and the absence of the species in the Samburu, just across the river.

Shimba Hills National Reserve

Shimba Hills National Reserve: This is a small national park located in the coast province of Kenya. The park is the last of the coastal rainforests and an important area of plant biodiversity where rare plants in Kenya are found such as some endangered species of cycad and orchids. There is also a large number of elephants in the reserve as well as butterflies and birds. These elephant herds cause significant damage to vegetation, threatening the endangered plant life. Human-wildlife conflicts are also very high in this area. Due to this, an elephant sanctuary has been established to provide a route for elephants to leave the park. The park contains Kenya’s only population of the Sable antelope. Other attractions in this beautiful park include the scenic landscape comprising of hills and valleys and Sheldricks Falls.

Shaba National Reserve

This forms a trio of unusual and attractive game sanctuaries very different from others in Kenya. The reserve has a particular place in the history of Kenya game conservation for it was in this reserve that the authoress, Joy Adamson died. It was in this tranquil wilderness that she released her first hand-raised leopards. The reserve gets its name from Mt. Shaba, a volcanic mountain that became extinct around 5,000 years ago. The mountain lies on the border of the reserve. Animals commonly encountered in this reserve are the elephant, lion, cheetah, gravy’s zebra, giraffe, gerenuk, buffalo, oryx, Grant’s gazelle, dik dik and waterbuck. The river forest also attracts a wide variety of birds. The reserve also takes its name from a massive cone of volcanic rocks which dominate the region. The northern boundary is marked by the wide, sauntering motion of the Ewaso Nyiro river on its way to Chanler’s Falls and beyond to its final destination at the Lorian Swamp.

Marsabit National Park

This lies in northern Kenya, about 560 km north of Nairobi in Marsabit district. The park comprises of densely forested mountain and three crater lakes that are the only permanent surface of water in the region and that provide habitat for a variety of birdlife. Major wildlife species include the African elephant, the endangered Grevy’s zebra, lion, leopard, buffalo, bushbuck, large herds of greater and lesser kudus, common zebra, grant gazelles and many other small antelopes. The park is famous for its elephant named Ahmed that was provided with 24 hr security surveillance by presidential decree in the 70’s, to demonstrate Kenya’s commitment to wildlife conservation. Marsabit National Reserve consists of a forested mountain that rises like an oasis in the middle of the desert wilderness and is the only source of permanent surface of water in the region. The three spectacular crater lakes provide habitat for a variety of birdlife. One of the lakes, Lake Paradise, is most scenic and famous from early films and writings of Martin Johnson and Vivien de Wattville. Ahmed, who boasted some of the biggest tusks ever recorded, died at age 55, and his body was preserved and is now on display in Nairobi National Museum.