Shaba National Reserve

Size: 23,910 hectares (59,100 acres)

The wild and beautiful Shaba National Reserve, which along with Buffalo Springs is part of the area known as 'Samburu', is 'Born Free' country where Joy and George Adamson raised Elsa the lion cub. It lies at the northern foot of Mount Kenya rising above the expansive range lands of northern Kenya 300 km (186 miles) from Nairobi.

Together with the adjacent Samburu National Reserve, and divided by the river Ewaso Nyiro, the reserves form a very popular tourist destination because of the diverse wildlife populations they support. Unlike other wildlife areas in Kenya’s northern tourist circuit, the reserves, which are popularly known as the Samburu Ecosystem, sustain free ranging wildlife species both within the three reserves as well as far into community lands.


Temperatures range from 30°C (86°F) during hottest months to 20°C (68°F) between July and September.  Annual rainfall ranges between 100mm (4”) to 300mm (12”) on average, usually divided into two seasons, short rains in October/November and long rains between February and May.


Besides normal species found elsewhere in Kenya, the area is a natural home to the five rare species known as the five northern species which are endemic to this area. They are Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, Beisa oryx, Somali ostrich and the gerenuk. Shaba is also the home for the highly endangered Williamson’s lark.  There are also over 450 recorded bird species.

Best time to visit: All year round.