There have been more than 390 bird species recorded in Samburu and Buffalo Springs national reserves. The reserves protect a variety of habitats, home to different bird species including arid acacia savannah, scrub and gallery forest alongside the Uaso Nyiro River. The dry, open country offers very rewarding birding opportunities and boasts a number of northeast African dry-country species shared with Ethiopia and Somalia, such as vulturine guineafowl, Somali bee-eater and golden-breasted starling. Samburu is a bird watcher’s delight all year. Many unusual, dry-country specials reside here and can be spotted year-round. Migratory birds arrive into the reserve from November to April. One important consideration is the weather, as heavy showers can mess up your birding plans – November and April receive the most rainfall.
Samburu National Reserve
Located on the southern bank of the northern Ewaso Ngiro River, Samburu is home to a large population of Nile crocodiles and is the second most visited game reserve in Kenya. Visitors to Samburu have the opportunity to see some rare wildlife species. Samburu National Reserve is a rugged and semi-desert park located in Samburu district in the Rift Valley Province in central Kenya. The park neighbors the homes of the Samburu tribe of Kenya, a tribe known for their remote culture, pastoral and nomadic way of life.
Samburu National Reserve consists of a low lying, semi arid plain on the southern bank of the northern Ewaso Ngiro River. The reserve which lies 9km east of Buffalo Springs National Reserve was gazetted in 1974. The beautiful stark landscape is dominated by Samburu Hill in the south, at the foot of which is a rugged area with steep ravines. The Ewaso Nyiro River is the lifeline of the area. Crocodile and hippo share the river with many small herds of elephant who bathe and frolic in the muddy brown waters during the heat of the day, before returning later to browse the lush vegetation of the riverine forest.
Samburu National Reserve offers great wildlife viewing, and good densities mean that most safari animals can be seen within a couple of days. There are several habituated leopards, and sightings are not unusual. Elephants are plentiful, and there is a variety of antelope, including both the greater and lesser kudu, with their impressive horns. Only rhino is absent from the Big Five. Several dry-country adapted mammals that don't occur in most Kenyan parks can be found here. The reticulated giraffe has a more striking pattern than the common Masai giraffe. Beisa Oryx is particularly well adapted to arid conditions. The gerenuk, with its elongated neck, is able to stand on its hind legs to reach sparse leaves. Both the common Burchell's zebra and the bigger Grevy's zebra are found alongside each other.
Samburu national reserve is a home to about 75 species of mammals including elephants, lions, African buffaloes, Maasai giraffes, plain zebras, hippos, cheetahs, reticulated giraffe, Aardvark, Aardwolf, Africa Hare, Antelope, Banded Mongoose, Bat eared Fox, Bushbaby, Bushbuck, Coke’s hartebeest, Common elands, Copper tailed monkey, crested porcupine, Dwarf Mongoose, Grant’s gazelles, Honey Badger among others.