Buffalo Springs National Reserve


Buffalo Springs national reserve was established in 1948 as part of Isiolo Samburu game reserve but gained full rights in 1985. It covers an area of 131 square kilometers. The Reserve is south of the Samburu National Reserve and is named after an oasis of clear water at its western end. It is a place of dramatic contrast in which rare wildlife and diverse birdlife reside with gently rolling lowland plain of old lava flows and volcanic soils of olivine basalt. The main feature is the Champagne Ride in the southeast, an ancient lava-terrace. 



The climate in Buffalo springs national reserve is hot, dry and semi-arid. Nights are usually cool. The average daytime temperature is 32°C/90°F, while the average nighttime temperature is 16°C/61°F. The reserve can be visited year round. The springs see some heavy local traffic in the dry season that is June to September. This is the best time to visit for wildlife watching. If you’re after some lovely scenery, you may want to drop by in the wetter months. This is when rain clears the air of dust, and the vegetation is beautifully lush.



Along the Ewaso Ngiro is a narrow band of riverine forest which includes Tana River Poplar, Doum Palm and magnificent specimens of Acacia Elatior. Vegetation includes acacia tortilis woodland and large stretches of bushland dominated by Commiphora. In some areas lava rock is exposed, with scattered grass and shrubs. Other parts have alkaline grasslands with occasional springs and swamps. Here and there the “Desert Rose” it is found in the scrub, with bright pink blooms. The Salvadora Persica shrub provides food to elephants, and its twigs are used as toothbrushes by the nomadic Samburu people.



Wildlife here include the endangered Grevy’s Zebra. Other species of mammal are reticulated giraffe, the African bush elephant, oryx, gerenuk, African buffalo, lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena. Over 365 species of bird have been recorded in the reserve. The river is home to hippopotamuses and crocodiles. Somali ostriches are widespread within the national reserve.


They include the following;

  • Wildlife –  Buffalo springs national game reserve habits a variety of animals which are one of the great tourist attractions of the reserve.  Animals in Buffalo springs game reserve are found in the wooded areas around the river banks of Ewaso Nyiro river, riverine forests and savannah grasslands.
  • Birds – Buffalo springs game reserve is one of the top ranked destination for Kenya birding safari in Kenya. The reserve is a habitat to more than 390 species of birds with notable bird species such as Acacia tit, Ashy cisticola, African swifts, Somali ostrich which is larger than the common ostrich and characterized of distinctive indigo legs and blue neck and the striking cobalt-blue breasted vulturine guinea fowls. 
  • Ewaso Nyiro River – The River is the most attractive feature in Buffalo springs game reserve and most exciting location to spot animals and birds. Ewaso Nyiro River is named after a Samburu language “Ewaso” meaning “the river of brown or muddy water”, this river is the biggest and least seasonal river in northern Kenya. It is a permanent water source to the ecosystem of Buffalo springs game reserve. Ewaso Nyiro River comprises of riverside grasses, thick acacia, and doum palm forests along its banks which attraction a variety of birds and animals such as crocodiles, buffaloes, impalas, hippos and many birds such as saddle-billed storks and many more.
  • Buffalo Springs – Buffalo springs in a must visit site in this reserve. These springs are the source of the name for Buffalo springs game reserve and prominent feature in the reserve. Buffalo springs consists of 3 springs, two of the springs are walled and the third one breaks into the plain forming a small marshy waterhole flowing into Ewaso Nyiro River.


  • Game Viewing – Game viewing in this amazing destination are done in a customized safari vehicle. Game drives are offered in the morning, afternoon and evening. Animals in Buffalo springs are best spotted around the river banks of Ewaso Ngiro River. Large herds of elephants are spotted bathing in the muddy waters of the river, Prides of Lions as they wait to attack their prey and Nile crocodiles are some of the animals you encounter at the river banks.
  • Bird Watching – Buffalo springs reserve is a perfect Kenya birding safaris destination. It is a habitat to a huge concentration of birds with over 390 bird species including northeast African dry-country bird species. Bird watching in Buffalo springs game reserve offers a chance for birders to spot many bird species such as African palm swift, Ashy cisticola, Bare-eyed thrush, Black-bellied sunbird, Black-capped social weaver, Bristle-crowned starling, Brown-tailed rock chat and many more. 
  • Cultural safari – Buffalo springs game reserve shares borders with the Samburu local people who can be visited while on a visit to Buffalo springs national reserve for cultural experiences. The Samburu people are very friendly and welcoming. By visiting them, you get an opportunity to learn more about their lives and appreciate their culture. 
  • Guided Safari Walks – A safari to Buffalo springs national game reserve is never complete without engaging in guided walking safaris. This activity is more of a leisure adventure offering thrilling walk through numerous corners of the reserve. 



Accommodation  facilities in and around Buffalo springs game reserve are categorized and offered as luxury, midrange and budge. They include; Samburu Simba lodge, Ashnil Samburu camp, Lion King bush camp, Samburu Sopa lodge, Sarova Shaba game lodge, elephant Bedroom camp, Samburu game lodge and many more.