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Buffalo Springs National Reserve, another treasure in the northern circuit.

Buffalo Springs National Reserve is an alternate choice for guests who desire a discerning and unfettered safari trip in northern Kenya’s bush country. As one of the several hidden landscapes, the reserve offers a serene setting where you escape into a vast landscape of remarkable flora and fauna. 

Unique features of the reserve include lava terraces, rolling grasslands, doum palms, forests, scrub brush, Ewaso Nyiro River and springs for which the reserve is named. The reserve is part of a larger ecosystem that includes Samburu National Reserve to the north and Shaba National Reserve to the northeast.

With so much open protected land available, wildlife traverse safely between the reserves, including rare northern species of reticulated giraffes, vulturine guinea fowls and Grevy’s zebras, all of which are unique to the region. These beautiful animals are joined by other rare species, including Somali ostriches, beisa oryx and gerenuks.

You also see wildlife that are present in many of Kenya’s other protected areas. Foragers and grazers include elephants, hippos, olive baboons, buffaloes, Grant’s gazelles, to name a few. Your pallid safaris guide also helps you locate the well-hidden hunters, such as leopards, lions, cheetahs and Nile crocodiles. You may even have a chance to see African wild dogs.

For our bird-watching guests, Buffalo Springs is a mecca of avi-fauna with more than 450 species recorded that includes birds that are found in northern bush country and riverine forests. The lesser kestrels and Taita falcons are globally threatened species that thrive under the protection of the reserve.

Other vulnerable species include great egrets, martial eagles, African darters and yellow-billed ox-peckers. Common species include bee-eaters, yellow-billed hornbills, lilac-breasted rollers, grey-headed kingfishers and many more. To give our guests the best and most pleasant safari in Buffalo Springs National Reserve, we recommend two accommodations – Ashnil Samburu Camp and Samburu Simba Lodge.

Both of these accommodations not only give you access to Buffalo Springs National Reserve, but also the sister reserve – Samburu National Reserve. The reserves are separated only by the Ewaso Nyiro River, and wildlife frequently roam between them by crossing the river at low water points, so fauna experiences are similar in both reserves.

Northern Kenya is known for its pastoralist tribes. Around the game reserves and conservancies live the Turkana, Borana and Samburu people. Each tribe is distinctly different, but all are pastoralists and revere their cattle above all else. As you explore the area you see many different styles of dress and intricate beadwork adorning both male and females.

Next to the buffalo springs national reserve lives the Samburu people who are closely related to the Maasai tribe in East Africa. Both these tribes speak a similar language, derived from Maa.

The Samburu, just like the Maasai are a semi-nomadic people. Only the Samburu are still very traditional and have not parted with old customs as compared to the Maasai. Cattle, as well as goats, sheep and camels, play a vital role in the Samburu way of life and culture. The Samburu are highly dependent on their livestock for survival. Their diet comprises mostly of milk and occasionally blood from their cows.

The area is mostly dry barren land, and the Samburu tribe have to relocate to be certain their cattle have enough food. Every few weeks the tribe will change location to find fresh grazing grounds. Huts are constructed using hide, mud, and grass mats strung over poles.

A fence is built around the mud huts for protection from wild animals. The Samburu tribe settlements are called manyattas . The Samburu usually dwell in groups of five to ten families. Traditionally Samburu men look after their cattle and they are also responsible for the overall safety of the tribe.

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