Buffalo Springs National Reserve – Kenya

Buffalo Springs National Reserve is a sanctuary of wildlife and natural beauty covering over 131 square kilometers in the arid landscapes of northern Kenya. The reserve was established in 1948 and named after an oasis called Buffalo Springs that attracts various species of wildlife, particularly during the dry season at the western end of the reserve.

The reserve has some different landscapes including savannah plains and riverine forests but one of its defining features is the Ewaso Nyiro River, which flows through the reserve and serves as a lifeline for the wildlife here. The river’s banks are lined with doum palms and acacia trees, providing a picturesque backdrop for wildlife viewing.

Some of the wildlife that can be seen in Buffalo Springs National Game Reserve include Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, Beisa oryx, Somali ostrich, gerenuk, elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, and several bird species.

Things to do in Buffalo Springs National Game Reserve

1. Game Drives

Game drives are tours around the reserve in a safari vehicle led by knowledgeable guides. These drives can be done any time of the day but the best times are in the morning and evening when most of the wildlife is active.

During the game drive, the tour guide will tell you interesting facts about each of the animals that you will see.

2. Cultural Experiences

The Samburu are semi-nomadic pastoralists who stay near the reserve. You can visit their villages and learn about their traditions, dances, and crafts. A visit to a traditional homestead is highly recommended because it gives you a glimpse into the lives of these people.

These experiences give you a chance to see how people live alongside the wildlife.

3. Birdwatching

If you love birds, you’ll adore Buffalo Springs Reserve. The reserve has more than 350 types of birds, some of which you won’t find anywhere else including raptors soaring overhead and colorful kingfishers perched along the riverbanks.

4. Nature Walk

You can explore the reserve on foot during guided nature walks. During these walks, your guide will tell you all about plants and animals here in Buffalo Springs. You will learn the medicinal properties of indigenous plants, track animal footprints, and get up close with the little creatures of this reserve.

5. Bush Dinners and Sundowners

Imagine having dinner under the stars surrounded by nature’s sounds or sipping a drink as the sun dips below the horizon. These experiences are like something out of a dream but you can get them all at Buffalo Springs National Game Reserve.

6. Photography

There are endless photo opportunities in Buffalo Springs Reserve so do not leave your camera behind. Capture the magic of the African wilderness from stunning sunsets to close-up shots of animals.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Buffalo Springs National Game Reserve is during the dry seasons, from June to September and January to February. During this time, the vegetation is sparse and wildlife congregates around the water sources making them easier to spot. However, the reserve is open year-round.

How to Get to Buffalo Springs National Reserve

The reserve is located about 350 km north of Nairobi, making it accessible by road or air.

  • By road, it is a 5-6 hour journey offering scenic views of Kenya’s countryside.
  • By air, you can take a domestic flight from Nairobi to the reserve which is served by Buffalo Spring Airstrip.

Several domestic airlines offer flights to Samburu, and the flight usually takes around 1-2 hours, depending on the airline and the route.

Entry Requirements

Before entering Buffalo Springs National Reserve, you are required to have a valid entry permit which costs $70. These fees contribute to the conservation efforts of the reserve and also help support local communities living in the area.

Where to Stay

Sleeping in Buffalos Springs Reserve means waking up to the sounds of the bush and panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes from your private veranda knowing that a day of adventure and exploration awaits you just beyond your doorstep.

There are few accommodations inside the reserve like Surana Buffalo Springs, but you can also stay in those near the reserve like Ashnil Samburu Camp, Samburu Simba Lodge, and Sarova Shaba Game Lodge