Shaba National Reserve

Shaba National Reserve

Shaba National Reserve

Shaba National Reserve is one of the 3 Kenyan reserves that are a popular destination for tourists, because of its magnificent landscape featured with river-side forests, scattered woodlands and dry grasslands dominated by Shaba Hill Volcano. It is also renowned for its huge number in wildlife which can be spotted along water holes or roaming throughout the reserve. However, this peaceful reserve is famous by great works of conservationist Joy Adamson and George who are author of the bestselling book and subject of the film Born free and the owners of Elsa the lioness which was raised in Shaba National Reserve. Perhaps the three reserves Shaba, Samburu and Buffalo are ecologically similar, un fenced sharing common borders. Despite that Shaba National Reserve is the largest of the three reserves though with less wildlife but the scenery is magnificent.

Shaba National Reserve lies in the eastern province in northern Kenya in Isiolo County and was established in 1974, on an area covering 23,910 hectares. Shaba national reserve is part of the 3 bordered Kenya national reserves that is Sambura National Reserve and Buffalo Springs national reserve that lies on either side of the northern Ewaso Ngiro river that quenches wildlife species in all the three reserves.

The reserve offers greener vegetation as compared to that in Samburu national reserve. Its landscape is characterized by the semi-desert which attracts variety of wildlife species due to the presence of river Ewaso which enriches the soil with moisture to nurture vegetation upon which the wildlife species can be seen grazing.

Shaba national reserve is well known for its magnificent landscape than wildlife. There is also outstanding river Ewaso Nyiro that form part of the landscape in the reserve, that supply through deep gorges, sandbanks and then flows down into chandlers falls and end up draining up at Lorian Swamp. Ewaso River is the best rewarding point in the reserve for game viewing and many beautiful plants can be seen around the river. Thus offering renewed wilderness experience every time you visit one of these three Kenya national parks.  

Shaba National Reserve also sounds as a home for large prides of lions which can be spotted under thickets of toothbrush trees during the day. Moreover, a home to rare species such as reticulated giraffe, Somali Ostrich and endangered Gravy’s Zebra. Other wildlife species to be explored in the reserve include African leopards, elephants, great kudu, gerenuk, lesser kudu, Beisa Oryx, Impala, grant’s gazelle, hyrax are seen in the hills, bat eared foxes, Aardvarks, Klipspringer, Masai giraffes thus making up a wonderful game experience which leaves tourist mind back on a visit. The reserve is one of the best spotting bird point of the two Samburu and Buffalo where you can be able to mention out African darter, great egret, white headed vulture, yellow-billed Woodpecker, martial eagle, lesser Kestrel among the rest. 

The reserve sits in the splendor of its topography such as deep gorges and waterfalls on the scenic Nyiro River, open grasslands dotted with springs and swamps in rocky hills and dusty areas strewn with lava boulders.

Shaba national reserve has got three outstanding entry gates for the tourists, researchers which include; Shaba gate, Gafarsa gate and Natorbe gate.

Major Attractions in Shaba National Reserve

There are many attractions which can be encountered by the tourists during a visit to Shaba National Reserve as below;

Wildlife Species-Due to its green vegetation and river that quench animal thirst in the reserve, variety of wildlife species can be spotted in here by the tourists on their visit to the reserve which include; beisa Oryx, gravy’s Zebra, elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, leopard, cheetah, lions all these species can be sighted on tourist safari along the riverbanks in this reserve.

Birdlife: The reserve is haven for numerous bird species and some of the species include marabou stork, vulturine guinea fowl, dove, black-capped social weaver, sand grouse, black-fenced sand grouse, D’arnaud’s barbet mentioned few.

Shaba Hill. This hill gives rewardable view of the park’s scenic landscape as well as the species. And it’s where the reserve got its name ‘’Shaba’’.

Activities carried out in the reserve

Game drive/ viewing: Shaba national reserve offers three different sessions to carry out game viewing in the park that is Morning game drive, afternoon and full game drive. Morning game drive is the best game viewing time, giving a traveler chance to view the wildlife species as they can be active this hour of the day and animals can be easily seen at this time of day while looking for food. Morning game drive is also a life time experience of watching out beautiful African sunrise in the wild thus offering to you great photography chances. Full day game drives allow travelers to come out with real adventure of park’s scenery, rewardable views of wildlife as you get to learn on how they feed, survival instincts and afternoon game drive wildlife are difficult to be sighted as they can be seeking for shelter running away from the heart. Game drive is the best way of photographing the amazing scenery of the reserve as well as the wildlife and species of birds.

Bird watching; Shaba national reserve is a right safari destination for travelers who prefer adventuring in bird watching and within here you can be able to sight see different unique bird species such as black-faced sand grouse, marabou stork, sand grouse, Vulturine guinea fowl, D’arnaud’s barbet, black-capped social weaver among others. The best spotting area in the reserve is semi-arid nature of the climate.

Guided nature walks: Walking safari in the reserve is the best way to discover the park’s scenery landscape, as well as hidden treasures of the world such as colorful flower in thickets, reptiles, amphibians, insect, reptiles, bird’s nest, important plants and guides, can lead you to more ecosystem that can be missed on game drive.

Culture encounter: The reserve is surrounded by the local people known as Samburu people where tourists can get interacted with them and get amazed about their ways of life like their unique culture and traditions .Tourists can be able to learn how to make traditional jewelry ,cattle herding plus other culture activities which you can engage in .The Samburu people are also cattle gathers and can be seen on watering camels along  the river which is a watery provision for diversity of wildlife species in the reserve at all times. 

Best time to Visit

Shaba is all year visited safari destination though the best time is in dry season that starts from June to September and December to February when there’s no any interrupts of rain. Rain season can happen in March to May and October to November making it a difficult time for game viewing but can be the best birding time since bird life can be on breeding and migratory bird species can be present. You can still visit the reserve in wetter seasons during this period, accommodations rates can be low and visitors can be few in number.  

Shaba National Reserve
Shaba National Reserve

Accommodations/Lodges in Shaba National Reserve

Shaba National Reserve has got comfortable lodge ranges from Luxury to budget accommodation with excellent welcoming staff as listed below.

Luxury Accommodation include; Joy’s Camp, Sarova Shaba game lodge

Midrange Accommodation are; Lions cave camp Samburu, Sun and Sand beach resort, Women hotel, Silver bells hotel.

Budget Accommodation; Sinteti hotel, Grande hotel, Camel’s gate lodge and cafe.

Visit Shaba National Reserve one of Kenya’s national reserve and get experienced to its rewardable scenery and adventurous wildlife.

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