Buffalo Springs National Reserve

Buffalo Springs National Reserve is a protected area located in Isiolo country in northern region of Kenya, this reserve is also situated south of Samburu national reserve and the two reserves are separated by Ewaso Ngiro River which is the main permanent water source for the entire ecosystem. Buffalo springs national reserve stretches through an area of 131 square kilometers and lie between the altitude range of 850 meters and 1,230 meters above the sea level.

Buffalo Springs National Reserve 

The landscape of Buffalo springs is made up of gently rolling lowland plains of old lave flows, volcanic soils of olivine basalt, crossed by Ewaso Ngiro River, buffalo springs and dominated by various vegetation zones and plant species including bands of doum palms, riverine forests and grasslands. The main features in Buffalo springs national reserve are the champagne ride in the southeast of the reserve, ancient lava-terrace and Buffalo springs a clear water oasis from which the reserve gets its name.

Buffalo springs national reserve was established in 1948 as a national reserve and since it has served as a thriving home to huge population wildlife and species which are attracted the reserve because of the permanent water sources the reserve hosts. Buffalo springs comprises of a wide range tourist attractions that include wildlife, birdlife, Ewaso Ng’iro River, the samburu local people and their culture and flora species in the reserve.  

Tourist attractions in Buffalo springs national reserve 


Buffalo springs national reserve is a great home to a wide range of wildlife species and an excellent destination for wildlife viewing while on a safari in Kenya, wildlife species in Buffalo springs national reserve include Grant’s gazelles, elands, Grevy’s zebras, gerenuk antelope, Beisa oryxes, reticulated giraffes, greater and lesser kudus, leopards, lions, cheetahs, hyenas, elephants, buffaloes, impalas, waterbucks, dik-dik, common Burchell’s zebras, wild dogs and many more.

waterbucks iN Buffalo Spring

In Buffalo springs national reserve 3 big cats are present (leopards, cheetah and lions), a big number of leopards is inhabit in the wooded riverbank areas, lions inhabit riverine forests as they target their prey coming to drink water at the river and the cheetahs are often hard to see but they are present in the park. 


Buffalo springs national reserve is an excellent destination for a birding safari in Kenya and a great habitat for birds hosting over 390 bird species, highlight birds in Buffalo springs are Somali Ostriches which are larger than the usual common ostriches and have distinctive features of indigo kegs and blue necks. Other special birds include Cobalt-blue breasted vulturine guinea fowls, Egyptian vulture and Abyssinian ground hornbill which are becoming very threatened. 

Birds found in this reserve include Somali ostriches, secretary birds, singing bush lark, Somali bee-eaters, spotted palm thrush, von der Decken’s hornbill, white-headed mousebirds, yellow vented Eremomela, Reichenow’s seedeater, northern brownbul, palm-nut vultures, pink breasted lark, lanner falcon’s, Mariqua sunbirds, pygmy batis, greater kestrels, grey wren-warblers, Donaldson-smith’s sparrow-weavers, fisher’s starling, Chestnut-headed sparrow lark and many more.


Buffalo springs national reserve is a perfect destination for nature and flora lovers as it offers spectacular views of various flora species, the flora species in this reserve are greatly determined by River Ewaso Nyiro which crosses through the reserve and it is a permanent water source. Flora species in Buffalo springs reserve include Doum palm, specimens of acacia elatior, scattered grass and shrubs, alkaline grasslands, desert rose, bright pink blooms, salvadora persica and many more. 

Ewaso Nyiro River 

Ewaso Nyiro River in Buffalo springs reserve is a great host for wildlife species since it is the permanent water source in the area, Ewaso Nyiro River derives its name from the local Samburu language “Ewaso Ng’iro“meaning the river of brown or muddy water.

Ewaso Nyiro River is the biggest and least seasonal river in northern region of Kenya, the banks of this river attracts a high concentration of animals, bird species and a variety of flora species. At the banks of Ewaso Nyiro River are dominated by thick acacia, doum palm forests attracting animal species such as waterbucks, Nile crocodiles, reticulated giraffes, buffaloes and birds such as saddle-billed storks, flocks of helmeted and cobalt blue breasted vulturine guinea fowls and many more.

Buffalo springs

Buffalo springs in Buffalo springs national reserve is a highlight feature from which the reserve gets its name, this notable feature is one of the water sources feeding the reserve and its ecosystem, Buffalo springs attract a huge concentration of animals which come to drink water.

The samburu people and their culture 

Samburu people live in communities sharing boundaries with Buffalo spring national reserve, these people are closely related to the Masai people and they speak the similar language that is the MAA language. The samburu people have a similar lifestyle with the Masai people including dress of blankets, beaded jewelry, crafts and many more. The samburu people treasure local ceremonies such as marriage, circumcision which you will encounter while in the community.  

samburu people

Safari activities to do in Buffalo springs national reserve 

Buffalo springs national reserve is an ideal destination to visit if you are looking for an authentic African safari, this reserve offers a couple safari experiences which will make your visit to the park worth your time and money. 

Game viewing 

Buffalo springs national reserve offers excellent game viewing experiences which are one of the highlight experiences in the reserve, game viewing experiences are done in safari vehicles on numerous running through the landscape of the reserve with guidance of an experienced safari guide.

Game viewing experiences in Buffalo springs reserve are offered in the morning and afternoon, the best spot to visit for excellent viewing of animals include the banks of Ewaso Nyiro River which is one of the water sources feeding the reserve. As you embark on game viewing experience in Buffalo springs national reserve expect to spot animals like crocodiles swimming in the waters of the river, lions, elephants, cheetahs, waterbucks, elands, Burchell’s zebras, Beisa Oryx, gerenuk, reticulated giraffe and many more. 

Game viewing in Buffalo springs reserve can be done at any given time throughout the year but the best experience is got in the dry season from the month of June – October. 

Bird watching 

Buffalo springs national reserve is an ideal destination to visit for bird enthusiasts, on this safari experience the most exciting bird species to look forward to are the northeast African dry country bird species such as  Somali ostriches, Abyssinian ground hornbills and Vulturine guinea fowls. Other bird species you should expect to see in Buffalo springs reserve include white-headed mouse birds, yellow vented Eremomela, Reichenow’s seedeater, northern brownbul, palm-nut vultures, pink breasted lark, lanner falcon’s, Mariqua sunbirds, pygmy batis, greater kestrels, grey wren-warblers and many more.

Walking safaris

If you are an adventurous individual and nature lovers, walking safaris in Buffalo springs reserve are the perfect experience you should engage in. Like game viewing experience you are escorted by an experienced and professional guide who is well informed by the reserve.

As you fall various trails running through the park on foot you get an opportunity to discover corners of the park and their attractions which cannot be reached by a vehicle. on walking safaris your guide will explain to you the numerous traditional ways of tracking, print identification, numerous plant species and their medicinal function and many more.  Walking safaris are not only adventurous but also test your fitness level as an individual. 

Cultural encounters 

Cultural encounters in Buffalo springs national reserve takes you on a visit to Samburu local people, these people are very welcoming people and while in their presence you will learn and be fascinated by their life style. Samburu people are Nilotic people sharing a great resemblance with the Masai people, on your visit you will learn livestock herding techniques, craft making, learn how to throw spears, how to milk goats, and many more.

Buffalo Springs National Reserve 
Buffalo Springs National Reserve

Accommodation in Buffalo springs national reserve 

There is a wide range of accommodation establishments Buffalo springs reserve, these establishments are situated either inside the reserve or outside the reserve and they are of luxury, midrange and budget status. 

  • Budget accommodation establishments include lion king bush camp, Grande hotel, Isiolo Bomen hotel 
  • Midrange accommodation establishments include Northern Galaxy hotel, Shamz hotel, Josera guest house and many more.
  • Luxury accommodation establishments include Samburu Simba lodge, Ashnil Samburu camp, Elephant bedroom camp, Sarova Shaba game lodge, Larsens tented camp and many more.

How to get to Buffalo springs national reserve 

Buffalo springs national reserve is accessed using both road and air means of transport, from Nairobi the capital city of Kenya and a main tourism centre in Kenya, reserve is in a distance of about 301.2 kilometers. By road the reserve is reached on a drive of about 5-6 hours using Nairobi – Isiolo via Nanyuki route, by air transport domestic scheduled flights are offered from Nairobi’s Wilson airstrip situated 6 kilometers south of Nairobi to Buffalo Springs Airstrip the main airstrip serving the reserve.

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