Samburu National Park (+ Buffalo Springs and Shaba)
If you see camels moving in single file along a dry riverbed, it becomes obvious that you are in a fairly dry area. Three national parks – Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba – are located at the very beginning of the dry north, where such species have become common.
However, it is not completely dry land, as in Samburu it is irrigated by the Ewaso-Ngiro or “brown water river”. It is a very important source of water for the locals, including the significant number of wildlife in the national parks and the cattle and goats of the Samburu people.
Of all the northern Kenyan tribes – Samburu, Rendille, Turkana and Borana, the Samburu tribe prevails in this territory. Uninformed people can easily confuse them with the Maasai tribe – as they are related peoples, wear similar bright clothes and jewelry and have the same cultural beliefs. They continue their nomadic pastoral life, as their ancestors had for hundreds of years.
Samburu is located 350 km from Nairobi and covers an area of 165 km². The desert with sparse shrubs, dry savannah and small hills of this region create an interesting landscape with a predominance of muted greens, grayish-cream and sandy-yellow colors, earthy ocher and all shades of brown. These are the perfect camouflage colors for many of the animals that inhabit these parks.
The Kamunyak lioness lived in the Samburu National Reserve, known for caring for and protecting at least 6 oryx antelope cubs from predators.
The lioness Camunyak became known thanks to Saba Douglas-Hamilton and her sister Dudu, who made the film Heart of a Lioness. The film was first shown on the BBC and later (March 2005) premiered in the US on Animal Planet. Kamunyak disappeared in February 2004, and despite numerous searches, the lioness could not be found again.
The Samburu National Reserve is little known among tourists and, as a result, is less overloaded with tourists compared to other parks in Kenya.
ANIMALS AND BIRDS
These parks are relatively small, so the animals are easy to find, including many unusual and wonderful species endemic to the region. Notable is the gerenuk, also known as the giraffe gazelle, because of its ludicrously elongated neck, which allows it to reach high-lying tree leaves. Another interesting local resident is Grevy’s zebra, which resembles a donkey with wide stripes that do not fully converge under the belly.
Reticulated giraffes differ from their southern counterparts in their perfectly even and clear pattern. A very common pygmy antelope in these areas is the tiny dikdik, which is devoted to its mate throughout its life.
Many other animals live in these national parks, large crocodiles and hippos live in the river. Leopards, lions, cheetahs and hyenas are found here, and, unusually, leopards can often be seen here during the daytime.
Birds are plentiful here, and 365 species have been recorded in Buffalo Springs National Park.
Temperatures reach 40°C during the day and drop to 20°C at night.
Rainy season: during the period from April to June it can rain at any time, then again in November and December. November is usually the wettest month.
Dry season: January to March – very hot and dry, then again from July to October. July is usually the driest month.
FEATURES OF SAMBURU-SHAB-BUFFALO SPRINGS
- Gerenuk antelope (or giraffe gazelle)
- reticulated giraffe
- Grevy’s Zebra
- Lodges by the river
- Leopards in the afternoon
- Samburu tribe people
Altitudes in this area range from 762 to 1219 m.
This is a malaria zone.
To the northwest of Nairobi, near the city of Naivasha, there is a beautiful freshwater lake – Lake Naivasha, whose waters are widely used to irrigate vegetables, fruits and flowers, which, barely cut, are exported to Europe. Fertilizers and pesticides from these manufacturers have seeped into the lake, resulting in a reduction in aquatic life. However, it still feeds hippos and many birds. It does not have the status of a protected area, since most of the surrounding land is privately owned.
The name of the lake comes from the Masai word Nai’posha, which can be translated as “stormy water”, which is probably due to the sudden storms that occur in these places.
Lake Naivasha is located in the highest part of the Kenyan Rift Valley, at an altitude of 1884 m above sea level. Two permanent rivers flow into the lake – Maleva and Gilgil. There are no rivers flowing from the lake, however, due to the quality of the water, there is most likely an underground outflow. The area of the lake is 139 km². The average depth is 6 m, the maximum depth is 30 m. The city of Naivasha is located on the northeastern tip of the lake. Near Naivashi there are 2 small lakes: Oloiden and Sonachi.
It was these beautiful lands near the lake that were among the first to be settled by the British in Kenya, in the 1930s. Many farms here are still owned by white Kenyans.
ANIMALS AND BIRDS
Naivasha is home to nearly 400 bird species. There is a fairly significant population of hippos. The diversity of fish living in the lake varies greatly over time, influenced by climate change, fishing effort and the introduction of invasive species.
Daytime temperatures are comfortable all year round and vary little, with an average of 24°C.
Rainy season: from April to June – hot and humid (long rains), from November to December – warm and humid (short rains).
Dry season: from January to March – hot and dry, from July to October – warm and dry.
This is a malaria zone.