Overview – Buffalo Springs NR

Anthony Ham
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Kenya.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Anthony is the author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Buffalo Springs, Samburu and Shaba are a trio of similar, adjoining reserves. Buffalo Springs offers good wildlife viewing of most big safari animals, and is particularly renowned for its excellent leopard sightings.

Samburu pastoralists live a semi-nomadic lifestyle on the peripheries of the reserve and a visit to a traditional homestead is highly recommended.

Best Time to Go June to September and January to February
High Season December to March and July to October (Busy)
Size 165km² / 64mi²
Altitude 835-994m / 2,740-3,261ft

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent wildlife viewing
  • Four of the Big Five are easily found (rhino excluded)
  • Interesting mammal species restricted to the barren north
  • Beautiful and arid scenery
  • Excellent birding with many dry country specials
  • Less busy than its sister park (Samburu) north of the river
  • Limited accommodation options compared to Samburu
  • Very hot and dry

Buffalo Springs NR Safari Reviews

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Regarding the Big Five, elephants are particularly abundant, and leopard sightings are very reliable. There are no rhinos, and lion sightings are a bit hit-and-miss, but it is the northern Kenya dry-country specials that attract many visitors. They include beisa oryx, lesser kudu, reticulated giraffe, Grevy's zebra and the odd looking gerenuk.


The reserve protects a tract of semi-arid savannah flanking the scenic Ewaso Nyero River. The ecology is defined by contrasting habitats of riverine forest along the watercourse, and dry acacia scrub dotted with termite mounds extending away from it. The springs, after which the reserve has been named, are a scenic landmark and attract a steady stream of thirsty animals.

Weather & Climate

The temperature at Buffalo Springs tends to drop a bit at night, but otherwise it stays hot. The environment gets parched in the almost-rainless Dry season (June to September). There’s another dry spell in January and February, when the heat goes up another level. Surrounding this are two periods of storms and showers (October to December and March to May).

Best Time to Visit

The springs see some heavy local traffic in the Dry season (June to September), when getting a drink is the animals’ main concern. This is the best time to visit for wildlife watching. If you’re after some lovely scenery, you may want to drop by in the wetter months. This is when rain clears the air of dust, and the vegetation is beautifully lush.

Want to Visit Buffalo Springs NR?

Buffalo Springs NR Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
The Mirror of Samburu

Buffalo Springs, which covers the northern scrublands on the southern bank of the Ewaso Ngiro River, sits directly opposite the more famous, and more frequently visited, Samburu National Reserve and in many ways is almost identical to...

Latest User Review
Lee Cooper  –  
United Kingdom UK
Reviewed: Sep 10, 2019

Variety of landscapes

Full Review