Overview – Buffalo Springs NR
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.
Nearby Samburu pastoralists live a semi-nomadic lifestyle and occasionally they might temporarily drive off wildlife as they pass through the reserve with their cattle. The encroachment is worst in times of drought when they are desperate for water available inside the reserve. However, their movement is usually restricted to the peripheries of the reserve.
Pros & Cons
- Excellent wildlife viewing with four of the Big Five easy to find (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
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.
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Stuart is a travel writer and author of numerous Lonely Planet guidebooks, including Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania.
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