Wildlife & Animals – Shaba NR
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.
Shaba lacks the wildlife densities of its neighboring reserves, Samburu and Buffalo Springs, but all the same species are present. Of the Big Five, only rhino is absent. Most likely to be seen on a game drive are antelopes, which might include Thomson's and Grant's gazelle and Beisa oryx. There are some enormous Nile crocodiles in the river.
Shaba is home to several dry-country adapted mammals that don’t occur in most Kenyan parks. The reticulated giraffe can be seen loping around the reserve. Beisa oryx is particularly well adapted to arid conditions. The gerenuk, with its elongated neck, stands on its hind legs to reach the higher branches of acacia bushes. Both the common Burchell's zebra and the bigger Grevy's zebra can be found alongside each other.
Best Time for Wildlife Viewing
Shaba and its neighboring reserves tend to be dry, which mean they can be visited any time of the year. However, the Dry season (June to October) is recommended for the best wildlife viewing. The vegetation thins out at this time of year and animals will tend to hang around the few remaining water sources. It mostly rains during April, and wildlife viewing can sometimes be more challenging then.