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Northern Circuit

“The Marching of common Zebra with Grevy Zebra”

North of Mount Kenya and Isiolo, these reserves offer the chance to experience the dry, arid thornbush lands that support unusual species such as Grevy’s Zebra, Gerenuk, Beisa Oryx and Somali Ostrich
Buffalo Springs National Reserve sits south of the EwasoNg’iro River and has a couple of seasonal rivers flowing through it surrounded by rolling volcanic plains, rocky outcrops and swamps. This arid terrain supports many desert adapted animals and species found in northern Kenya and other adjoining countries, different to those species found in the country’s more frequently visited parks further south. The river areas have good populations of crocodile and hippo and for keen birders there are nearly 400 species.
Further out from Buffalo Springs is the smaller Shaba National Reserve, a beautifully scenic place, dominated by Shaba Hill in the southern section and a perfect place for leopard with its rocky outcrops and ravines. The river cuts through the reserve creating areas of riverine forest with doom palms and grasslands and the whole area contains lava outcrops and springs from the volcanic geology of the region. In addition to the same wildlife found in Buffalo Springs, the endangered wild dog are sometimes found in Shaba. Various films over the years have used Shaba as a location including Out of Africa, Born Free and Survivor 3.
Around these three reserves are many Samburu manyattas (villages) where guests can meet the Samburu people and learn about their culture. Many lodges and camps have local community projects in place with these tribes people and are happy to include visits to these projects during your stay here.

It supports a myriad of plains game species all perfectly adapted for the semi desert environment and Grevy’s Zebra and the Reticulated Giraffe are common. Additionally, the lance-like horned Beisa Oryx and the rare Greater Kudu are seasonal visitors and the Guenther’s Dikdik, the giraffe-necked Gerenuk and the beautiful blue-legged Somali Ostrich are resident all year round.
This conservancy supports a myriad of plains game species all perfectly adapted for the semi desert environment and Gravy’s Zebra and the Reticulated Giraffe are common. Additionally, the lance-like horned Beisa Oryx and the rare Greater Kudu are seasonal visitors and the Guenther’s Dik dik, the giraffe-necked Gerenuk and the beautiful blue-legged Somali Ostrich are resident all year round. This is a 60,000 acre conservancy which began as a cattle ranch owned by the Craig family early from in the century. In about 1983 about 10,000 acres were turned into a rhino sanctuary, and then in 1993 the whole ranch became a wildlife conservancy. It is a ‘Big 5’ reserve, and has a healthy population of Black and White Rhinos (about 10% of Kenya’s rhino population). It is also home to about 20% of the world’s endangered Grevy Zebras, and an important refuge for elephants. Sitatunga, an aquatic antelope, is the other quite unusual species to be found here, and they are very rare in Kenya. In all, there are about 70 mammal species and 350 bird species, making it a very rich wildlife area.
The conservancy also includes the guardianship of the adjoining NgareNdare Forest Reserve. Lewa also has important archaeological sites, including a 1 million year old hand axe site and pastoral cave.
The other very important aspect to Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is the local people. Lewa’samibition is not only to conserve the environment but also to act as a stimulus to development and economic growth in the local area. Part of this includes an active social development programme which backs water schemes, clinics and schools. Lewa helped set up and still backs Il Ngwesi Lodge, and was also instrumental in setting up the Namunyak Wildlife Conservation Trust (which includes Sarara Camp).

Laikipia National Reserve is a remote and truly wild corner of Kenya, the Laikipia National Park boasts incredible game viewing in a spectacularly beautiful setting. Two rivers, the EwasoNyiro and EwasoNarok run through the area, attracting a rich variety of wildlife, including the second largest population of elephant in Kenya.
Laikipia is a plateau district, straddling the equator north west of Mount Kenya. Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is one of the gems of Laikipia. The plains stretch from the Rift Valley to magnificent escarpments which drop to the Northern Frontier District.
Nanyuki is the main town of the Laikipia region, and there are two rivers, the EwasoNyiro and EwasoNarok, which wind through the region giving life to frequently very dry areas. Altitude varies from about 1500 to 1950m, and the environment includes open grasslands, acacia bushland, basalt hills, cedar forests and kopjes.
Due to the diverse range of habitats, Laikipia hosts an abundance of wildlife which is second only to the Masai Mara in Kenya. It has significant populations of predators and also the “big five”, with over 50% of Kenya’s black and white rhinos, thousands of elephants, about 25% of the world’s Grevy zebras, and an increasing population of wild dogs. The focus of wildlife viewing here is in Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. This reserve is also home to diverse tribal communities including Maasai, Kikuyu, Pokot, Samburu, Turkana, Meru and Europeans. The region is made up of a mixture of community group ranches and privately-owned ranches, which between them include commercial cattle ranches, agricultural enterprises of various sizes, wildlife conservancies and pastoralist grazing lands.
Laikipia is at the forefront on eco-tourism in Kenya, and indeed, a pioneer in world terms in this sphere, mainly due to the leadership shown by Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. It has a high proportion of community-owned tourism properties, and indeed even many of those not owned by local communities still bring a benefit to the communities in a variety of significant ways.
Brilliant on a magnificent scale, the Meru and Kora sister parks feature luxuriant jungle, coursing rivers, verdant swamp, khaki grasslands and gaunt termite cathedrals all under the sky’s great blue bowl. Little visited and utterly unspoilt, few places are comparable to the remote and rugged atmosphere found here. Visitors can see Grevy’s zebras, elephants, Bohor reedbucks, hartebeests, pythons, puff adders, cobras, buffalos and more than 427 recorded species of birds.
Meru National Park offers visitors a rare treat. It is one of Kenya’s lesser known and visited parks and yet it provides a stunningly wide variety of landscapes and habitats. Forest, swamp and savannah are pierced by 15 permanent rivers all rising on the ever present backdrop of Mount Kenya.
This Park is situated towards the east of Mount Kenya something of a lonely wilderness. The park was made famous by George and Joy Adamson who released several hand-reared animals here, including the famous lioness Elsa (immortalized in the book Born Free), and their cheetah Pippa.
Game viewing is at its best during the dry season, when the long grasses are at their shortest and the migrating elephants have returned to the park. While the range of game may not be quite as diverse as some other parks the quiet and unspoilt nature of Meru National Park more than makes up for this.
There is a 44km sq Rhino Sanctuary inside Meru, home to over 40 White Rhino and 20 Black Rhino. The size of the sanctuary still gives a feeling of wilderness and a challenge to find the animals on a game drive! Lake Turkana is much further north, and it is the world’s largest desert lake. Come here to really get away from everything, come close to a raw and dramatic landscape, and to meet the resilient tribal people who still inhabit this
The game reserve is renowned for its rare species of animals unique to the park, namely: the long necked gerenuk, Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe and Beisa onyx. The elusive Kenya leopard is often known to visit the park, especially in the evenings.Other Kenyan wildlife present in the park includes cheetahs and lions, as well as elephants, buffalo and hippos.
To the north of Mount Kenya and Isiolo lies Samburu National Park. The EwasoNr’iro River, whose name means ‘muddy waters’ in the local language, runs through the reserve attracting wildlife. It can be accessed by flying to Nanyuki and taking either a charter flight or road transfer to the park. There are some lovely private luxury camps in the region and some larger lodges in the park areas. The Samburu people are incredible guides and this region offers a fascinating insight to their culture.
Samburu National Reserve covers 165 square kilometres and ranges in altitude from 800 to 1230 meters above sea level. It is a land of acacia and riverine forest, thorn trees and grassland vegetation. This dry and somewhat harsh environment supports many desert adapted animals and species found only in northern Kenya, which are different to those species found in the more frequently visited parks further south. It also has lion, cheetah, leopard, elephant, buffalo, gazelle, impala, Grevy’s zebra, hippo and Nile crocodile.
Samburu was one of the two locations in which conservationists George and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the lioness, made famous through the book and file ‘Born Free’.
Around the park are many Samburu manyattas (villages) where guests can meet the Samburu people and learn about their culture. Many lodges and camps have local community projects in place with these tribes people and can arrange visits to these projects during your stay here
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