As is routine with all Bonfire Adventures road trips, our early morning meeting point was at their town offices located at Yala Towers at the Junction of Koinange Street, Nairobi.   We had been briefed the previous day by our tour consultant, thus it was easy to locate our vehicle for the road trip.   We were allocated vehicle was no. 55 and Ben was our driver for our three-day safari.  The representative for the safari finally briefs us on what to expect for the three-day tour and we are on our way to Shaba.  Our eagerness is at its peak, no one in our group had been to this part of the country, for the better part of the journey we could only sit in anticipation on what to expect.

Getting there

The Shaba National Reserve is located in the North part of Kenya; there is also the Samburu National Reserve and the Buffalo Spring Reserve. From Nairobi, we transverse the counties of Muranga, Kirinyaga via Sagana, to Nyeri via Karatina town and on to Laikipia county via Nanyuki town and divert to Isiolo.  Finally, after covering 314kms and about six hours drive, we were deep in the dry and arid Northern part of Kenya. The road is good; very good, this is the highway that links Kenya to Ethiopia.  It’s a pastoralist region and one will encounter herders with their camels, cattle, goats and sheep along the road as they search for water.  We arrived in time for lunch and the Sarova Shaba lodge team gets us checked in, we are ushered in for Lunch and prepare for our first evening game drive.

Shaba National Reserve

Characterized by shrubs, short acacia trees, the reserve is generally dry.  We had an evening game drive and were able to see the unique Gravy’s Zebra, the Reticulated Giraffe, some antelopes, and gazelles.

The Unique Gravy’s Zebra.

It’s been quite dry for the better part of the year, and the drought effect did not spare the wild, this was quite evident during our evening drive.

The Reticulated Giraffes only found in Northern parks

We did not manage to see any elephants, Lions, Leopards or Cheetahs.  Having made several rounds in search of animals it was time to get back to the hotel for overnight stay.

 Samburu National Reserve

After our breakfast, we embarked on a game drive at the Samburu National Reserve.   Day two did not disappoint.  Immediately we checked in to the reserve, we were welcomed in by an ambience of wilderness.  The shrubs plus the previous night’s rains were evident on the ground and the aura of wildlife could be felt.  A few meters into the game drive and we encounter a parade of elephants enjoying the morning sun.  We spent several minutes enjoying this enormous mammal, these animals are quite huge.  Further in there were the rare and unique reticulated giraffes, which are only found in the Northern parks.

The long-necked Gerenuk Gazelles, lots of dik-diks’ and the gravy’s Zebra whose strips are unique were also spotted.  The highlight of the day was spotting a group (coalition) of cheetahs.  Further into the park and along the Ewaso Nyiro River, we spotted a lone lion.  He did not seem bothered by our presence; he simply looked at us without a single movement.

spotted a lone lion




Five hours later and we were at the Buffalo Spring Reserve.  As the name suggests we expected to find lots of buffalo’s which was not the case.  However, the reserve is quite dry with gorgeous hills and valleys.   We hoped to see the blue-necked Somalia Ostrich but I guess it was not our lucky day, nevertheless, we spotted the beisa Oryx.

Where to Stay

There are several lodges and camping sites as well as tented camps.  They include The Sarova Shaba is located inside the Shaba National Reserve, The Elephant bedroom, Ashnil Samburu Camp, Samburu Riverside Camp inside the Samburu National reserve among others. We stayed at the Sarova Shaba hotel located along the Ewaso Nyiro River.

The Pool area at Sarova Shaba
Push Dinner set up at the Hotel

What to Carry

  • Passport / Identity Card
  • Hats
  • Camera
  • Sunglasses
  • Residents/citizens must show their ID/passport or Residency cards or else they will be charged as non-residents.  All documents must be valid.

What did it cost?

  • Cost for 3 days 2 nights Safari
  • Cost per person sharing: Kshs. 19,500/-
  • Inclusive: Transport to and from Nairobi, Accommodation on full board; and all meals during our stay
  • Excludes Park fee at the gate. (Citizens pay Kshs. 1,000/- for the two nights and Non Residents $140 for the two nights.

Kenyatalii’s verdict

A must-visit location in the North of Kenya.  For hikers, ask your hotel to arrange a hike up Mt. Ololokwe; the backdrop while on our three-day safari.  We appreciate your feedback and comments; Do spread the word by sharing!


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