Shaba is part of three small adjoining savanna national reserves that lie on either side of the Northern Ewaso Ngiro River, 340 km north-northeast of Nairobi – Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba. They were established in 1948 as the Samburu Isiolo Game Reserve, part of the once extensive Marsabit National Reserve. They are now managed by their respective county councils, Samburu and Isiolo.

The reserve consists of a low lying, semi-arid plain on the southern bank of the northern Ewaso Ngiro river. It lies 9 km east of Buffalo Springs National Reserve, from which it is separated by the main road from Isiolo to Marsabit. Its northern section includes a 34 km stretch of the Ewaso Ngiro river; here and elsewhere in the reserve are numerous springs and swampy areas, although some have bitter tasting water.

The starkly beautiful landscape is dominated by Shaba Hill to the south, at the foot of which is a rugged area with steep ravines. The sandy soils are volcanic in origin.

Climate of Shaba

Hot and dry. Rainfall averages 250 – 300 mm per year.

Roads to Shaba

The reserves are reached by tarmacked road via Isiolo from Nairobi, a distance of 343 km.

Major attractions of Shaba

Scenic landscape and riverine forest. Permanent springs. Shaba has seventeen springs at which animals congregate during the dry season. Reticulated giraffe; Somalia ostrich; Grevy’s zebra; Joy Adamson’s monument.

Vegetation at Shaba

The vegetation in the reserve includes; thicket with patches of Acacia tortilis woodland; riverine woodland and forest dominated by patches of Acacia elatior and doum palm, Hyphaene coriacea; bushland and open areas of lava rock with scattered grass and shrubs, dominated by communties of Commiphora spp. with Ipomoea, Grewia, Acacia senegal and Salvadora; and Sporobolus spicatus alkaline grasslands dotted with springs and swamps.