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Kenya National Parks >>Samburu National Park and Lake Naivasha

Rugged and remote, these wildlife reserves lie within the fascinating semi-desert area of Kenya's Northern Frontier District. The Samburu National Reserve - a lava plain with steep-sided gullies and rounded hills - is physically dramatic with the great Ololokwe table mountain in the background.

The central feature of the reserve is the winding and looping Ewaso Nyiro river. On either side of the river, a green ribbon presents a gallery of forest acacia, doum palm and Tamarind, which act as host to a multitude of bird life. Some of Kenya's rarer species like the long-necked gerenuk, Grevy's zebra, reticulated giraffe, beisa Oryx and blue-shanked Somali ostrich can be seen here.

The Buffalo Springs Reserve butts onto Samburu in the south and is more or less an extension the same kind of environment. However, as the name implies, the major source of relief in this reserve is an outflow of clear spring water which attracts migrant game and predators from miles around. This reserve is bounded in the north by the Ewaso Nyiro which doesn't reach the sea but buries itself into the Lorien Swamp to the east.

Lake Naivasha

Only 90 km (56 miles) north west of Nairobi, at the foot of the Rift Valley Escarpment, lies Lake Naivasha. Few lakes have a lovelier or more commanding setting than this, the highest and purest of all the Rift Valley lakes. Its secluded lagoons are fringed with papyrus. Mount Longonot 2,977m a now extinct volcano, dominates the skyline in shades of misty blues and purples.
Lake Naivasha claims to be home to more species of bird life than the whole of the British Isles. Water birds exist in great variety and abundance. Pelican, cormorant and heron are well represented and are best viewed during a boat trip on the lake, which also offers the chance to see hippo at close quarters. A notable bird is the African fish eagle which nests in the trees along the lakeshore, and whose haunting cry is heard echoing across the water. A narrow causeway links the mainland to Crescent Island, a private game sanctuary, where you can walk, viewing a variety of game such as gazelle waterbuck, zebra, giraffe, bat-eared fox, and dik dik.

13 km south of Lake Naivasha is the dramatic Hell's Gate Gorge (where Tomb Raider II was filmed) - a stark passageway between red towering cliffs. It is here that the Lammergeyer nests - the rarest of Kenya's birds of prey.


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