Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba National Reserves are located north of Isiolo, along the banks of the Ewaso Ngiro River. The river supports the variety of wildlife in the three reserves including Grevy's zebra, Sonmali ostriches and giraffes. Large crocodiles and hippos inhabit the river.
Samburu National Reserve has public campsites located near the wooden bridge that connects the western portion of Buffalo Springs National Reserve with Samburu.
The hot, desolate landscape of Samburu is a preferred home for some mammals that adapt well to the harsh environment. A highlight for many visitors to Samburu National Reserve is the Sarara Singing Wells, local watering holes, where Samburu warriors bring their cattle daily. The warriors form a human chain and chant traditional songs while passing water up to their cattle by hand.
Shaba National Reserve has a place in history as the reserve where, Joy Adamson - author of Born Free, was murdered early in 1980. Shaba was named for a massive cone of volcanic rock, which dominates the region. Additional wildlife is found in the woodland and grassland areas of Shaba National Reserve including gazelle, lions, cheetahs and leopards. Shaba is popular for organized safaris.
Buffalo Springs took its name for the crystal clear water at the western end of the sanctuary. Tourists can swim in on of the Buffalo Springs pools that are specially conditioned for bathing. In addition to other wildlife the common zebra is abundant in Buffalo Springs and Samburu. The crater in Buffalo Springs National Reserve was created when an Italian bomber mistook buffalo for targets during WW II.