Shaba National Reserve

Shaba National Reserve is a tiny gem of a reserve in the north of Kenya. It lies in an area of harsh, dry terrain that's part of the same ecosystem as Samburu and Buffalo Springs. Shaba, however, is virtually cut off to all but those with access to a 4 wheel drive vehicle or an aircraft, so it's mercifully free from traffic.

Shaba has surprisingly good game and wonderful birdlife, drawn by small permanent springs in the south.There are regular sightings of elephant and lion in Shaba and you have a good chance of seeing Kenya's 'northern five'; oryx, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, Grevy's zebra and lesser kudu. Shaba is small at only a couple of hundred square kilometres, but your eye is constantly drawn to the grand-scale views of the surrounding hills.Despite its diminutive size Shaba punches well above its weight and is dominated by a sense of scale that most people simply don't get to experience.

On a clear day, Ol Olokwe is visible to the north west. This sacred mountain of the latter-day explorer stands at the southern end of the Matthews Range, an icon of adventure, gateway to Kenya's wild Northern Frontier District - the NFD. Virtually everything about Shaba feels hard and unyielding,the hills blister with blood red volcanic extrusions and the gritty volcanic sand is scattered with scrubby acacia and commiphora trees.

Almost everything here has thorns. In the centre of the Shaba the Ewaso N'giro River provides welcome contrast, having tumbled out of Laikipia on its way from the foothills of Mt Kenya. It flows thick and brown under the granite hills, its banks lined with large mature fig trees and dense stands of palms trees. Massive crocs bask on sand banks and game of all kinds is drawn to the rich riparian woodland.

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Shaba National Reserve's camps

Just some of the places we'd recommend staying in Shaba National Reserve

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Our team

Our experienced travellers include:

Rod Tether
Rod Tether
Alex Edwards
Alex Edwards
Catherine Ronan
Catherine Ronan

It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary. All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.

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