It’s equally prone to flood, however, and in March 2010 and again in November 2011 it burst its banks with dramatic consequences, inundating safari camps and sweeping away the main bridge linking Samburu and Buffalo Springs reserves. The bridge, near the reserve headquarters, remained broken until February 2015, when it finally re-opened.
Unlike some of the parks in southern Kenya where you can never be sure you’re in the best area, each of the reserves in the Samburu-Buffalo Springs-Shaba complex is small enough to explore quite thoroughly in a day or two. In practice, most visitors come to Samburu National Reserve itself, on the north bank of the river, where the majority of the region’s relatively few safari camps and lodges are located. It is also possible once again to visit the Buffalo Springs side of the ecosystem within the duration of a single game drive by using the reopened bridge across the river near the reserve headquarters.

Game drives often follow the winding, sandy tracks close to the meandering river, where almost anything – from a pride of lions to a herd of elephants or a flight of graceful, leaping impala – can appear at any moment.