On the other side of the Isiolo–Archer’s Post A2 road from Samburu–Buffalo Springs road lies the Shaba National Reserve, where Joy Adamson experimented with the release of hand-reared leopards. Highly recommended, Shaba is much less visited and less developed than Samburu or Buffalo Springs and therefore feels more peaceful and solitary. If you’re driving, you’re likely to enter the reserve at Natorbe Gate (6km from the A2 highway junction a couple of kilometres south of Archer’s Post) on a road that rolls up and down through a lava field. The landscapes of Shaba are a lot more varied than you might expect, with the dramatic bulk of Bodich mountain rising behind the river to the north, and steep hills, culminating in Shaba peak, pressing in on the south.
For animals, Shaba is quite the equal of its two neighbours, with lots
of elephant, jackal, lion and plains game, including beautifully marked
Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe and the gerenuk. Exploring in Shaba is very different from Samburu, where game drives tend to focus on the river; in
Shaba there are scattered natural springs around which the wildlife concentrates – ideal places to park up, switch off the engine and spend some time watching and waiting. Unlike Samburu and Buffalo Springs, where tracks are generally flat and well graded, those in Shaba are topped with gritty volcanic sand and a 4WD is usually required.