The Samburu National Reserve is located on the banks of the Ewaso Ng'iro river in Kenya; on the other side of the river is the Buffalo Springs National Reserve in Northern Kenya. It is 165 km² in size and 350 kilometers from Nairobi and ranges in altitude from 800 to 1230m above sea level. Geographically, it is located in Samburu District of the Rift Valley Province.
In the middle of the reserve, the Ewaso Ng'iro flows through doum palm groves and thick riverine forests that provides water without which the game in the reserve could not survive in the arid country. The Samburu National Reserve was one of the two areas in which conservationists George Adamson and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the Lioness made famous in the best selling book and award winning movie Born Free. The Samburu National Reserve is also the home of Kamunyak, a lioness famous for adopting oryx calves.
There is a wide variety of animal and bird life seen at Samburu National Reserve. Several species are considered unique to the region, including its unique dry-country animal life: All three big cats, lion, cheetah and leopard, can be found here, as well as elephants, buffalo and hippos.
Other mammals frequently seen in the park include Olive baboon, gerenuk, warthogs, Grant's gazelle, Kirk's dik-dik, impala, waterbuck, Grevy's zebra, Beisa oryx and reticulated giraffe. Rhinos are no longer present in the park due to heavy poaching.
There are over 350 species of bird. These include Somali ostrich, grey-headed kingfisher, sunbirds, bee-eaters, marabou stork, tawny eagle, bateleur, vulturine guineafowl, yellow-necked Spurfowl, lilac-breasted roller, palm nut vulture, red-billed hornbill, secretary bird, Verreaux's eagle, superb starling, yellow-billed hornbill and vultures.