Welcome to Isiolo County's Tourist Destinations

Wildlife, Biodiversity and Tourism

Isiolo county has three game National reserves namely, Shaba National Reserve, Buffalo Springs and Bisanadi. Samburu and Meru national park also borders the county forming part of the northern tourist circuit. The Reserves in Isiolo County are famously known for their natural beauty and abundance of fauna and flora including species which are endemic. The county’s tourist attractions are categorized as, nature and wildlife, culture, heritage and community-based tourism, adventure, and eco-tourism.

The county is very rich in terms of diversity of wildlife species. The special five that is found in Isiolo County are; Reticulated Giraffe, Biesa oryx, Gerunuk, Somali Ostrich, and the Grevy Zebra, other wildlife species found includes; African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), elephant, monkeys, antelopes, impala, giraffe, leopard, waterbuck, lesser kudu, greater kudu, hippo, buffalo, lion and over 300 species of birds.

There are a wide range of hotels and campsites in the county which offer accommodation to tourists. They include a one five-star hotel with a bed capacity of 34, two four star hotels with total bed capacity of 78, three 3-star hotels with total bed capacity of 250, one two-star hotel with a bed capacity of 311, three 1-star hotel with total bed capacity 348 and several unclassified hotels and restaurant.


Shaba National Reserve (SNR) is located in Isiolo County. It was established pursuant to Legal Notice No. 268 of 12th October 1974 and covers 239 Km2. The vegetation in the Reserve includes Acacia woodlands, bushlands, grasslands and riverine communities dominated by Acacia and doum palm. Its prominent fauna include gerenuk, Grant gazelle, Oryx, zebra, giraffe, cheetah, leopard and lion. The Reserve has one lodge (Sarova Shaba) and several campsites (Robin Hurt campsite, Funan campsite, Bodich campsite Acacia campsite, Dudubatu campsite, challage beach campsite and Hereri campsite). The Reserve has attractive scenic landscapes, riverine forests and permanent springs. There are 17 springs in the Reserve at which animals congregate during the dry season.


The BSNR is situated in Isiolo District, about 85 Km2North of Mount Kenya. The vegetation in the Reserve comprises of Riverine forest of Acacia and doum palm, acacia woodlands, bushed grassland and scrubland. The main fauna to be observed in the area includes elephants, zebras, reticulated giraffes, Oryx, cheetahs and crocodiles.

To develop the northern frontier as the premier tourism destination.


Category Exceptional resource values




Grevy’s zebra

Wild dog

Beisa Oryx

Pancake tortoise

Mosaic of unique vegetation types and plant species

Important Bird Area


Wilderness area

Ewaso Nyiro River, waterfalls, springs and swamps

Hills, ridges, cliffs and crater

Lava flow formations


Community security committees

Community Conservancies

Water Resources

Historical events


Ethnic and cultural diversity

Traditional natural resources management system



Wilderness area

Tourism activities in BSNR and SNR are mainly concentrated along Ewaso Nyiro River. The northern part of the SNR has a picturesque topography characterized by relatively inaccessible hills and rock outcrops. The southern part of Buffalo Springs offers remarkable wilderness experience.

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Hills, Ridges, Cliffs and Crater

Some of the most spectacular physical features include the Ololokwe, Shaba and Sleeping Lion hills, Champagne ridge and Dakadima cliffs. The Magado crater, in addition to its splendor and scenery, is also a salt lick for wildlife. These features provide background panoramic views, teeming with grazing wildlife. They also provide observation points from which the landscape can be viewed. These areas provide visitors with opportunities for rock climbing and walking safaris.

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Ewaso Nyiro River, Waterfalls, Springs and Swamps

The Ewaso Nyiro River originates from Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Ranges, and is the largest river system in northern Kenya. This river has been described as the most scenic river in the country. The waterfalls, Chafa Garfasa and Shariki, which lie along the river, are quite scenic and visitors enjoy coming to these marvelous sites. Several springs and swamps, such as Gotu and Buffalo springs, and Ngare Mara swamp, exist in BSNR and SNR, and attract much wildlife, especially during dry seasons.

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Mohamed Abkanu Tel: 0713005065

Warden in charge- Shaba National Reserve.

Lauryn Nairoti Tel: 0725985790

Communication Officer Tourism and Wildlife Management