Arid, rugged and savagely beautiful, the area is protected as the Samburu National Reserve and the Buffalo Springs National Reserve, together covering an area of about 187 square miles. With less than 12 inches of rain a year the wildlife depends for its very existence on the Uaso Nyiro River, whose headwaters rise in the Aberdare Mountains, 185 miles away. The area is very scenic with hilly crags and trees, which follow the river courses and more vegetation of scrub desert, thorn bush, riverine forest, and swamps.
The region is noted for several wildlife species not found in other Kenya parks south of the equator, the most striking of which include the reticulated giraffe, Grey's zebra, gerenuk and Beisa oryx. Bird life is particularly abundant in this region with more than 400 species being recorded. Lion, cheetah and leopard are also found here, and elephant are plentiful.