Samburu County

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Area Km2
County Number

Samburu County

Samburu County number 025 borders Baringo County to the west, Laikipia County to the South, lsiolo County to the East, Turkana County to the northwest and Marsabit County to the north.

Lake Turkana borders at the northern tip between Turkana and Marsabit counties.


Its headquarters is Maralal town.


According to the 2009 Census, Samburu County population was 223,947 with a population density of 11 people per Km2 and a population growth rate of 2.1% per annum. The age distribution is 0-l4 years 50.6%, 15-64 years 46.4% and 65+ years 3%.

Tourist Attractions

There are three major tourist attractions; The Samburu Game Reserve, The Buffalo Springs National ReserveandThe Shaba National Game Reserve. The Samburu Game Reserve located on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River covering 165km2 and situated 350km from Nairobi. 

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 and is also the home of Kamunyak (the blessed one), a lioness who adopted six oryx calves between 2002 and 2003. The Buffalo Springs National Reserve is separated from the Samburu National Reserve by the Ewaso Ngiro River. It is less hilly and less dense than Samburu but equally attractive. Buffalo Springs takes its name from an oasis of clear water at the western end of the sanctuary. 

The Reserve is 131Km2 and lies on the leeward side of Mount Kenya, rarely receiving rain. During the struggle for independence in Kenya, Mau Mau freedom fighters hid in the park. The legendary Mau Mau General Mathenge passed through when fleeing to Ethiopia. 

There is a pool of spring water caused by bombing during the 2nd World War by European forces. Attractions in the park are over 365 species of birds, reticulated giraffe, gravy’s zebra, elephant, beisa oryx, Somali ostrich, hippo, crocodile, gerenuk, buffalo, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena and the spring pool. Shaba National Game Reserve is a rugged wilderness featuring hot springs, rolling savannah, miles of scrub and desert, a waterfall and the Ewaso Ngiro River which supports a diversity of wildlife. 

This reserve was established in 1968. A solitary mountain rises to 2,145m from an otherwise flat area. Attractions are the gravy zebra, the Somali ostrich, gerenuk, the reticulated giraffe, gazelles, lesser kudu, leopard, lion, elephants and bird life.


The rainfall pattern in the county is erratic and on average receives rainfall ranging from 750mm in the lowlands to 1200mm on the mountain and plateaus.

Road networks

The total length of all classified roads in the county is 3,125.2Km with gravel surface covering 1,962.3Km and earth surface 1,162.9Km.

Education and Literacy

As at 2007, the County had 140 Primary schools with an enrolment of 32,783 pupils and a teacher to pupil ratio of 1:41 and 15 Secondary schools with an enrolment of 2,871 pupils and a teacher to pupil ratio of 1:27. Tertiary institutions in the county are 1 satellite campus, a medical training college and several commercial colleges.

Financial Services

There are Micro Finance Institutions in the County.   


There are a total of 61 health facilities in the county. These are 1 District Hospital, 1 Sub-District Hospital, 43 Dispensaries, 5 Health Centres, 10 Medical Clinics and one unclassified facility.

Political Leadership

With the adoption of the new constitution in 2010 which ushered in the devolved system of governance, the Governor is the Executive authority in the County together with his deputy, the Senator is to represent the County at the Senate and through affirmation of women and youth rights, the Woman Representative is to represent the County’s women and youth issues at the National Assembly.





Samburu County has three (3) constituencies divided into 15 electoral wards. Samburu North Constituency has 6 wards, Samburu West 5 and Samburu East 4.


Main economic activities are tourism, nomadic pastoralism and commercial businesses. The Samburus, who are predominant, practice a seasonal migratory lifestyle in continuous search of grazing pasture and water for their livestock, which provides them with milk, meat and blood for food. The tourism sector has great potential since the county lies within the northern tourist circuit and has three national game reserves; The Samburu Game Reserve, The Buffalo Springs National Reserve and The Shaba National Game Reserve. 

These are further complemented by the presence of luxury hotels such as Sarova Shaba in Shaba, Samburu Serena, Larsens Camp, Samburu Lodge, Samburu Intrepids among others. There is a high potential for mining to exploit; corundum, graphite, actinolite, silica, garnet, muscovite, vermiculite, magnesite, uranium, sillimanite, asbestos, copper, rare earth, clay, graphite, beryl, pyrite, chromite, nepheline, kyanite, manganese, epidote, nickel and kaoline. 

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