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Sarova Shaba Game Lodge - Shaba, Kenya

Beautifully presented, Sarova Shaba Game Lodge offers an oasis of green in the midst of a beautiful but harshly arid landscape. Surrounded by rocky hills, it is located adjacent to an area of natural springs, which feed the pools and cascades that dot the verdant grounds. It was by these springs that Joy and George Adamson of ‘Born Free' fame had their original camp. Over looking the Ewaso Nyiro river, the lodge features a central pool, presented in the form of natural coves and cascades with a pretty central island with shaded relaxation area.

Location
The reserve is 320 kms north-east of Nairobi

The Background
Shaba was formed in 1974 and has been used for a number of film locations including Born Free, Out of Africa and more recently, Survivor 3. Covering an area of 239 sq km, Shaba's scenery is stark and beautiful, dominated by Shaba Hill in its southern section and surrounded by steep ravines, a favourite haunt for leopard. There are also good views to the sugarloaf mountain of Ol Ololokwe north of Archer's Post. Bisected by the Ewaso Nyiro River, the reserve features tracts of riverine forest with ragged doum palms and grasslands interspersed with lava outcrops, numerous springs and marsh areas leading into the Lorian Swamp.

Born free
Shaba is famous as the home of Joy Adamson, author of Born Free. It was here that she was murdered in 1980. A plaque raised on her old campsite honours her memory.

Kenya hotels and accommodation
Amongst the wide range of Kenya hotels, some make the ideal Kenya safari destination. Choose a safari lodge, safari hotel, bush camp, luxury lodge, safari camp, tented camp or bush lodge. National park accommodation usually takes the form of a traditional safari lodge or tented camp, but numerous other options exist on the park boundaries. Luxury lodges and luxury camp options are also offered in the private wildlife conservancies.

Accommodation
The lodge offers 80 chalet-styled rooms, 4 suites and a splendid honeymoon suite (with king-sized bed and sunken Jacuzzi). Each room is accommodated in a two storey unit, all of which enjoy views of the river.

Dining and bars
The dining area is built high on timber stilts and shaded by high vaulted thatched roofs. Overlooking both the river and the pool it is shaded by doum palms. There is a central bar also overlooking the river. Meals are buffet style and Samburu dance performances are offered.

Conference and event facilities
The lodge's conference centre will accommodate 170 guests theatre style.

Child-friendly
The lodge welcomes children, additional beds can be provided as can baby-sitting services.

What to see and do

Dwellers of the dry shrub
Shaba is one of the few areas in Kenya where one can view the Grevy's zebra, which with its rounded ‘Mickey Mouse' ears is notably different from its more common cousin, the Burchell's zebra, which also populates the reserve. Other browsers of the thorny shrub include the increasingly uncommon reticulated giraffe and the rare Beisa oryx, as well as elands, impalas, Bright's gazelles (the pale northern species of Grant's gazelle) and gerenuks. Elsewhere rooting warthogs and Kirk's and Guenther's dik-diks can be seen, and in small numbers both lesser and greater kudus.

Elephant encounters
Prey to the harsh dictates of a dry country ecosystem, the reserve is prone to large variations in the animal populations as they move about in search of water and pasture. However, elephant encounters are common as large herds roam the reserve and they are best seen crossing the river, or returning to its banks at dusk to bathe.

Plentiful predators
Shaba holds healthy numbers of lions, leopards and cheetahs as well as spotted and striped hyenas, bat-eared foxes and common genets. Unlike its sister reserves, Shaba is also one of the few places where can see the endangered wild dog.

Denizens of the Ewaso Ng'iro River
The lifeblood of this dust-dry desert region, the 32 km Ewaso Ng'iro River meanders in mud-brown loops throughout the reserve and is home to plentiful pods of snorting and chortling hippos. On its raised sandbanks immense Nile crocodiles bask, remaining stock still, utterly camouflaged and menacingly patient. Amid the dense riverside thickets impala, common waterbuck and buffalo lurk.

A brilliance of birdlife
Shaba's birdlife is so abundant that over 100 species can be spotted in a day. Perhaps most noteworthy of the sightings is the rare blue-shanked Somali ostrich; the most memorable, the flash of coral rump that flags the flight of the white-headed buffalo-weaver. Secretary birds are plentiful, as are bands of bustling helmeted and vulturine guinea fowls, saddle-billed stork, and red-billed hornbill. This is also one of the few places where you can see the rare William's lark.

Rugged raptor realm
The Reserve's characteristically rugged cliffs and starkly rising inselbergs provide the ideal habitat for raptors, which range in size from the tiny pygmy falcon to the giant martial eagle. Verreaux's eagle owls also hunt the rivers.

Activities include:
• Swimming pool
• Crocodile feeding
• Samburu dancers
• Game drives
• Guided ornithological walks
• Guided walks and training in bush craft
• Evening entertainment
• Shop
• Team building programmes in ‘Survivor' style.
• Massage services
• Nightly sundowners around the campfire

 

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