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On location in land of Born Free

Updated Thursday, August 12th 2010 at 00:00 GMT +3
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By Ferdinand Mwongela

Once upon a time two tribes were marooned in Kenya’s wild north the Samburu-Isiolo border. The tribes, Borana and Samburu, were pitted against each other but as time went by, the Samburus began to disintegrate.

Despite the existing rivalry, time came when the two tribes came together to form a single tribe, although the new tribe was neither called Samburu nor Borana. It was moto maji.

This is not the history of the two Kenyan communities. This was the theme of Survivor Africa Challenge in 2001 filmed at the Shaba Game Reserve in Isiolo and bordering Samburu District and the Rift Valley Province on one side.

The rich game reserve lies in the arid parts of the country, a few kilometres past Isiolo town. The sweltering heat only rivalled by the stone filled land, a legacy of this volcanic desert.

The reserve is under the jurisdiction of the Isiolo County Council. Within a radius of a few kilometres lie two other reserves, the Buffalo Springs and Samburu National Reserves, the former managed by the Isiolo County Council and the latter by the Samburu County Council. This makes its difficult to know where the management of one council end and the other begins while on a game drive.


Put together, the three game reserves are a force to reckon with. Shaba Game Reserve was also the shoot location for the movie, Born Free and home to George and Joy Adamson, they of the Born Free fame.

Samburu Reserve also hit the news headline following the oryx-adopting lioness named kamunyak.

We checked into the Sarova Shaba Game reserve on a hot sunny day. Like an all-seeing god, its rays peeped through the thorny shrubs seeking its merciless victims.

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