Samburu County

Geography, Land-Use, Highlights, Population, Roads, Airports, Climate & National Monuments in Wajir County


Geography of Samburu County

Over 80% of Samburu County lies within the fragile and nebulous arid to semi-arid ecological zone. There are five ecological zones in Samburu County: the tropical alpine zone covering an altitude of 1,980 ms to 2,040 ms; the upper highlands covering the altitude between 2,150 ms to 2,600 ms; the lower highlands covering an altitude of 1,800 ms to 1,980 ms; the lower midlands covering the area below 1,300 ms; and the lowlands covering the areas of elevations between 600 ms and 1,450 ms.  Much of the land is mainly used as grazing range by wildlife and livestock.  Gazetted forests occupy 15% of its land.

Land Use in Samburu County

Land use in Samburu County falls into four classes: trust land, communal land, Government land and private land. All communal lands are managed by the communities whilst private land encompasses group ranches. The bulk of land in Samburu County is not registered – a situation that affects its full potential exploitation. The widespread land-use practices are pastoralism and wildlife conservation. These practices account for over 90% of its land-use. Farming is also pursued in areas of Poro in Kirisia, Baragoi, South Horr, and Tum in Nyiro.

Highlights in Samburu County

Samburu National Reserve, which hosts various lodges and game landings, in Samburu East, is the biggest revenue earner for Samburu County. The locals also have indigenous knowledge and cultural artefacts that could be tapped to promote cultural tourism. The annual camel derby, a annual tourism promotion event, has been attracting both local and foreign tourists. There are 13 tourist class hotels in Samburu County, with a total bed capacity of 566. Most of these goings are located in parks like Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserve. 

Kirisia Forest in Samburu County. Image Courtesy of Ministry of Forestry
Kirisia Forest in Samburu County. Image Courtesy of Ministry of Forestry

Population in Samburu County

Samburu West has the highest population density, about 21 people/km2 while Samburu North and Samburu East has just 14 and 6 people/km2 respectively.  According to the 2009 Population and Housing Census, the sum population of Samburu County was 223,947. Given the population growth rate of 4.45% per year, the county’s population was expected to have risen to 255,931 persons in 2012 and 319,708 in 2017. Maralal Town is the most populous urban centre in Samburu County, with a population of 17,747, while Suguta Marmar has the least population among the urban areas, with a population of just 5,958 people.


Airports in Samburu County

Samburu County has one small civilian airport utilised fairly often at Samburu National Reserve and three air strips at Kisima Airstrip (which is currently not in shape), at Buffalo Springs National Reserve and at the Kalama Conservancy. 

Roads in Samburu County

Samburu County has a total road length of 1,449 kilometres, most of which are rural access roads.  The newly built A2 Nanyuki to Moyale Road forming part of Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Corridor, vertically cutting across it and covering a significant area and enhancing connectivity within Samburu County.

Climate in Samburu County

Rainfall in the Samburu County follows a fairly erratic pattern and which varies significantly both in temporal and spatial scale but the county experiences both short and long rains. The driest months are January and February. It has a mean temperature of 29 C, with fast blowing winds, especially on the lowlands. 

Samburu County Distance Chart
Samburu County Distance Chart

National Monuments in Samburu County

  1. Kenyatta House, Maralal

Samburu County Map

Samburu County Map