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Tana River Primate Reserve

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KENYAN SAFARI PARKS: TANA RIVER PRIMATES RESERVE

On the Kenya safari itineraries, this park is the famous as the home of the Mangabey and the Tana River Red Colobus monkey. Tana River National Primate Reserve was gazetted in 1976 to protect the Lower Tana riverine forests and the above two endangered primate species. The reserve consists mainly of patches of riperian forests extending for 16 km along the meandering course of the lower tana river, 350 km east of Nairobi and 240km north of Mombasa. At the time of establishment, the reserve occupied approximately 171 Km of forest, dry woodland and savanna habitat on the East and West of the Lower Tana River. 16 patches of forests ranging from 10 to 625 ha. in size fall within the reserve. It is usually hot with temperatures ranging from 20-40 degrees Centigrade and is accessible through Malindi/Garissa road or through an airstrip on the south of the Livestock Holding Ground.

There are a lot of other tracks that link to the settlements.

Though the main attractions here are the endemic Red colobus and mangabey, there are other attractions e.g., Nile crocodile, Python, Monitor Lizard, butterflies, baboons, cheetah and lots of antelope species. More than 300 species of trees have been recorded in this reserve, a complex mix of pan-African rain forest species, East Coast forest species plus 10 rare woody plants of which 5 are endemic. A walk in the neighborhoods of the forest can be arranged which can be a lot of fun.

Arawale National Reserve

Arawale national reserve is located in the North-Eastern Province, in Garissa district, 5 km from the left bank of the Tana river. The Reserve is located 250 km north of Mombasa and 130 km north of Malindi. Arawale was gazetted in 1973 covering an extension of 533 Sq.kms and with the primary purpose of protecting a rare antelope species, which is found only in this region, the Hirola or Hunter’s hartebeest. The landscape in this area is mostly a dry thorn-bush savannah. Hunter’s hartebeest or Hirola (Damaliscus Hunter) is a slender antelope with lyre-shaped horns which is the main asset ot the reserve. It is a rare and shy antelope which is seriously endangered. Its territory extends to the Somali border, but the population is very scarce and sightings are infrequent. The reserve also hosts some elephants, giraffe, Grevy’s zebras, lesser kudus, buffalos, hippos and crocodiles.

There is no accommodation available at the reserve and the nearest hotels are in Garissa, northward, and Garsen, southward, but both towns are quite far away from Arawale, so camping is the recommended option if one desires to include it in the Kenya safaris packages.

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