Tana River Primate Reserve is located 350 kilometers East Nairobi and 240 kilometers north of Mombasa in Tana River district. It was founded in 1976 covering an area of 171 square kilometers and 6 square kilometers of which is inhabited by primates. The reserve is popular for its unique floral and faunal species in East Africa and it also features most of the traces of the ancient Congo Basin forests and the riparian forest, dry woodlands, and savanna habitats on the east and west of the lower Tana River. Approximately 40% of this reserve is situated within the flood plains and between 1960 and 1985, 56% of the forest in the area was lost due to deforestation.
Attractions in Tana River Primate National Reserve
The Tana River features a remarkable attraction. It stretches for about 1014 kilometers and makes it one of the longest and valuable Rivers in Kenya. River Tana flows along the base of Mount Kenya, to Central highlands and then via the Aberdare Mountain ranges where it features the most stunning waterfalls before flowing to the Indian Ocean. Its tributaries consist of Thika and several other smaller Rivers that flow only during the wet season. This river also inhabits most of the geese, egrets, ibises, Malindi Pipit, Basra reed warbler, and the extensive Tana delta refuges most of the hippos, crocodiles, turtles, primates, and others. The notable primates for you to spot out at this include the Tana mangabey and red colobus monkeys that feature as the two only rarest primate species in the protected area plus other primates like Sykes monkey (Cercopithecus Mitis Albotorquatus), Vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops pygerythrus), yellow baboons (Papio Cynocephalus), Zanzibar Galago (Galago Zanzibaricus) and blue monkeys (Cercopithecus Mitis).
Its incredible forests refuge about 57 mammal species, 260 bird species, and 175 species of woody plants. The prime bird species for you to lookout in Tana River Primate Reserve include the African barred owlet, scaly babbler, white-winged Apalis, black-bellied glossy starling, the golden Pipit, bat hawk, African pygmy falcon, bee-eaters, egrets, pelicans, white-winged Apalis, African openbill stork, martial eagle, and others.
The other prominent wildlife species for you to sight at this reserve include giraffes, lions, Gravy’s and Burchell’s zebra, Oryx, lesser kudus, hippos, crocodiles, squirrels, buffaloes, hirola, elephants a mention but a few. River Tana features like the longest River in Kenya and it rises in the humid highlands of the Aberdare Mountain ranges and Mount Kenya flowing via the arid flood plains between Garissa and Garsen and then enters the Indian Ocean at Kipini, north of Malindi via a huge delta.
Tana River Primate National Reserve is also bordered by 4 (four) ethnic communities, the predominant agriculturalist Pokomo and the pastoralist orma, wardei and Somali. Most pastoralists flock into the area to graze their livestock in the eastern and western banks of the River. It is inhabited by residents from Baomo and Nkano villages. A safari to Tana River Primate Reserve can be exciting when it is combined with cultural encounters in most of the surrounding communities.
What to do in Tana River Primate National Reserve
Tana River Primate National Reserve is ideal for visitors to engage in game viewing, walking trails, primate tracking, birding as well as white water rafting along River Tana, sport fishing, bungee jumping, boat cruise, and others. White water rafting in Kenya is ideal from the month of April to July and then from Mid November to early January around the Sagana campsite.
How to reach Tana River Primate National Reserve
Mombasa is located 480 kilometers away from Nairobi capital and you can take the Nairobi-Mombasa highway to reach Tana River. By air, you will spend about 45 minutes to reach Mombasa town from Nairobi. The reserve can be reached using aero plane via Malindi or Mombasa airports and then you connect by road through the Malindi-Garissa route. Tana River Primate National Reserve is situated about 250 kilometers north of Mombasa along the Malindi-Garissa route. This reserve is situated just a few kilometers inland between Kilifi and Malindi town and it can be reached by road about 75 kilometers away from Mombasa town or using airplanes through Malindi or Mombasa airports.
The climate of Tana River Primate National Reserve
Tana River Primate National Reserve is hot and dry. Rainfall is usually experienced from the month of May to June with 500mm each year. The annual temperatures range from 22 to 34 degrees Celsius.
Accommodation in Tana River Primate Reserve
Whereas Tana River Primate Reserve doesn’t have any accommodation facilities inside; the best alternative areas for visitor stay at the reserve include the campsites at Mchelelo Research Camp and bandas
Packing list for a safari to Tana River Primate National Reserve
For safaris to Tana River, Primate National Reserve don’t miss to include the following items in your packing list the camping gear, enough drinking water, hat, sunglasses, guidebooks, camera, sunscreen, binoculars, picnic items, and others.
In conclusion, Tana River Primate National Reserve largely credited for its two unique primates of Tana mangabey and red colobus monkeys and many other wildlife species that are all worth exploring while on your vacation in Kenya.