As one of the largest coastal forests in East Africa after Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, this reserve is rich in flora and fauna and hosts the highest density of African elephant in Kenya. Other animal species found in the area are Sable antelope, elephant shrew, bushy tailed mongoose and other small mammals like fruit bats. The forest is an important bird area and is endowed with forest birdlife while the grasslands hold localized species such as red-necked-Spur fowl, Croaking Cisticola and Zanzibar Red Bishop. The scenic Sheldrick Falls and the dense Mwaluganje Forest are also found here along with four campsites.
The Tana River National Primate Reserve was gazetted in 1976 to protect the Lower Tana riverine forests and two highly endangered primates, the Mangabey and the Tana River Red Colobus. The reserve consists mainly of patches of riperian forests extending for 16km along the meandering course of the lower tana river, 350km ea st 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 ftom 10 to 625 ha. in size fall within the reserve.
The Maasai are a strongly independent people who still value tradition and ritual as an integral part of their everyday lives. They regard themselves not just as residents of this area but that they are as much a part of the life of the land as the land is part of their lives.
Traditionally, the Maasai rarely hunt and living alongside wildlife in harmony is an important part of their beliefs. Lions and Wildebeest play as important a role in their cultural beliefs as their own herds of cattle. This unique co-existence of man and wildlife makes this Maasai land one of the world’s most unique wilderness regions.
At the heart of these lands is the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, widely considered to be Africa’s greatest wildlife reserve. The Mara comprises 200 sq miles of open plains, woodlands and riverine forest. Contiguous with the plains of the Serengeti, the Mara is home to a breathtaking array of life. The vast grassland plains are scattered with herds of Zebra, Giraffe, Gazelle, and Topi. The Acacia forests abound with Birdlife and Monkeys. Elephants and Buffalo wallow in the wide Musiara Swamp. The Mara and Talek rivers are brimming with Hippos and Crocodiles.
Each year the Mara plays host to the world’s greatest natural spectacle, the Great Wildebeest Migration from the Serengeti. From July to October, the promise of rain and fresh life giving grass in the north brings more than 1.3 million Wildebeest together into a single massive herd. They pour across the border into the Mara, making a spectacular entrance in a surging column of life that stretches from horizon to horizon.
At the Mara River they mass together on the banks before finally plunging forward through the raging waters, creating a frenzy as they fight against swift currents and waiting crocodiles.
The wildebeest bring new life to the Mara, not just through their cycle of regeneration of the grasslands, but for the predators who follow the herds.
The Mara has been called the Kingdom of Lions and these regal and powerful hunters dominate these grasslands. Cheetah are also a common sight in the Mara, as are Hyena and smaller predators such as Jackals.
The Mara is an awesome natural wonder, a place where Maasai warriors share the plains with hunting lions, a place of mighty herds and timeless cycles of life, death and regeneration.
The Mara is probably the best serviced of all Kenyan Parks and Reserves with a wide range of Accommodation for any budget. The Reserve is a popular attraction with Safari operators. The reserve is ideal for game drives, and some lodges and camps offer walks and balloon safaris.
Wildlife moves freely in and out of the reserve, and through neighbouring Maasai lands. Outside the boundaries of the reserve there are many other small camps and lodges, some of which offer walking, horse riding and other safari options. The Loita Hills and the Nguruman Escarpment, both considered sacred to the Maasai, offer high forest trekking opportunities for the adventurous traveller.
The Lake Bogoria National Reserve covers 107 km sq and is easily reached from either Nakuru or Lake Baringo. The reserve is most famous for its flamingo population, its strange and quite stunning scenery and the presence of the rare Greater Kudu. It is better to visit the Lake either in the early morning or late evening, as it is fiercely hot at midday and so staying in the area is probably the best option.