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Mwea National Reserve

Mwea National Reserve                       
The Reserve was gazetted through legal notice No. 2 of 29 th January 1976 covering an area of approximately 42 sq km northwest of Kamburu Dam at the confluence of Tana and Thiba rivers. Two islands within Kamburu dam (constructed in 1976) are part of the protected area.
Southern boundary of the reserve is bound by Tana river while East boundary conforms to Thiba river. North boundary is marked by an electric fence that protects animals from invading Makima settlement.
The earliest human settlement in Makima area dates back to 1914, though wildlife conservation intervention was not until 1972 when the DC - Embu and District Warden visited to sensitize the local community on the conservation of the otherwise teeming wildlife population.The earliest human settlement in Makima area dates back to 1914, though wildlife conservation intervention was not until 1972 when the DC - Embu and District Warden visited to sensitize the local community on the conservation of the otherwise teeming wildlife population.


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Mwea National Reserve                        
"An undiscovered oasis of tranquility"
Mwea National Reserve is today co-managed between Kenya Wildlife Service and Mbeere County Council through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). An Advisory Committee oversees the implementation of management plans of the Reserve making these arrangement to be unique in comparison with other Reserves.
Mwea National Reserve Trust was founded in 1991 with the aim of soliciting funds to develop the reserve. Quite a number of projects have been funded through donations from well-wishers including a boat and out-board engine, energy saving jikos, translocating of Zebras and many others.
In 1991, the British, jointly with KWS constructed three bridges and graded most of the Reserve roads, helped in the construction of two classrooms at Namuri Primary School. At around the same time the electric fence constructed with funds from the European Union (EU) was commissioned thereby lessening the ever escalating human-wildlife conflict.
The Mwea National Reserve is located within Mbeere District, in Eastern Province, a distance of about 200 km from Nairobi.  The savannah ecosystem comprises of small hills with bushy vegetation and scattered large trees. Other areas are open grasslands while along the main rivers, large trees with thick undergrowth are found. Trees mainly found within the ecosystem are the different Acacia species and baobab trees.  The ecosystem’s main features are the meeting point of rivers Tana and Thiba, Kaburu and Masinga hydro-electric dams, which harbour variety of biodiversity.

Major wildlife attractions include the  elephants, Rothschild giraffes, Common zebras, Lesser kudu, Buffalo, Water Buck, Bush buck, Impala, Vervet Monkeys, Aardvark, Yellow baboons, Grants gazelle, Dik dik, Cape hare, Warthog,  Black backed jackal, Duiker, Sykes monkeys, Genet cat, Slender mongoose, Stripped ground squirrel, Dwarf mongoose, Crested porcupine, Rock Hyrax, Tree Hyrax and tortoise. Hippos and crocodiles are also found in the dams and rivers. Different birds and reptile species have been recorded in the reserve.

Park Infrastructure
There is a central road from which two main circuits emanate: Thiba and Tana circuit. In total the Reserve boasts of a road network of 95 kms long.
Kamburu Dam (15 km). The reserve has two boats and out-board engines that can be hired to our visitors for use in Karnbura dam with own fuel and oil.

Roads
By Road: From Nairobi, via Thika-Matuu-Masinga Dam (160 km).this route is surfaced until Masinga Dam Bridge-a further 10 km of dirt road lies between here and Makima Gate. Access is also possible via Embu-Machanga.
A number of routes can be used:
Nairobi - Thika - Garissa and turn off at about 130 kms following the tarmac, to river crossing at Kamburu Dam, and another turn-off at Machang'a then over Thiba river for 11 kms, to the Reserve: a total of 193 kms.
Using (i) above, turn-off just after Kaewa and running south parallel to Tana River to cross at Masinga Dam well through Mbooni to the Reserve Hqs: a Total of 180 kms.
Nairobi - Embu via Thika and the 43kms along Embu to Kitui. Turn off is at Machang'a and then 11kms to the Reserve Hqs.
Alternate routes are available from Embu though they are earth roads to the Reserve Hqs.

Airstrip
By Air: Masinga airstrip near Masinga lodge, is an all-weather airstrip at Masinga about 14 km from the reserve Hqs Main gate.

Railway
13 kms from Nairobi, a third class coach travels upto Sagana where one can drop off before the train proceeds to Nanyuki. This is scheduled for Saturdays while return journey is on Sundays. From Sagana, public transport is readily available to Embu and then Mwea National Reserve.

Size and Location
-  42 km 2
-  Mbeere District, Eastern Province.
Geographically Mwea National Reserve is located between latitudes 0 45'N and 0 52'N, longitudes 37 35'E and 37 40'E. Administratively its located within Makima Location, Karaba Division of Mbeere District, in Eastern Province.

Climate
Hot and dry with occasional easterly winds with bimodal rainfall of between 250 and 500mm. Temperatures range between 10 and 30 °C.
 

Safari Card Required
At present the Reserve does not operate the Safari Card system. Entry is by cash only.

What to take with you
Drinking water, picnic items and camping equipment if you intend to stay overnight. Also useful are: binoculars, camera, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and guidebooks.

Attractions
-  Game Viewing.
-  Boat rides at Kamburu dam.
-  Hippo Point.
-  Realm of Rare birds.
-  Walking circuit.
-  Campsites.
-  Picnic sites.
-  Sandy and stoney beach, 4kms long.
The attractions can be divided into: What is available outside the National Reserve including dams and Mwea National Reserve attractions.
Various dams are located within reach of some few minutes from Mwea National Reserve. They include Kamburu, Masinga, Kiambere, Gitaru, Kindaruma (provides the main source of hydro-power in Kenya). Other additional sites on same Tana river include Mutonga Grand Falls, Usueni, Adamson Falls and Kora.All these dams can be visited with prior arrangements with KenGen management. Masinga Resort offers boat safaris at a fee in Masinga dam.
The Land is low with occasional hills and to the North are the extended low-lying ranges towards Siakago: the District Hqs of Mbeere District. On clear days Mt. Kenya can be seen to the North. Indeed land slopes to the foothills of Mt. Kenya from Mwea Area.

Wildlife
Elephant ,lesser kudu, Nile crocodile, hippo, giraffe, Burchell’s  zebra, buffalo, leopard, grey  duiker, black-backed jackal, bushbuck, waterbuck, olive baboon, sykes’ monkey, serval cat,  spotted hyena, warthog, rock hyrax, bush pig, impala and  hartebeest. Rare animals like; Stripped ground squirrel, Genet cat, Black backed jackal yellow baboons, are also found in Mwea.

Birds
Over 200 species of birds, Mwea is renowned for its water birds and waders. The only protected area in which the globally threatened and Kenya-endemic Hinde’s babbler is known to occur, the Reserve also shelters two other rare species; Pel’s fishing owl and the white-backed night heron.

Vegetation
The Reserve has many vegetation types. Some areas have thick bush with scattered large trees, which sometimes render game viewing a difficult undertaking. Other areas have grass with scattered trees while along the main rivers, and dry river valleys are large trees with thick undergrowth. Trees mainly found include: the baobab, Acacia tortolis, Acacia mellifera and Commiphora.

Activities
-  Game viewing.
-  Bird Watching.

Park Contacts
Phone:       +254-68-20301
Postal Address: Mwea National Reserve, P.O. Box 8-60113,Kiritiri, Embu, Kenya.