Tana River is one of the largest and most useful rivers of Kenya almost 1,014km long. This river starts its course from the foothills of Mount Kenya, to the central Kenya highlands and then into the Aberdare mountain ranges, forming a few waterfalls before continuing on its course to the Indian Ocean.
Much of the river runs through Kenya safari parks carrying along a lot of mud and soils and is a source of life within these game parks, fringed by riverine strip of forests. Kora National reserve is one of the Kenya reserves crossed by the lower Tana River attracting several herds of wildlife such as hartebeests on the east bank of the river.
Down to the ocean, the river crosses Wenje and Garsen rain forests habituated by the red tailed colobus monkeys and the crested mangabeys. These rainforest are under Tana River Primates Reserve.
On the ocean delta-Loliondo Swamps, the river is calm and is crossed by several tidal channels, doum palm trees and mangrove swamps. The Tana River Delta is actually a spectacular Kenya safari spot with hippos and buffalo wallowing in the shallow muddy pools, birds such as egret, pelicans, storks, and bee-eaters sighted in the sky. Formosa Bay on the Indian Ocean is the final resting place for the Tana river water.
Tana River Primates Sanctuary
The primate’s reserve is found east of Nairobi (350km) and also reached 240km form Mombasa. The reserve is 6km² and is made of rain forest, dry woodlands and savannah plains on the lower Tana River. Much of the forest canopy is habituated by several primate species such as the endangered mangabey and red colobus monkey among others.
Several birds nest in the forest, swamps and in the grasses making a total of 200 different species including martial eagle, bat hawk, African open billed stork, white winged apalis, pygmy falcon, African barred owlet, glossy starling, golden pipit and scaly babbler among others. Other animals in the reserve include grevy’s zebra, monitor lizard, python, Nile Crocodile, Masai giraffe, oryx, buffalo, reticulated giraffe, hunter’s hartebeest, lesser kudu, crocodile, hippo and many other birds
More than 250 species of birds are recorded in the primate’s reserve including the white winged apalis, African barred owlet, scaly babbler, African pygmy falcon, red tailed ant thrush, martial eagle, African open billed stork, golden pipit and the black bellied starling among others.
There are several conservation plans to protect the endangered primates and also limit the extent of human activity such as cultivation within the primates reserve. The Kenya Wildlife services run conservation awareness in the communities around the reserve in conjunction with the World Bank and other private stakeholders.
The reserve is accessed by road from Mombasa via Malindi-Garissa road (250km) and charter flights through Malindi and Mombasa. It is located 350km east of Nairobi and 240KM north of Mombasa
White water rafting on Tana River
Tana River is a major water sporting centre in Kenya used for fishing, boating, bungee jumping and famously for Tana white water rafting. White water rafting in Kenya is good around Mid April to July, and later from Mid November to early January especially near Sagana campsite.
The day begins with a sumptuous breakfast before you hire rafting boats and life jacket for the amazing expeditions. The rafting trip normally takes 4-5 hours depending on the water level starting with a 3 km stretch of easy class II and III white water rapids. A 6 km section follows after one hour of relaxation and snacks. The final stretch is 7 km of easy class III rapids where paddle commands are gone over again. Class IV and V rapids are found at Captains Folly, Sphincter Flexor and Can of worms, all enjoyable with amazing water rapids during the rainy season.
Training and lessons on paddling and rafting is done form the lower sections of Tana river and you however don’t need to be an expert before you join in the fan! The trip coast around USD 105 per person and prior booking is necessary.