Tana River county is named after the Tana River. It covers an area of 38, 436.9 sq Km. The capital and largest town is Hola .The major ethnic groups are the Pokomo, many of whom are farmers, and the Orma and Wardey who are predominantly nomadic. It is situated in a semi-arid area with annual relief rainfall varying between 400mm and 750mm with a mean annual temperature ranging between 300C and 330C. The county is generally dry and prone to drought. Rainfall is erratic, with rainy seasons in March–May and October–December. Tana River County presents an interesting case of the nexus between conflict and food security. Conflicts have occurred between farmers and nomadic peoples over access to water. Flooding is also a regular problem, caused by heavy rainfall in upstream areas of the Tana River.
A long strip of the county stretches to the Indian Ocean hence laying a border between Lamu and Kilifi counties. A small portion of Tana River County, on the south-western section borders Taita Taveta County. Tana River County has a short coastline which cuts off Lamu County from Kilifi County. The eastern and north-eastern border of Tana River County borders Garissa County while a section on its northern border borders Isiolo County.
Getting to Tana River County
By Road: Tana River county lies around 280km Northwest of Nairobi. The County can be accessed by road through Thika, Mwingi road passing through Kyuso village. The Adamson’s bridge across the Tana River joins the Park with Meru National Park. The park has a road network.
By Air :Hola Airport- located in the town of Hola, close to the Indian Ocean coast and to the International border with Somalia . Its location is approximately 345 kilometers , by air, east of Nairobi International Air port . The Airport is a small civilian airport, serving Hola and surrounding communities with a single unpaved runway 18-36 that measures 2,950 feet (900 m) long.
Major Tourist Attractions in Tana River County
Kora National Park
Kora National Park was Gazetted in 1973 as a reserve and attained national park status in 1990. This triangle of dense woodland and scrub has as its northern boundary 65km of the Tana River, which begins in the highlands of the Aberdares and Mount Kenya to flow 700km to the Indian Ocean. The western boundary follows a straight line from the Tana River to Mwingi National Reserve. The eastern boundary runs along Mwitamyisi River. The park has several rocky inselbergs, the highest of which are Mansumbi at 488 metres and Kumbulanwa at 450,metres. The park has several seasonal rivers.
Kora National Park is also home of the legendary Bwana Simba aka George Adamson of the Born Free fame, Simba had his camp at the base of the 442-metre-high Kora Rock. George Adamson’s grave and the annual commemoration of George Adamson on 20th August (he was shot by the Shifta bandits in 1989) fishing in River Tana.
Tana River Primates Reserve.
Tana River Primate National Reserve is a 170 square kilometers national wildlife reserve . Most of the area of Tana River is semi-arid Savanna with about 13 square kilometres small patches of riverine forest
Tana River National Reserve was set aside to protect the swapy forests of the Lower Tana River and two endangered primates, the Tana River Mangabey and the Tana River Red Colubus. The endangered primates inhabit sixteen patches of forest which extends for 60 km down the meandering lower Tana River, between Nkanjonja and Mitapini
In 2005, more than 250 families of farmers were relocated 90 km away to the coastal community of Kipini. In 2007, the High Court of Kenya ruled that the reserve had not been properly established according to Kenyan law. As a result, the reserve was degazetted, removing official protection of the area.
Over 600 plant species have been identified, including the endangered Cynometra lukei and Gonatopus marattioides. . It’s a home of 57 species of mammals i.e. zebras gazelles hippos lion giraffes and crocodiles.
Coastal Public Beaches and Coral Reefs
The county, among st the five with a coastline has the shortest of the coastline share. Therefore there has not been a lot of investment yet in hotels, resorts and beaches industry along its short coastline.
The Tana delta area supports many tens of thousands of wetland birds and is internationally important for the survival of no less than 22 species of birds “…making the delta one of the key sites in the country for waterbird conservation” (BirdLife International)
Lodges and Resorts
Kipini Tana River Lodge, Delta Dunes Lodge, Che Shale Hotel, Kipini Conservancy House.
other attraction sites include
- Pristine wilderness
- Sand Dunes
- Grand Falls
- Riverine Forest
- Kora rapids
- George Adamson’s grave and that of his brother Terence and favorite lion, Boy.
- Game drives
- rock climbing
The above listed contribute to making Tana River County one of the most ecologically diverse habitats and a tourist attraction in the country. The county has the potential to its wildlife and visitor attraction assets as leverage to improve the livelihoods of its people. These assets include the rare primates and aquatic animals at the Tana Delta, beach tourism along the Indian Ocean, water sports and game fishing.