Mwea National Reserve

The Mwea National Reserve is a nature reserve in Kenya with its altitude ranging between 1,000 and 1,100 m dominated by the Acacia-Commiphora bushland on the north shore of Kamburu Reservoir at the confluence of Tana and Thiba Rivers. The other vegetation is mixed among the scattered large trees acacia species and baobab species typically savannah ecosystem. The open grasslands are dominant along the main rivers with occasional thick undergrowth and a riparian or riverine woodland.

The reserve’s game species include; African elephants, lesser kudus, Nile crocodiles, giraffes, giants’ zebras, buffalos, African leopards, common duikers, bushbucks, waterbucks, squirrels, warthogs, bush pigs, impalas, hartebeest, yellow baboons and a lot more.

The reserve is also known for its water birds and waders and over 200 species of birds have been recorded in the reserve and it is warranted as an important bird area. The reserve is the only protected area in which the globally threatened and Kenya-endemic hinde’s babbler is known to occur. Mwea National Reserve also shelters two other rare species namely; the Pel’s fishing owl and the white- backed night heron.  The Malagasy pond heron is also a common sighting.

The reserve also consists of seven campsites namely; Mbogo, Silvester, Mavuria, Kyangosi, Hippo-Point, Kanyonga and Githechu. Activities in this reserve include; game viewing, boat rides at Kamburu dam, hippo sighting at Hippo Point, bird watching and walking in walking circuit.

Top Activities at Mwea national reserve

Game viewing

Mwea national reserve is a home to animals namely; stripped ground squirrels, Genet, black backed jackals, rock hyraxes, yellow baboons, water bucks, zebras, buffalos, bush bucks, African leopards, African elephants, impalas, lesser kudus, common duikers, Nile crocodiles, giraffes, bush pigs, water bucks, Sykes monkey, warthogs and hartebeest to mention a few. These game drives give you a clear watch of animals in the park and the activity is best done in the 4×4 wheeled vehicles where you will have a scenic view of the park and animals with uses of binoculars and cameras.

Bird watching

Mwea national reserve is a home to over 200 bird species and some of the birds are endemic to this area. Some of birds seen include; Hinde’s babbler, Pe’ls fishing owl, Malagasy pond heron, white-backed night heron among others. These birds can be spotted during the game drives and nature walks in the reserve which calls for tourists to move with their binoculars and cameras during their safaris.

Boat riding

Tourists at Mwea reserve can have a thrilling experience at Kamburu dam and see many water birds, beautiful sceneries and lots of hippos coming close to their boat. Boat riding gives you a good view for water animals like crocodiles, hippos, and other animals around the dam, vegetations and birds.


Mwea national reserve has got several campsites making camping one of the best ways to feel close to the wild than even spending a night in a luxury hotel. The reserve has seven campsites namely; Githechu camp, Sylvester camp, Kyangosi camp, Kanyonga camp, Mbogo camp and Hippo point camp and these camps always provide all  basic needs for your Safari to be memorable.

Nature guided walks

There are a variety of walking trails that have been created to suit your walking safari with animals sighting points with an escort of a tour guide and park rangers in the greenery, and forests of the reserve. This activity is most cases done during morning hours when the weather is fresh and animals are active. Nature walks most cases include birding activities and cultural encounters depending on your choices.


The best way to explore the reserve is on a one planned picnic trip and although it’s small, it can actually be explored within two hours, there are a number of picnic sites put in place where you can enjoy your lunch from with greater views of nature, and in the evening, you will enjoy a sunset moment in the grasslands of the park.

How to get to Mwea national reserve

By road

Mwea national reserve can be accessed from Nairobi via Thika road and the journey always lasts for about three hours and its 200km from Nairobi. There is also an optional and bear route tourist can use via Embu route instead of Thika. This is the best means used which gives you a comfortable and fresh air of the road during your drive through different roads and routes.

By air

Mwea national reserve can be accessed with flights through an airstrip near the reserve called masinga airstrip for those who prefer travelling by ddair making it also easy to reach the reserve to those who have a tight itinerary.

Accommodation in Mwea national reserve

The national reserve is surrounded by seven camping sites with camping facilities giving you the perfect experience in the reserve. The campsites include; Githechu camp, Sylvester camp, Kyangosi camp, Kanyonga camp, Mbogo camp and Hippo point camp. These are suited inside the reserve making you experience the cold fresh airs of the park, close animals, and also enjoy the beautiful sounds of the birds in the reserve. However, tourists may choose to sleep outside the reserve in hotels and lodges which are also found around the reserve that give you the best services in order to enjoy your safaris ranging from luxury, midrange and budget.

Best months to visit mwea national reserve.

Best time to visit the reserve is the dry season which is the best for viewing the wildlife from July to March. April June is the rainy season with muddy trails and more challenges for seeing the animals. Visitors can watch the migration unfold during July and August and operating Hours include from 06:00 am to 06:00 pm daily.