Mwea national reserve was gazetted in 1976. It covers an area of 42 square kilometers of calm, tranquil and populous landscape, just 200 kilometers from Nairobi. The reserve is dominated by the Acacia-Commiphora bushland on the north shore of Kamburu Reservoir, at the confluence of Tana and Thiba Rivers. Thick bush and scattered trees, including baobab Adansonia digitata, line the waterfront.  Richer scrub and woodland line seasonal rivers and streams. Sesbania forms a broad, fairly dense cover on flood-plains, especially the northern part of the Thiba. Mwea National Reserve is today co-managed between Kenya Wildlife Service and Mbeere County Council. Mwea National Reserve Trust was founded in 1991 with the aim of soliciting funds to develop the reserve.  



The climate in Mwea national reserve is Semi-arid with an annual rainfall of 510-760 mm per annum.



The savannah ecosystem in Mwea reserve 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 this ecosystem are the different Acacia species and baobab trees.  The ecosystem’s main features are the meeting point of rivers Tana and Thiba, Kamburu and Masinga hydro-electric dams which harbor variety of biodiversity.



Major wildlife attractions in Mwea National Reserve 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 squirrels and many more.

This area is also rich in birdlife with over 200 species recorded to date hence an Important Bird Area (IBA). The reserve is the only protected area in which the globally threatened and Kenya-endemic Hinde’s babbler (Turdoides hindei) is known to occur. Mwea National Reserve also shelters two other rare species; the Pel’s fishing owl (Scotopelia peli) and the white-backed night heron (Gorsachius leuconotus). The Malagasy pond heron (Ardeola idae) is also a common sighting.



  • Bird Watching – Bird watching in Mwea national reserve is rewarding to bird lovers. It is home to over 200 bird species some of which are endemic to this area including; Hindes babbler, Pels fishing owl, Malagasy  pond heron and white backed night Heron.
  • Game Viewing – Animals spotted on a game drive in this reserve include; 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 just to mention a few.
  • Boat riding – Tourists at Mwea reserve can have a thrilling experience at Kamburu dam and see many water birds, beautiful sceneries and see lots of hippos on a boat.
  • Camping – Mwea national reserve has got various public and private campsites. Camping is one of the best ways to feel close to the wild than even spending a night in a luxury hotel. The reserve has got seven campsites namely; Githechu camp, Sylvestercamp, Kyangosi camp, Kanyonga camp, Mbogo camp and Hippo – point camp. These camps always provide all the basic needs for your Safari to be memorable.
  • Guided Nature walks – There are a variety of nature trails that have been created to suit your walking safari with animals sighting points.
  • Picnics – You can explore the reserve on a planned picnic trip which takes approximately two hours. There are a number of picnic sites put in place where you can enjoy your lunch from with greater views of nature.



There are no lodges, tented camps or self-catering accommodation options in Mwea Reserve. Masinga Lodge is located at Masinga Dam outside the Reserve. The reserve has seven campsites: Mbogo, Silvester, Mavuria, Kyangosi, Hippo-Point, Kanyonga and Githechu.