In contrast to the rich greens that characterise so much of the highlands, this reserve is set in a dry depression that is nonetheless beautiful in a stony-scarp, thorn-bush and aloe-field kind of way. Kamburu Dam, at the meeting point of the Tana and Thiba Rivers, forms the focus for the 48-sq-km reserve. Enclosed by an electric fence, elephants, hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, lesser kudu and endangered Rothschild giraffes are present here, as well as more than 200 bird species.
There’s something in Kenya we often forget to appreciate; wherever you live in this great country you are never more than a stones throw from wilderness and wildlife. One minute you’re in a 1 hr traffic jam the next minute you’re stopping to let a herd of elephants cross the road (I know, problems right?). So when i recently needed a short one night camping trip, Mwea National Reserve ticked the right boxes.
Mwea National Reserve Park is a small reserve at only 42sq km in Mbeere, Embu County. The reserve is bound by Tana river to the south while the eastern boundary conforms to Thiba river and Kamburu dam while the north boundary is marked by an electric fence that protects animals from invading nearby settlements. The reserve is co-managed by Kenya Wildlife Service and Mbeere County Council.
Route from Nairobi via Thika road, turn onto Embu Road, after 5 kms turn right (signposted) to the reserve. At 28kms turn right (a signboard is really required here), do not continue on to River Thiba. Road is graded and suitable for SUVs or 4WD. (3hrs)
For the less adventurous ( i used this route on the way out) take Thika – Garissa onto Embu – Siakago road, good tarmac all the way with great views of the Yatta Plateau. (2hrs)