Arawale National Reserve is a 533 sq km designated conservation area which lies in Garissa county 77 km south of Garissa town. The reserve was gazetted in 1973. It borders Tana River to the East and the Garissa-Lamu road to the west, 40 km upstream from Tana River Primate National Reserve.

Arawale National Reserve was set up with the primary motive of protecting a rare antelope species and the world’s endangered antelope, the Hirola or Hunter’s hartebeest, unique to this region. It has a rich and diverse birdlife and endemic plant species.

When to Go

One can visit the reserve throughout the year but the best time is from January and February as well as from June to October.

What to Do

Although Arawale National Reserve, one of Kenya’s remote national parks, has suffered poaching, there is still wildlife. Game viewing, bird watching, taking guided nature walks around the park’s trails, camping and picnics are some of the activities you can do in the park.

The wet season is the ideal time for bird watching when residential birds are breeding.

Major Attractions

Landscape: Arawale has a dry thorn-bush savannah landscape.

Wildlife: Arawale National Reserve is a critical refuge for a range of wildlife species including four globally threatened species: hirola or Hunter’s hartebeest, Grevy’s zebra, East African wild dog, and East African cheetah. The reserve is also a sanctuary to other wildlife such as the African bush elephant, giraffe, lesser kudu, buffalo, hippo, and crocodile.

A variety of bird species, both migratory and residential, have been spotted at the reserve mainly near the splendid Tana river.

Getting There and Away

By Road: You can reach Arawale National Reserve either from Nairobi or from the coast. Mombasa is approximately 250 kilometers and Malindi 130 kilometers by road.

By Air: Tourists can also use domestic chartered flights that fly to Malindi and Mombasa.

Park Size

533 sq. Km

Travel Tips

Visiting Arawale requires a 4WD since there are no tracks within or leading to the reserve.

Accommodation Tips

There is no accommodation – lodging or tented camps – available at the reserve. The nearest hotels are in Garissa, northward, and Garsen, southward, but both towns are quite far away from Arawale.