A Lost Treasure, Tana River Primate National Reserve.

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One of Kenya’s least visited but most intriguing wildlife destinations, the Tana River National Primate Reserve, runs for about 35km (20 miles) along the forested course of the country’s largest waterway, some 50km (30 miles) north of Garsen. Gazetted in 1976, this reserve is the only known home of the Tana River red colobus and Tana mangabey, a pair of Critically Endangered monkey species whose closest evolutionary relatives live hundreds of kilometres away. The term mangabey can refer to three different genera of Old World monkeys. Lophocebus and Cercocebus were once thought to be very closely related, so much so that all the species were in one genus. However, it is now understood that the species within genus Lophocebus are more closely related to the baboons in genus Papio, while the species within genus Cercocebus are more closely related to the Mandrill. The single species in Rungwecebus was discovered recently.

The area also supports the endangered hirola and is the only known locality for two birds, the Tana river cisticola and nominate race of the white-winged apalis, which have not been observed for so long they may well be extinct. Recorded bird species there number 262, and at least 57 species of mammals live there. There are several endemic tree species as well as a variety of other animals and plants. Many of the bird and animal species in the reserve are unusual in East Africa, being typical of Central Africa’s lowland rainforest. The white-winged apalis is extremely rare. The African openbill stork, martial eagle, bat hawk, African pygmy-falcon, African barred owlet, scaly babbler, black-bellied glossy-starling, and golden pipit are also rare.

The Tana river ecosystem had for thousands of years supported a wide range of animals are the river that cuts through dry woodland and open savannah provided the most vital part of it all, the flowing water. However after years of uncertainty 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−disestablished, removing all official protection of the area and its National Reserve status and funding, it was a big blow to nature lover like me.

The incredible diversity of landscapes, cultures, wildlife and activities mean endless opportunities for visitors to Kenya. Kenya offers a diverse range of environments all within relatively close proximity to one another, and has an excellent domestic travel infrastructure. The Tana River reserve is a rich diversity of wildlife means that no two experiences in the wild are ever the same. Visitors to Kenya can experience and see completely different things. In a single trip to Kenya, you can visit tropical forests, beautiful beaches, and deserts, climb mountains and explore the wild. In Kenya, it is possible to plan a safari that blends adventure and relaxation, luxury and natural simplicity, social experiences and solitude.

In Kenya, you can experience a different safari every day at the least; my story is simple I had never traveled alone before, and never for more than two weeks at a time. I had no life experience, little common sense, and had never eaten rice or been on a bus. I suffered from debilitating anxiety, was battling an eating disorder. Like a lot of people, I hoped that travel would solve everything. I was convinced my trip would be all about incredible, life-changing moments; ones full of sunsets and rainbows and meaningful experiences. Instead, I stumbled headfirst into disaster.

Over the past five years of travel, I’ve have seen it all the never ending footsteps, I show that transformation through travel is possible, even when you feel like you’re the unluckiest traveler in the world. Travel transformed my life. I hope that your will be changes as well.

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