Game viewing prospects in Dodori National Reserve

Buffaloes are among wildlife found in Dodori National Reserve in Lamu County
Buffaloes are among wildlife found in Dodori National Reserve in Lamu County

Lamu County Government in Kenya is set to introduce game viewing in the Dodori National Reserve.

The 877-square kilometre reserve in Lamu County encompasses an important woodland and forest area that historically supported large population of lions, elephants, buffaloes and coastal topi.

Dodori National Reserve has been recognized globally as an important cultural heritage area and a prized conservation site by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Conservation International,World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Lamu Governor, Issa Timamy, says his County Government is holding talks with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in a bid to introduce game drives in the reserve.

He points out that despite Dodori forest endowed with large population of wildlife, the KWS is yet to open up the reserve to game watching.

Timamy says the County intends to introduce game drives in the reserve once they get authorization from the KWS.

The introduction of safari in the reserve, he added, would enable tourists coming to Lamu for leisure enjoy game drives.

“Over the years, Lamu has been depending on beaches, monuments and culture but soon we want to add safari as our new tourism product,” he said.

“Visitors to the archipelago will have a chance of watching wildlife just within the County for them to save costs of travelling far away for game viewing.”

This, he noted, would help revive tourism in Lamu and help create jobs and economic growth.

Together with Kiunga Marine National Reserve also in Lamu County, Dodori National Reserve was named a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Man and Biosphere Reserve in 1980.

A rare Africa’s forest antelope, Aders’ duiker is endemic to the reserve and the Kenya Wildlife Service and Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust’s survey established that Dodori forest was a stronghold for Aders’ duiker population.

Dodori hosts a vegetal diversity mainly consisting of coastal and riverine forests, mangroves, swampy grasslands and savannah.

Away from the rivers and channels, impenetrable thornbush is scattered with gigantic baobabs.

At the Dodori coastal area, waterholes are frequently visited by gazelles, antelopes and waterbirds.

Common herbivores include hippopotamus, bushpig, warthog, buffalo, topi and waterbuck.

Dodori forest harbor densities of plant species that are among the highest in the world and they have been declared biodiversity hotspots.

The reserve also has bird species characteristic of the coastal forests of eastern Africa including globally threatened species such as Sokoke Pipit.

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