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Tana River County: The sleeping giant of Coastal tourism

The Adamson Falls Bridge on Tana River that connects Meru National Park to Kora National Park (Photo: Jeckonia Otieno) 

It is said to be the sleeping giant of Coastal tourism.

This is Tana River County which covers an area of 38,436.9 square kilometers.

In an interview with Weekend Business, Mr Abdulkadir Sirad, the Chief Officer in the department of Trade, Tourism and Industry revealed that the region has entered into mutual cooperation with neighbouring counties so as to tap into the high tourism potential they all have.

He said that the county is lagging behind in development due to the poor infrastructure and affected the growth of tourism and related industries.

He, however, says under the stewardship of Governor Hussein Dado, the region has made great strides in overcoming critical challenges and is now set to face competition from other havens in the Kenyan Coast tourism circuit.

‘’Tana River County is an expansive area with huge tracts of land that make its tourism circuits too large,’’ he said.

The county hosts the Kora National Park, home of the legendary Bwana Simba (George Adamson of the Born Free fame).

Bwana Simba had his camp at the base of the 442-metre-high Kora Rock. Gazetted in 1973 as a reserve, Kora National Park attained national park status in 1990.

Seasonal rivers

This triangle of dense woodland and scrub has as its northern boundary 65 kilometre of the Tana River, which begins in the highlands of the Aberdares and Mount Kenya to flow 700-kilometre to the Indian Ocean.

The western boundary follows a straight line from the Tana River to Mwingi National Reserve. The eastern boundary runs along Mwitamyisi River.

The park has several rocky inselbergs, the highest of which are Mansumbi at 488 metres and Kumbulanwa at 450, metres.

The park has several seasonal rivers.

The county has entered into an agreement with their Kitui counterparts and the George Adamson Foundation and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in a joint fund raising bid to help secure Kora National Park.

They have agreed to contribute Sh20 million each to put up an electric fence round the park.

‘’Herders have been invading the conservation area in search of pasture drawing a direct conflict with conservationists,’’ he said.

He further notes that while KWS is offering round-the-clock security at the primate park, the county government is in talks with the Gulf States with a view to investing in construction of lodges within the conservation area.

He opines that both the national and county governments are not sitting pretty.

He says there up–to–the–minute security surveillance to ensure there is the much needed peace the region requires.

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