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Boni National Reserve (l,339 sq km - 517 sq miles)

Location: Lamu District, bordered on the north-east by Somalia and by the Indian Ocean on the east.
Altitude: 0 - 100 metres (0 - 328 feet)
First opened: 1976

Best reached by dhow from the sea or by air to the reserve's landing strip, this can be a long drive by road and has been little visited since troubles began in war-stricken Somalia which country forms the whole length of the reserve's northern boundary.

Road access -- and a 4WD vehicle is essential in the park --would be from Garissa via Bura, down along the Arawale National Reserve's western border, to Ijara and Bodhei, turning left at Bodhei to Mangai on the northern border of the Dodori National Reserve. From there the road continues on to Kiunga on the coast and Kenya's coastal village of Dar-es-Salaam (not Dar-es-Salaam the capital of Tanzania) on Boni's eastern coastal extremity.

The only coastal lowland groundwater forest in Kenya with lowland dry bush and grasslands in its drier parts, Boni was created as a forest sanctuary for elephants and sees concentrations of them in the dry season. It is home also to buffalo, the east-coast topi (Damaliscus korrigum) giraffe, gerenuk and two species of duiker, Harvey's (Cephalophus harveyi) and Ader's (Cephalophus adersi).

It was in the Boni Forest, when he was a game warden in pursuit of poachers, that George Adamson and his brother Terence came across the dead-drunk body of an old African man whose leg had been swallowed up to the groin by a large python which had come to a stop there and unable to get any further in gorging the old man whole. They shot the snake with a revolver, pulled it off the old man's leg and wrapped it round his still unconscious body and went on their way, leaving him to contemplate on what had happened to him when he emerged from his stupor.

Returning now to the realities of the present day, there is no accommodation inside the reserve but interesting visits for small groups of keen naturalists to both Boni and Dodori can be made through the Kenya Wildlife Service. Contact the Regional Assistant Director, KWS, Marsabit.


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