Dodori national reserve is a protected area managed by Kenya wildlife service in Lamu East Lamu County at the Coastal region of Kenya. It was gazetted in 1976 and there are covers area of 877 km². It is 477 kilometres from Nairobi and 292 kilometres from the Coastal city of Mombasa. Dodori reserve is named after the river ending in the Indian Ocean at Dodori Creek, a breeding place for dugongs. It encompasses an important woodland and forest area that historically supported large populations of wildlife, including elephants, lions, and buffaloes. Dodori hosts a vegetal diversity mainly consisting of coastal and riverine forests, mangroves, swampy grasslands and savannah

It lies in a region synonymous with tourism in the world and a region that has been recognized globally as an important cultural heritage area and a prized conservation site by international organizations such as the IUCN, Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund, among others. Together with the nearby Kiunga Marine National Reserve, the Dodori National Reserve was named a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve in 1980.

Lamu Old Town, located on an island known by the same name on the coast of East Africa some 350km north of Mombasa, is the oldest and best preserved example of Swahili settlement in East Africa.

With a core comprising a collection of buildings on 16 ha, Lamu has maintained its social and cultural integrity, as well as retaining its authentic building fabric up to the present day. Once the most important trade centre in East Africa, Lamu has exercised an important influence in the entire region in religious, cultural as well as in technological expertise. A conservative and close-knit society, Lamu has retained its important status as a significant centre for education in Islamic and Swahili culture as illustrated by  the annual Maulidi and cultural festivals.

Unlike other Swahili settlements which have been abandoned along the East African coast, Lamu has continuously been inhabited for over 700 years.

The growth and decline of the seaports on the East African coast and interaction between the Bantu, Arabs, Persians, Indians, and Europeans represents a significant cultural and economic phase in the history of the region which finds its most outstanding expression in Lamu Old Town, its architecture and town planning.

The town is characterized by narrow streets and magnificent stone buildings with impressive curved doors, influenced by unique fusion of Swahili, Arabic, Persian, Indian and European building styles. The buildings on the seafront with their arcades and open verandas provide a unified visual impression of the town when approaching it from the sea. While the vernacular buildings are internally decorated with painted ceilings, large niches madaka small niches zidaka, and pieces of Chinese porcelain. The buildings are well preserved and carry a long history that represents the development of Swahili building technology, based on coral, lime and mangrove poles.

The architecture and urban structure of Lamu graphically demonstrate the cultural influences that have come together over 700 hundred years from Europe, Arabia, and India, utilizing traditional Swahili techniques that produced a distinct culture. The property is characterized by its unique Swahili architecture that is defined by spatial organization and narrow winding streets. This labyrinth street pattern has its origins in Arab traditions of land distribution and urban development. It is also defined by clusters of dwellings divided into a number of small wards (mitaa) each being a group of buildings where a number of closely related lineages live.

Dodori National Reserve
Dodori National Reserve

The Dodori National Reserve lies in lamu a town that greatly depends on tourism but for the past few years it had been greatly affected by a terror group Al shabaab in Somalia who started kidnapping tourists. on 16 October 2011, Kenyan troops entered Somalia to launch a military offensive against al-Shabaab after the successful military operation the town has  come back to its normalcy.

Dodori National Reserve  was established to protect an antelope called the Lamu topi, as this area is a major breeding ground and has the largest population to be found in Kenya. Dodori’s sea wildlife could be watched from the nearby Kiwayu Safari Village, a rustic luxury secluded beach lodge located in Kiwayu island close to Lamu and Kiunga Marine Reserve.

Attractions of Dodori national reserve


Although it is the least visited game reserve in Kenya, Dodori National Game reserve is famous for its large population of topis than elsewhere in Kenya national park or national reserve. other species to see here on your game tour includes the lesser kudus, greater kudus, elephants, adder’s duiker, gazelles, zebras, sea turtles’ lions, leopards, sea cows, and dudongs. Making it a unique safari destinations.

Bird watching

Dodori national reserve is a home to numerous aquatic birds which are commonly seen on the water areas some of the examples are Carmine bee eaters, violet breasted sunbird, blue hooded kingfisher, southern banded harrier eagle, honey buzzard, brown breasted barbet, palmnut vulture mentioned but few.

Culture tour

The reserve sits on the coastal areas of Kenya and surrounded by coastal people who have rich history about their towns and slavery, visit the people and get to known their way of life and their history would make you to stay for long as you also buy some gifts from the crafts shops for remembrance.

How to get there

Dodori national game reserve is estimated 280 kilometres north of Mombasa. The creek can be reached by water through a boat. Dodori national reserve and Boni national reserve are bordered to each other and they were both established as a protected area in 1976, Boni sits in North eastern province,Garissa County.

The best time to visit.

The Dodori National Reserve can be accessed throughout the year  because it comprises humid and hot climate but the roads are very remote and accessing it during the rainy seasons is very challenging, it requires  a 4×4F wheel safari drive car.

Accommodations around Dodori National Reserve

There are no accommodations within the reserve though visitors can also opt for staying in the surrounding areas and accommodations such as; Mikes camp and Munira Island camp which are located about 28 kilometres away from the reserve. There are also variety of accommodations facilities ranging from midrange, economy to the most luxurious of international standards, some of them include:Melinde Hotel, Honeymoon house,Forodhani house, Southern Cross, African pearl Hotel and many more

book a gorilla trip