The Kimana Wetland Basin is located in Loitokitok District and borders Tanzania to the West, Kajiado District to the North, Kibwezi District to the East and Taveta District to the South. The area is generally arid to semi-arid with limited variations in its agro-ecological zones.
Amboseli wetland system
The Kimana wetlands are part of the larger Amboseli wetland system in a semi-arid region where a series of springs emerge in the basin from the watershed of Mount Kilimanjaro. The core of the wetlands system is Kimana group ranch, a 25,120 hectares tract of land, collectively owned by some 845 extended families of traditional Masaai pastoralists.
Water: key resource
Water is the only single critical resource dictating both the ecological and economic functions around the landscape. Apart from attracting and supplying wildlife on the move, the wetlands support the region’s core livelihood, livestock production. The area’s interconnected streams and swamplands have been increasingly drained to establish irrigated cultivation with tomatoes, onions and other vegetables being the main crops produced.
The pressure that has been imposed on them by small-scale farmers farming in the wetlands and abstracting water for irrigation, and pastoralists in search of water and pasture due to the prolonged and persistent drought has caused further degradation.
The Kimana wetlands have very high bio-diversity. In the wet season, mammals disperse out of Amboseli, move through the Kimana Sanctuary, which forms the core area of the Kimana wetlands to the Chyulu West National Park. This strategic linkage is critical to the viability of Amboseli’s elephant population and other mammals including giraffes, lions, cheetahs, zebras, jackals, and elands.