The Tana River Delta, Kenya

In 2010 I was invited by the ecologists Olivier and Stephanie Hamerlynk to help them document aspects of the Pokomo and Orma communities living in the River Delta. They had carried out an intensive survey of the river over several years gathering data on the impact of dams and other development projects on the delta's eco-systems. The photographs formed part of a major exhibition launched in 2011 by Alliance Francaise in Nairobi, and later in Mombasa. The exhibition was also shown at the National Museum of Kenya in October 2011 and again was displayed for four months in the Museum's Ecology Gallery from May-August 2012.


The Tana River winding its way south of Garsen towards the Indian Ocean.

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The river and forest in the delta

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The river reaches the ocean at the southern end of the delta

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The Tana River upstream from Ozi

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Mwanja, an Orma village on a backwater in the delta

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Orma children in the Tana Delta

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Orma child carrying firewood at the cattle market, Garsen

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Danissa Village, Tana Delta

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The Hippo Pool, Tana River Delta

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Orma woman at Danissa

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Pokomo Village

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The Delta is criss-crossed by a network of river channels

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White Egret 

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Women load a boat with roofing material at Shiri Kisho

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River crossing at Shiri Kisho

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Shiri Kisho River crossing

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Orma women at Shiri Kisho

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Orma women at Shiri Kisho

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Orma women fetching water, Mwanja Village

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Orma Woman at Mwanja

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Women fetching water at Mwanja Village

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Orma girls, Mwanja village

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An Orma girl at Mwanja

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Carrying pots to wash in the river, Mwanja

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Heading downstream towards Ozi

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Mwanja Village at dawn

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At dusk children build fires with cow dung to keep tsetse flies off the cows over night, Mwanja.

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A new moon above herdsmen with their cows gathered around a cow dung fire, Mwanja

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Orma boy with goat at Danissa

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Orma woman making bead necklace.

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Orma elder at Mwanja

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Orma grandmother at Mwanja

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A young Wata girl - the Watas were the original hunter-gatherers of the Delta area

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An Orma man herds goats across an irrigation canal created for the failed rice irrigation project of the nineties

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A sluice gate and canal intended for an irrigation project.

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School girls and electricity pylons near Masinga Dam

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An elder and his cows, Mwanja

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Morning scene at Mwanja Village

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Orma woman, Mwanja Village

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An Orma woman at Mwanja

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A young Orma girl with milk gourds, Mwanja

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An Orma woman inspects her cows before milking at Mwanja

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Milking cows at Mwanja village

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Mwanja Village.

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An Orma woman milking her cow, Mwanja village

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An Orma village elder, Mwanja

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Orma cattle gathered on the flood plain, Tana Delta

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Garsen cattle market

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Street scene, Garsen

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Rounding up calves at the market, Garsen

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Orma colours in busy Garsen street.

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Buyers at the Garsen cattle market

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An Orma cattle owner

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Garsen cattle market

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Pokomo women at a village meeting to discuss land issues

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Pokomo children gather round the radio.

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Rice shamba and mangoes at a Pokomo settlement on a midstream island near Ozi

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Pokomo girl stoning birds to keep them off rice fields, 'Mango' Island, near Ozi.

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Lunch break during rice harvest.

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Pokomo woman weaving mats.

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Pokomo girls weaving mats

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A Pokomo mother and child, Tana River Delta

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