Saiwa Swamp national park
Saiwa Swamp national park is located in the Rift Valley province of Kenya in Trans-Nzoia country near Kitale, Saiwa Swamp national park is the smallest park among Kenya’s national parks with a coverage of 3 sq km (1.2 sq mi). the park is best destination for nature lovers with green forest covered with exotic flower, birds and variety of tree species, aquatic plants, fringing dense rushes, grass and many others. Though the park is rarely visited it boosts for its famous tourist attraction the nearly extinct endangered gazelle called the Sitatunga antelopes. Saiwa Swamp national park is also home to land species and water bird species like lesser jacana, grey heron, Hartlaub’s marsh widow bird, collared, Yellow bishop, African black duck, Narina trogons, Noisy Ross’ turaco, Gonolek, Ludher’s bush shrike, double toothed barbet perch, cinnamon-chested bee-eater abound, crowned cranes, orange-tufted sunbird. The rare De Brazza’s monkey species, white and black colobus monkeys, blue monkeys are also hosted in the park, bushbucks, bohor reedbuck, water buck.
Saiwa River works as the main drainage system in the park. Amazing walking trails which surround the park pass through incredible riverine forest, savannah woodlands with Africa’s famous acacia trees.
Saiwa Swamp national park was gazetted in 1974 mainly to protect the sitatunga antelopes under the mana
Attractions in Saiwa Swamp national park
The main wildlife specie in the park and main tourist attraction id the semi-aquatic sitatunga antelopes. other species include herbivores like defassa waterbuck, bohor reedbuck, bushbucks among others. Primates are also in the park like black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys easily spotted along the trail, vervet monkeys spotted close to entrance and the rare Brazza’s monkeys gazed at along the swamp edges.
Saiwa Swamp national Park is home to variety of wildlife species especially the aquatic species like grey heron, lesser jacana, African black duck to mention but a few, forest bird species are also hosted in the park like colored sun bird, Narina Tragons, Coucal Stork, Yellow Bishop, Ross’ turaco’s, Qonolek, Cormorant, Hamerkop, Crane, Flycatcher, Black Goshawk, Wahlberg’s Eagle these birds can best be spotted at from the Forest trail.
Plant Species/ Flora
The park is covered with tropical wetlands, acacia woodlands, riverine forest with dense rushes and grass beds, the Kenyan loveliest terrestrial orchids are also found in the park like the comet orchid, greny-white flowers fading to peach.
A number of insects are in the park including dragonflies, Butterflies namely swallowtails, charaxes among others, African mocker swallowtail, Papillion Dardanes, Ant swamp can be seen at the forest floor.
Reptiles and Amphibians
Saiwa Swamp national park is home to various reptiles and Reptiles with in its swamps and forests, these species will be viewed by visitors at the park such as frogs and toads abound like tree frogs trilling, piping after rainstorms. forest species like Bell’s hinged tortoise, blue-headed tree agama lizard these can be spotted while crossing through your path, Snakes are also located in the park African rocky python, forest cobras etc. side-stripped chameleons can be spotted on your hike through the forest because they are very common here.
Activities in Saiwa Swamp national park
The park is home to different bird species, over 370 species are recorded in the park such as wonders. The birds are best viewed at the watchtower across the park giving rewarding views of the birdlife in the area.
Sitatunga Antelope Spotting
These endangered rare species are protected in the park and can easily be spotted as they duck in and out of the Swamp from observation spots, this is very rewarding and interesting to carry out as you gaze at these nearly extinct wildlife species in the park.
Nature guided walks
Visitors can take a nature walk in to the forest and experience, its nature and wilderness on foot, you will have a close encounter with some wildlife species, birds, plant species among others, this activity is guided by those that know the forest trails best. Hike to the swamp and view different landscapes, bulrushes, reeds, sedges, wooden grassland, tropical forest among others.
Best time to visit Saiwa national park
Saiwa Swamp national park is accessible all year round, but just like other Kenya national parks the best time to visit the park is in the dry season in the months of December to March. the wet months of April to August when the rains are heavy it makes accessing the park difficult.
Accommodations in Saiwa national park
The park has accommodations ranging from budget, Mid-range to luxury with hospitable staff and safe environment like tree top hotel, Sirikwa Tented Camp, Aturukan resort, Crane have, Mid Africa hotel, sleep well guest house to mention but a few.
Saiwa swamp national park location
The park can be accessed by both Road and Flight.
The park is just 22 km from Kitale town, on reaching Kipsaina junction drive for 5 km on a murram road as shown on saiwa swamp national park maptaking you to the park’s only entrance the Saiwa gate.
Take a flight from Nairobi to and fall on the Kitale airstrip near the park and drive for 27 km to the park.