Ruma National Park
Ruma National Park is a protected area in Kenya dubbed as the last Retreat of Roan Antelope hosting approximately 40 individuals, Roan Antelopes are the most endangered species of antelopes and the largest of all antelopes in Africa. Ruma national park is the only terrestrial park in Kenya’s Nyanza province and a very beautiful destination for Kenya safari. This park is the only protected area in Kenya hosting the globally threatened blue swallow, blue swallow is a scarce intra – African migrant fond of living in moist grassland and they arrive in Kenya from their breeding ground in southern Tanzania around April and depart in September.
The park is situated in Suba district about 23 kilometers near Homa Bay City, 425 kilometers west of Nairobi and 10 kilometers East of Lake Victoria, this fascinating Kenya safari destination covers an area of 120 square kilometers. Ruma national park was first gazetted as Lambwe Valley Game Reserve and in 1983 it was upgraded to a national park, the park gets its name from one of Kenya’s most powerful wizard Ruma. Wizard Ruma “Gor Mahia” used to live in the area around the park.
The park habits a huge biodiversity including a huge population of wildlife and birdlife, Ruma national park has been listed among the best Kenya wildlife viewing destinations partly because the park is the only protected area in Kenya protecting the roan antelopes. Roan antelopes in Ruma national park live in a groups of about 20 members and they are headed by a bull, in each group young males are chased out as soon as they start to mature and only female youths are allowed to stay in the group permanently. Apart from roan antelopes, other animals found in this park include leopards, hyenas, Lelwel hartebeests, serval, topis, honey badgers, Rothschild giraffes, impalas, gazelles, bush pigs, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, chimpanzees, cape buffaloes, oribis, Bohors reedbucks and many more. There are also reptile living in the forests and grasslands, these include snakes such as forest cobra, African spitting cobra, python, black-mouthed mamba, eastern green mamba and puff adder. Other reptiles include gecko, lizards and skinks.
Birdlife in Ruma has been recorded to be over 400 bird species which is a reason to why this park is among the best Kenya birding destinations, birds found Speckled Pigeon, Mourning Collared-Dove, Red-eyed Dove, Ring-necked Dove, Laughing Dove, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Blue-spotted Wood-Dove, African Green-Pigeon, Threskiornithidae species such as African Sacred Ibis and Hadada Ibis, Harlequin Quail, Scaly Francolin, Red-necked Francolin, Crested Francolin, Ross’s Turaco, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Blue-spotted Wood-Dove, White-browed Coucal, Black Coucal, Levaillant’s Cuckoo, Pied Cuckoo, Dideric Cuckoo, Common Swift, Nyanza Swift, Little Swift and many more.
In Ruma, there is Thimlich Oginga Archaeological site situated in the southern region of the park, Thimlich Oginga Archaeological site is one of the most important archaeological sites in East Africa. This archaeological site holds the remains of a dry-stone enclosure of 150 meters in diameter and consists of other 5 small enclosures which are thought to date back as far as 15th century. The name of Thimlich Oginga archaeological site’s name is a Luo slag translated as “frightening dense forest”
Things to do in Ruma national park
The park is an excellent destination for Kenya game viewing which is the highlight of the park, game viewing is a very exciting Kenya safari activity offers a rewarding experience involving watching the marvelous landscapes, birds and beautiful animals living in the savannah grasslands of the park. Animals viewed on a game viewing safari in Ruma national park include roan antelopes, leopards, hyenas, Lelwel hartebeests, serval, topis, honey badgers, Rothschild giraffes, impalas, gazelles, bush pigs, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, chimpanzees, cape buffaloes, oribis, Bohors reedbucks and many more.
The park is a very recognized Kenya birding safari destination offering excellent birding opportunities, the park is a habitat to over 400 bird species including the amazing migrant blue swallows only found in this park in Kenya. Birding in Ruma offers amazing sights of many birds such as Red-eyed Dove, Ring-necked Dove, Laughing Dove, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Blue-spotted Wood-Dove, African Green-Pigeon, Threskiornithidae species such as African Sacred Ibis and Hadada Ibis, Harlequin Quail, Scaly Francolin, Red-necked Francolin, Crested Francolin, Ross’s Turaco, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove and many more.
Nature walk safari is one of the amazing Kenya safari activities offered in Ruma national park, nature walks are done on foot on numerous walking trails running in the park in guidance of an armed ranger guide. Nature walks offers a great opportunity to enjoy amazing nature of the park, watch animals such as lions, antelopes, gazelles, hartebeests and many birds such as , African Green-Pigeon, Threskiornithidae species such as African Sacred Ibis and Hadada Ibis, Harlequin Quail, Scaly Francolin, Red-necked Francolin, Crested Francolin, Ross’s Turaco, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove and many more.
The park offers amazing boat rides on the beautiful Lake Victoria, boat cruise on Lake Victoria offers a great chance to explore Lake Victoria, its calm waters and watch numerous animals and birds habiting on the shores of the lake. Wildlife sighted on the shores of Lake Victoria include crocodiles and many birds such as kingfishers, pelicans, African fish eagles and many more.
The park is a very excellent destination for Kenya camping safaris, the park consists of numerous camping sites such as Twinga and Korlango sites which are used for camping. Camping in Ruma national park offers an opportunity to interact with nature while sleeping below the scar full of star and hearing lion roars and animal voices.
Accommodation in Ruma national park
The park is situated in 24 kilometers from Homa Bay which is the nearest town to the park, the park is accessed by road and air means of transport. By road transport the mainly used route is Homa Bay – Rongo Highway of about 10 kilometers drive, while driving on this route heading to Ruma national park you make a turn right at Rodi Kompany and drive for 20 kilometers to Mirogi. From Mirogi it is a drive of 12 kilometers on a dirt road to the park’s main gate.
By air transport, domestic scheduled flights are offered from Wilson airport to Kabunde airstrip, these domestic chartered flights are operated by fly sax.
How to get to Ruma national park
There are a number of beautiful established accommodation establishments in Ruma national park offering accommodation to tourists visiting the park for a Kenya safari, accommodation in Ruma national park include oribi guest house, Korlango picnic site, Twinga Tano pack site, Hotel Hippo Buck and many more.