Saiwa Swamp national park is located near Kitale, in Trans- Nzoia County, Rift Valley Province, Kenya. It is the smallest national park in Kenya, only 3km2, and was created as a habitant for the Sitatunga, a rare aquatic antelope. There are a variety of trees at the national park, Saiwa swamp national park is the smallest tour destination park in Kenya, a sanctuary of the antelope and packed with a lot of wildlife to explore from plants, birds, insects and reptiles, it basically protects a swamp fed by the Saiwa River, which provides shelter for a viable population of the rare sitatunga antelope. There are several observation towers overlooking the swamp, and with some patience, sightings are almost guaranteed to thrill while on Kenya Safaris. The park is only accessible on foot no vehicle is allowed inside the park.
Attractions in Saiwa Swamp national park.
Flora/ plants species.
Within this tropical wetlands and mosaic of riverine forest, sedges and acacia woodlands, with fringing dense rushes and grass beds, are some of the Kenya’s loveliest terrestrial orchids. The bronze and purple eulophia horsfallii, the fleshy pink satyrium crassicaule and crimson satyruim sacculatum orchids abound, including the comet orchid, with greny- white flowers afding to peach. Epiphtic fems flourish.
The Saiwa Swamp is exceptionally rich in dragonflies and damselfies. Butterflies include the swallowtails and charaxes. The African mocker swallowtail, Papillion Dardanus, is very common after the rains; ants swam the forest floor.
Reptiles and Amphibians.
Frogs and toads, with many different kinds of tree frogs and piping after rainstorms. Bells’ hinged tortoise, a forest- dwelling species, is found in the park and the blue- headed tree agama lizard is sure to cross your path. Snakes include the forest cobra and African rock python. As you follow the trails, watch for a side- stripped chameleon. They are common, but easy to overlook due to their excellent camouflage.
Bird life is abundant, water birds include the lesser jacana, grey heron and African black duck among others. The forest shelters the Narina trogons, one of the Kenya’s most spectacular forest birds. Watch for the collard and orange-tufted sunbird, sipping nectar from the flowers of the forest edge, the Yellow bishop often whirrs above the reeds, its blazing yellow back on display. Hatlaub’s marsh widow bird also frequents the rushes, Noisy Ross’s turaco’s are difficult to miss, Gonolek are easy to see along the trails, Ludher’s bush- shrike is much shier while the square-tailed drongo and the double toothed barbet perch in the lower branches of forest tress. Cinnamon- chested bee- eaters abound, as do crowned cranes, especially when the surrounding farms ploughed or harvested.
Wildlife and animal species.
The semi- aquatic sitatunga antelopes are the main attractions of the park. Other species of herbivores can also be seen such as the defassa water buck, bohor reedbuck and bushbuck. There are also variety of primate species to be spotted in the canopy such as the white and black colobus and blue monkeys are common along the trail, then vervet monkeys are often seen close to the entrance. The rare de Brazza’s monkey are seen along the swamp edges.
Activities done in Saiwa Swamp national park.
Sitatunga Antelope Spotting.
Sitatunga Antelope are the highest and the highlight attraction of the park, which can be easily spotted from the observation points as they duck in and out of the swamps to feed and evade been preyed on.
The park is a home for different bird species with over 370 birds since it is a wetland area which are supportive and habitant to huge number of birds, such as the wonders. The watchtowers across the park make gainful views for bird watching points.
The guests who wish the nature dream for photographer’s come true visit Saiwa Swamp national park. The viewing platforms offers rewardable views over the parks wetlands, to the canopies where buzzing butterflies, insects as well as birds catch your attention.
Saiwa Swamp national park is among the few Kenya national park that allows to carry out walking safari in the park as an activity, in the park, the cars are left in the parking, then set off to adventure one of the country’s pristine wetland o foot.
The park has got several picnic points located at intervals along the walkways and trails.
Camping in Saiwa Swamp national park is truly rewarding as you can experience a night in the wild. Enjoy a restful night by the chattering of flirty monkeys and piping frogs and toads, the morning attracts you with sweet melodies of birds as you rest in the observation platforms to watch beautiful African sunrise as it majestically peeks over the horizon.
The park is covered with the tropical wetland’s, its landscape is composed of swamp vegetation like bulrushes, reeds, sedge, wooden grassland, tropical forest with exotic banana trees and the wild fig trees.
Nature guided walks.
Tourists can take nature walks along the trees with a cool canopy whole bird watching and viewing game, plant species and many more.
The swamp has a mixture of animals like the bushbucks, water bucks, Otters, Genet cats, white colobus monkey, black colobus monkey, mongoose, De Brazza monkey, giant forested squirrel, grey duiker and Sitatunga antelopes among others.
Best time to visit Saiwa Swamp national park.
The park can be visited during anytime of the year, but you will probably appreciate the environment more in the dry season (December and March), this is also when the migratory birds are passing through, and when offspring of the local sitatunga antelope appear.
Entrance Fees of Saiwa Swamp National Park.
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Where to stay in Saiwa Swamp national park.
Saiwa Swamp national park has got various accommodation units that are in the categories of the budget, mid-range and the luxury accommodation which are comfortable and reliable that is tree top hotel, Sirikwa Tented Camp other accommodation units can be found at the Kitale town like Muremba retreat Kitale, Aturukan and among others.
How to get to Saiwa Swamp national park.
The can be reached in two ways from Nairobi to inside the Saiwa Swamp National park.
By Road. The distance to Saiwa Swamp national park takes a distance of 22 kilometers, then at Kipsaina junction covers 5 kilometers ‘’marram’’ road to access the park entrance gate ‘’ Saiwa gate’’. This is the best way you can enjoy the country side with all the greenery and animals.
By Air. Here the traveler can book a domestic flight from Wilson Airport which can be booked by the help of a tour operator to fly you to Park’s Airstrip called Kitale Airstrip which site 27 kilometers away from the park.
Saiwa Swamp national park is a veritable haven for nature lovers, the park is a forested paradise filled with exotic flowers, trees and birds. It is also the habitant of the rare and endangered semi- aquatic Sitatunga antelope and as a preserve for the rare De Brazza’s monkey.