Saiwa Swamp National Park
Saiwa Swamp National Park is located in the rift valley province of Kenya. This national park is the smallest in Kenya and is found close to the Uganda – Kenya border northwest of Nairobi.
The national park in Kenya was created as a habitat for the protection of the sitatunga. Other wildlife species can also be seen within Saiwa swamp national park which is characterized by a variety of trees, swamps, tall bushes, reeds, sedges, acacia woodlands, and a marshy edge.
There are different viewing points for tourists to see the different wildlife species within the national park providing the tourists with a unique wildlife experience in Saiwa swamp national park. This national park is managed by Kenya Wildlife Services who make sure that the wildlife species are safe from poachers and the national park is practicing conservation as well as protecting the flora and fauna in the national park.
The Saiwa river flows through the park in the wetlands and through the riverine forest which is also a habitat for the wildlife species which can be seen in the national park.
Different wildlife viewing points are available within Saiwa swamp national park which makes the wildlife viewing experience easier due to the elevation of these viewing points. Different boardwalks are available leading to the wildlife viewing points.
Saiwa swamp national park can be accessed via the Sitatunga gate, Saiwa gate.
Access to Saiwa swamp national park can be through the following ways;
- By road; about 380 km from Nairobi. No permanent roads within the national park with exception of walking trails and bridges.
- By air/ flight; Kitale airstrip. Domestic and charter flights are also available depending on the preference and convenience of the tourists.
Attractions in Saiwa Swamp National Park
Attractions in Saiwa swamp national park include the following;
- Wildlife species include the sitatunga for which this national park is known. Other wildlife species include black and white colobus monkeys, otters, genet cats, mongoose, bushbucks, reedbuck and many others. The sitatunga known as “Nzohe” in Swahili can be seen along the swamps as they drink and they have a tendency to protect themselves from danger by swimming in the swamp though they are less swift on land due to their long legs and elongated hooves.
- Bird species can be seen easily in this national park due to the presence of the swamp which attracts many bird species and they include African fish eagle, crowned hornbill, goliath heron, grey crowned crane, pin tailed whydah, African blue flycatcher, hornbills, little rush warbler, Ross’s Turaco, brown-throated wattle eye, blue-headed coucal, and many other bird species. Migratory birds and the native birds can be sighted at this destination.
Activities in Saiwa Swamp National Park
Activities for tourists to engage in during a visit to Saiwa Swamp National Park include;
- Wildlife viewing involves moving on foot along the different trails since there are no temporary roads leading to the national park and cars are not allowed in the park. Wildlife species can be seen along with a variety of bird species which can be seen near the swamp. Wildlife species include the sitatunga, de brazza monkey, black and white colobus monkeys, grey duikers, blue and vervet monkeys, spotted neck otters, giant forest squirrel, bush back, genet cats and many other species. Many other unique features differentiate the male sitatungas from the female sitatungas such as the color of their coats. Different aspects about the sitatungas can also be studied during the wildlife viewing and other wildlife species can also be sighted and studied.
- Nature walks are very common within this national park because no roads lead into the park and the cars are parked outside the entry gate of the national park. Nature walks along the different available trails go through sedges, reeds, wooded grasslands where you will view different species such as wild figs, rare acacia trees and many others. Nature walks allow the tourists to study different aspects of the national park up close paying attention to even the tiniest species.
- Birding is a rewarding experience for a birding enthusiast in the forested area, around the swamp area and many other birding spots within the national park. Bird species which are sighted include grey heron, lesser jacana, sunbirds, egrets, grey crowned crane, black goshawk, hamerkop, yellow billed stork and many other bird species. Necessary birding equipment will be of great help during the bird viewing activity to identify the different bird species in the park and to get a satisfactory birding experience.
- Camping is also possible in Saiwa swamp national park and it provides the tourists with close interaction with nature with spectacular views of the wetland, experiencing the African sunset and sunrise and many other unique moments.
Possible accommodation in the park is classified into luxury accommodation, midrange accommodation, budget accommodation and some of the accommodation facilities include the following;
- Luxury accommodation; Aturukan resort, Sirikwa tented camp
- Midrange accommodation; Crane haven, Mid Africa hotel, Transnzoia county resort, Sleep well guest house.
- Budget accommodation; Africana yard,
Self-catering accommodation is also available within the park such as in Treetop hut. Other accommodation options are located nearby by the town of Kitale which also has a variety of accommodation facilities for the tourists to choose from that are within the vicinity of the national park.
Experience the unique African wetland environment in the park and capture exciting moments with the sitatungas while exploring the spectacular forested and swampy national park.