Saiwa Swamp National Park is too small to be your tourist goal, but you can put it into one of the many Kenyan itineraries. It has a very small size – only 3 sq km – and is set in the far western part of the Country. The most important cities and the largest parks of Kenya are too far from here, but it is included in some safari routes exploring the beautiful Rift Valley, nearby. The reason why you should not miss Saiwa Swamp is that this is the last sanctuary on Earth for the beautiful Sitatunga Antelope. It is also home to some beautiful and rare birds.
Characteristics of Saiwa Swamp National Park
The protected area of Saiwa Swamp National Parkis a small territory consisting of both forests and muddy swamps. The large presence of water, due to the many small rivers of the region (the main one is Saiwa River), creates the perfect environment for the life of different species of water plants, water flowers and swamp bush. This makes it a botanic paradise, this is why it is more a place of interest for scientists rather than for tourists. The territory of the Park is surrounded by villages and towns, so it is easy to find and visit it. It is also used by the local community as a place for social events, including ceremonies.
When to go, what to see at Saiwa Swamp
Since this is a place of water and rivers, you better plan your safari there in February or March. Anyway, just choose a dry season and never try to visit it during the rainy months. With a good guide by your side you will recognize and admire the many water plants and the animals that live at Saiwa Swamp.
You will see: the giant African butterflies, frogs, toads and snakes (pay attention especially to cobras and pythons), Nile crocodiles; you will also admire many water birds such as grey heron, African duck, the colourful Narinas. More to see, at Saiwa Swamp, are the beautiful Sitatunga antelopes with their particular red-striped fur. These antelopes are quite rare, also because they are the only ones who can live near a river and even eat fish! Also rare are the DeBrazza monkeys, that can be spotted in here.
Tourists at Saiwa Swamp
Tourist pass through Saiwa Swamp as they go safari to the Rift Valley. They will love the activity the Park offers, anyway. The stunning panoramic views attract photographers, bird watching is for everyone who loves birds, so is also game viewing and botanic studies for those who are curious about nature.
You can stay very close to the Park, at the Sitatunga Camp – for example – so to admire the antelopes. Or at the romantic Tree Top Hotel at the KWS Board seat. The National Park is open from 6am to 7 pm, every single day. You shall pay a 20 Dollars entrance ticket (10 for children).
How to get to Saiwa Swamp National Park
The best way to get to this region is by airplane, landing at Kitale Air Field. The Park is 22 km away from Kitale Town, and you can go there by jeep car along the main road to Saiwa Gate.
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