Saiwa Swamp National Park
Saiwa Swamp National Park is one of the smallest visited Kenya safari destination, renowned for its near extinct gazelle called ‘’Sitatunga antelopes’’. This park acts as a true nature lover, gifted with green forest dominated with exotic flowers, birds and variety of trees. It is a home to rare aquatic antelopes ‘’Sitatunga antelopes’’ and also preserves for the rare De Brazza’s monkey. Saiwa Swamp national park is comprised of tropical wetland, mosaic of riverine forest, acacia woodlands and sedges, with fringing dense rushes and grass which are habitant for bird life. Note, this park is a paradise destination for water birds and few land species, water bird species include the collared, yellow bishop, Hatlaub’s marsh widow bird, African black duck while the forest shelters are the Narina trogons and Noisy Ross’s turaco which are commonly seen here on traveler’s visit to Kenya birding safaris.
Park Size and Location
Saiwa Swamp national park lies near Kitale in Trans-Nzoia County, Kenya’s Rift valley province, on land size covering 3 square kilometers. The park was established in 1974 as a gazette national park and managed by Kenya Wildlife Service.
Saiwa Swamp is fed by the river with the same name ‘’Saiwa River ‘’. The swamp is surrounded with rewardable walking trails that passes through riverine forest and savannah woodland perched with acacia trees.
Weather and Climate in Siwa Swamp National Park
Saiwa Swamp national park lies close to the equator, that’s why there’s little variation in month to month temperature. Its main influences on the park’s weather are the area’s distinctive seasons. The Dry season usually happens ‘’December to March’’ when sunshine is filled the days, though precipitation is still easy on most days. The wet seasons happens from April to November, time to see heavy rain falling, often for days at a time.
Saiwa swamp national park Key Features
Saiwa swamp national park is composed by bulrushes, aquatic plants, Saiwa Swamp which is fed by the Saiwa River which runs its water through wetland and run off from the surrounding riverine forest.
The park offers an ideal dawn walk to travelers who visit the place in order to enjoy the cool breeze air and its lovely nature.
The park boosts with amazing mix of forest and green swamp vegetation and diverse habitat of plants.
Highlight Attractions in Saiwa Swamp National Park
Wildlife and Animals: The semi-aquatic sitatunga antelopes are the main attractions of the park. Other species of herbivores can also be seen such as defassa waterbuck, 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.
Bird life: The park is a home to abundant bird species especially water birds such as grey heron, lesser jacana and African black duck among others. The forested birds include colored sunbirds, Narina Tragons, Coucal Stork, Yellow Bishop, Ross’s turaco’s, Qonolek, Cormorant, Hamerkop, Little Grebe, Crane, Flycatcher, Black Goshawk and Wahlberg’s Eagle. The best way of spotting these birds is from the forest trails.
Saiwa Swamp National Park is a forested haven that shelters numerous bird species such as Narina trogon one of Kenya’s most spectacular forest birds.
Best place to watch for the collared, Orange –tufted sunbird and sipping nectar from the beautiful flowers of the forest edge.
The yellow bishop which are often seen above the reeds on display.
Cinnamon-chested bee-eaters and crown cranes which acts as an attraction here, are commonly seen when the surrounding farms are harvested.
Ludher’s bush-shrike is shier whereas the square-tailed drongo and the double-toothed barbet are found in the lower branches of forest trees.
Noisy Ross’s turaco’s are commonly seen here.
Gonolek species are easy to see along forest trails.
Plant species: The park offers tropical wetlands, acacia woodlands and riverine forest with dense rushes and grass beds, which are some of Kenya’s loveliest terrestrial orchids. Some of them include comet orchid, with greny-white flowers afding to peach.
Insects: The swamp is paradise in dragonflies and damselflies. Butterflies like swallowtails and charaxes. Other species include African mocker swallowtail, Papillion Dardanes, are very common after the rains. Ants swamp can be viewed at the forest floor.
Reptile and Amphibians: There are many reptiles and amphibians which can be seen by the tourists on their visit such as frogs and toads abound, with different types of tree frogs trilling and piping after rainstorms. The forest dwelling species like Bell’s hinged tortoise and the blue-headed tree agama lizard which even you can see crossing your path. Snake species like African rock python and forest cobra. If you’re able to hike through the park’s trails, you can be able to view a side-stripped chameleon. There are common in here and easy to view them due to their excellent camouflage.
Things to do in Saiwa Swamp national park
Bird watching: The park is haven 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 waders. The watchtowers across the park make gainful views for bird watching points.
Sitatunga Antelope Spotting: Sitatunga Antelope are 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.
Photography: To traveler who wishes his 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.
Vegetation Exploration: The park is covered with tropical wetlands, it’s landscape is composed of swamp vegetation like bulrushes, reeds, sedge, wooded grassland, tropical forest with exotic banana trees and wild fig trees.
Trekking: 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 this park, cars are left in the parking, then set off to adventure one of the country’s pristine wetland on foot.
Picnicking: The park has got several picnic points located at intervals along the walkways and trails.
Camping: 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 will attract 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.
Accommodation in Saiwa Swamp national park
A visitor can sleep at the Tree Top Hut which is a single unit with Kitchen and twin beds. You can as well do camping to nearby campsite to the park such as Saiwa Picnic, Event Site and Sitatunga Public Campsite. Sirikwa Tented Camp is luxurious accommodation which offers comfortable facilities like barbeques, electricity, flush toilets and hot showers.
Best Time to Visit
Saiwa Swamp national park can be visited all year around, but the best time to appreciate the environment more is in the dry season from December to March. This is the period when migratory birds are passing through and great time to view the local sitatunga antelopes. The area is impassible from April to August when the rain is heavy.
By Road: Getting to Saiwa Swamp national park takes a driving distance of 22kilomteres from Kitale town, then at Kipsaina junction covers 5kilomters ‘’murram’’ 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: A 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 sits 27 kilometers away from the park.
Come experience habitual area with vibrant green realm of swamp with some riverine forest, of all a best place to view sitatunga ‘’aquatic antelopes’’ and De Brazza’s monkey on Kenya safaris.’’Saiwa Swamp National Park’’.