If you are looking for the most stunning destination with incredible wildlife species then count Saiwa Swamp National Park a must to include in your bucket list. This national park was gazetted in 1974 and it is very famous for as one of the main sitatunga habitats in Africa. This national park covers an area of 3 square kilometres and this makes it the smallest protected area in Kenya. It is situated at the border with Uganda and its remote location rewards visitors with true African experiences.
Saiwa Swamp National Park is best described as a forested capital featuring most of the unusual species of trees, flowers and bird species. This national park is famous for its De Brazza’s monkey and in the tropical wetlands and the mosaic of the riverine forest; there are sedges and acacia woodlands, the thick rushes and grass beds, bird species and others. You can also find most of the bronze and purple eulophia horsfallii, crimson satyrium sacculatum orchids abound and the fleshy pink satyrium crassicaule which also come with the comet orchid, granny white flowers fading as well as epiphytic ferns.
For birders, the key bird species for you to look out at this national park are grey heron, lesser jacana and the African black duck and within the forest, there are narina trogons. Others include the orange tufted sunbird, yellow bishop, hat laub’s marsh widow bird, collared, the noisy Ross’s Turacos as well as insect species such as the damselflies and dragonflies. Butterflies comprise of swallowtails and Charaxes. The African mocker swallowtails, Papillion Dardanus are also commonly sighted especially after the rains.
Reptiles and amphibians for you to sight out at this national park include the frogs and toads, tree frogs. There are also bell’s hinged tortoises and blue-headed tree agama lizard and snakes (African rock python, forest cobras). The forest trails feature mostly the stripped chameleon.
When to visit Saiwa Swamp National Park
Saiwa Swamp National Park can be explored at any time of the year but note that the area experiences African wetland climate that ranges from warm to cool and humid to semi-arid. The wet season begins from March to June and October to November.
How to reach Saiwa Swamp National Park
Saiwa Swamp National Park can be reached both by road and air. By road, Saiwa Swamp is situated 22 kilometers away from Kitale town, 380 kilometers’ drive from Nairobi capital city. At Kipsaina junction, approximately 5 kilometer murram route takes visitors to the Saiwa gate which is the only park entrance. A 4×4 is recommended to visit Saiwa Swamp National Park in the rain season. Contact 4×4 self-drive Kenya for a suitable vehicle to explore this park, this is the best company to rent a 4×4 car in Nairobi with or without a driver. By air, where you can take a flight to Eldoret or Kitale Airstrip nearly 27 kilometers away from the park.
Tourist activities in Saiwa Swamp National Park
Being one of the best safari destinations in Kenya, visitors on safari to this park have a wide range of tour activities to engage most of which include bird watching that rewards birder on safari in Kenya with spectacular views of bird species like the grey heron, lesser jacana and African black duck, the narina trogons, collared and orange tufted sunbird, noisy Ross’s Turacos, hat laub’s marsh widow bird, long-tailed cormorant, cinnamon chested bee-eaters, ludher’s bush shrike, ibis, egrets, grey crowned crane, black goshawk, African hawk-eagle, Wahlberg’s eagle, the square tailed drongo and the double-toothed barbet, Blue-headed coucal, yellow-billed duck, little grebe, yellow-billed stork, hamerkop, gonolek and many more.
Game viewing to see most of the Sitatunga antelopes, the De Brazza monkey, black and white colobus monkeys, grey duikers, blue and vervet monkeys, spotted necked otter, giant forest squirrel, leopards, bushbuck, genet cats, mongoose and others. Other activities include nature walks to Saiwa Swamp, Viewing the flora and fauna, Photo taking, Picnicking, Camping and many others.
Where to stay while in Saiwa Swamp National Park
Saiwa Swamp National Park is one of the remotest national parks in Kenya and it has limited lodges, however, there is Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) campsite and Treetop House, Barnley Guesthouse and campsite, Sitatunga Public Campsite, Sirikwa Tented Camp and others.
In conclusion, Saiwa Swamp National Park is known for its smallest size, rare tourist attractions and safari activities most of which have not yet been touched thus offering visitors with authentic African experiences.