SAIWA SWAMP NATIONAL PARK

A veritable haven for nature lovers, the Saiwa Swamp National Park is a forested paradise and Kenya’s smallest National Park, created to protect the habitat of the rare and endangered semi-aquatic sitatunga antelopes and Brazza’s monkey. It is also filled with exotic flowers, trees and birds. It is located in Kitale, Trans – Nzoia County in the Rift Valley.

The only other known Kenyan populations are in the papyrus swamps of Lake Victoria and the Kingwal Swamp near Kapsabet. Crepuscular and extremely shy, these antelope hide in papyrus and almost submerge themselves when alarmed. Sitatunga’s have brown coats, transverse white stripes on their backs and enlonged splayed hooves which enable them to walk on the surface of the swamp. The males have twisted horns.

Within this tropical wetlands and mosaic of riverine forest, sedges and acacia woodlands, with fringing dense rushes and grass beds Bird life is abundant. Water birds include the lesser jacana, grey heron and the African black duck while the forest shelters the Narina trogons, the collared and orange-tufted sunbird, the yellow bishop, Hatlaub’s marsh widow bird and the Noisy Ross’s turacos which are difficult to miss.

The swamp is exceptionally rich in dragonflies and damselflies. Butterflies include swallowtails and charaxes. The African mocker swallowtail, papilio dardanus, is very common after the rains. Across the forest floor, ants swarm. Frogs and toads abound, with many different kinds of tree frogs trilling and piping after rainstorms. Bell’s 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

 

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