02/03/2024

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Small Is Beautiful – Saiwa National Park

Small Is Beautiful – Saiwa National Park

When one thinks of a beautiful thing, he or she thinks of a famous thing or place. But according to many people they would actually accept and regard a small thing or a secluded place the beautiful place or thing they have ever had. An experience to remember. When we look for a vacation, a picnic site, park or any place we would like to experience nature, then we should look at the most gorgeous place full of our expectations. Kenya has such many places but the best one for nature lovers is unquestionably the Saiwa Swamp National Park.

Saiwa Swamp National Park

Situated below the Cherangani Hills, Trans-Nzoia District of Rift Valley Province. Saiwa National Park is located 22 km from Kitale on the Kitale-Kapenguria tarmac road. At Kipsaina junction, a 5 km marrum road leads to the only park gate. Saiwa is the smallest park in Kenya, only 3 km2. It was established to protect the semi-aquatic antelope, Sitatunga and encloses the swamp fed by the Saiwa River together with its fringing belts of rain forest. The park is enclosed by subsistence farming settlements. Common vegetation includes a mixture of forest and swamp vegetation. The swamp is dominated by tall bulrushes and sedges. The swamp is bordered by a mixture of grassland, riverine forests and Acacia This particular park has a distinction in that the attraction that make is so beautiful are just unique to this area.

The Sitatunga:

The Sitatunga or marsh buck is a swamp-dwelling antelope found throughout Africa. Sitatunga stands about one and a half meters at the shoulder. Sitatungas have a water-proof coat which is dark brown in males and reddish brown in females. Both sexes have white stripes and spots as well as white splotches on their faces. Their hooves are long and thin to deal with the Sitatunga swampy habitat. Males have a mane as well as horns, which are twisted and can reach almost a meter in length. Sitatunga live in papyrus swamps and are very good swimmers. They may take to the water to evade predators such as leopards or wild dogs, lying submerged in pools with only their nostrils above the surface. They are crepuscular although they are also somewhat active at night and day. Sitatunga can be solitary; females tend to stick in herds while males become mostly solitary after mating. They are in:

Kingdom Animalia,

Phylum Chordata,

Class mammalia,

Order Artiodactyla,

Family Bovidae,

Genus Tragelaphus

Species Spekeii.

The park can only be visited on foot, and bridges and trails meander through the swamp dotted with observation decks. Bird watching is excellent here, and the park is also inhabited by black-and-white Columbus monkey, giant forest squirrel, grey duiker, and the endangered De Brazza’s monkey.

Other main activities include:

Trails- The Park has well maintained trails and 4 observation towers where one can engage in bird watching and game viewing. The park is also an idyllic place for the wild camping experience

The ecological importance of this park.

This park protects plant and animals. It has ecological importance such as soil stabilization, regulation of water, and they hold the key to genetic conservation. So this site is not only small but very beautiful. Pay a visit to this site and you contribute to its conservation.