National Parks

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Saiwa National Park, the home of rare Sitatunga

Only in Kenya's smallest reserve can you see the aquatic antelope

27-04-2020 di redazione

If you want to admire the rare aquatic antelope Sitatunga, there is only one park in Kenya where you can go, and it is the smallest in the whole country.
It is the Saiwa National Park, near Kitale, in the northern part of the Rift Valley.
Saiwa Park was created in 1974 specifically to protect the natural habitat and conservation of the rare Sitatunga species, and is now managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service.
It covers only 2.9 square kilometers and its vegetation is a mix of wooded and marshy nature with tall bushes and reeds along its marshy banks. There are tree platforms overlooking the swamp from which visitors can observe the sitatunga. 
The park is also home to other wildlife, but due to its small size, it is not as popular as other national parks in Kenya.
Saiwa Swamp is located 385 km northwest of Nairobi, near the border with Uganda. 
Access is via the so-called "Sitatunga Gate" which is not far from the Mount Elgon National Park entrance, which is well worth a visit.
The Saiwa Swamp National Park has no roads within its perimeter, but 18 km of paths and bridges wind around this small, unspoilt jewel. It is therefore an ideal park to visit if you like walking, birdwatching and camping. There are walkways and four observation towers strategically placed to observe wildlife and 372 species of birds including Ross's turaco and the blue-headed coucal.
When visiting the park, remember to wear a hat and bring water with you to avoid dehydration. You will also need a camera and binoculars to observe wildlife and a guide to identify animals and birds.
When visiting the park, remember to wear a hat and bring water to avoid dehydration. You will also need a camera and binoculars to observe wildlife and a guide to identify animals and birds.
Saiwa Swamp National Park has a mixture of small African animals, including black and white Colobus monkeys, otters, genet cats, mongooses, bushbucks and De Brazzas monkeys as well as sitatunga antelope.
The sitatunga antelope stand 1.5 meters (5 feet) high and have shaggy, waterproof coats. Sitatunga antelope are good swimmers and hide underwater when danger threatens, with only the tip of the nose showing.
Sitatungas have long legs and elongated hooves that allow them to overcome the danger in the swamps, but make them less fast on land. The females have a reddish brown mantle, while the males are dark brown and have a mane and horns. The remarkable twisted trumpets can reach a metre or more in length.

 

TAGS: sitatunga kenyaparchi kenyariserva kenyanatura kenya

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