Saiwa Swamp National Park

grassy swale at Saiwa Swamp, Kenya, photo © by Michael Plagens

This grassy swale holds varying amounts of water depending on seasonal rainfall. April 2011.


African Paradise Flycatcher  African Pied Wagtail  Yellow-billed Stork  Glossy Ibis  Malachite Kingfisher  Bronze Sunbird  White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher  African Yellow White-eye  Ross's Turaco  White-browed Robin-Chat  Black-and-White Casqued Hornbill  E Double-collared Sunbird 

This small national park in western Kenya was created as a sanctuary for a rare wet-land antelope, the Sitatunga. The forests and marshes give habitat for many bird and plant species. Several trails pass through the forest and there is an elevated platform for observing wildlife in the marshes. The city of Kitale, located some 75km north of Eldoret, is the point of access, with several choices for accommodations. Kitale Museum is worth a visit and there are forest trails where birds and primates can be seen. On the museum grounds the Olof Palme Agroforestry Center has labeled forest trees and propagates indigenous trees.

Flora and Fauna:

African Blood lily  DeBrazza's Monkey  Markhamia  African Thrush  n/a  Tropical Forest Ant 

Agro-Forestry Center at Kitale, Kenya, photo © by Michael Plagens  Children engaged in farm work near Kitale, Kenya, photo © by Michael Plagens

Intensive farming occupies the bulk of land all around Saiwa Swamp and Kitale. This is a hard life and one often sees children engaged in back-breaking work to produce crops, feed their animals, fetch water and fetch firewood. The future of the park and nature in this part of Kenya is intricately tied to alleviating poverty and improving food production systems.

More Information:

Kenya Natural History
Reptiles + Amphibians

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 18 Aug. 2016