Saiwa Swamp National Park is located near Kitale, in Trans-Nzoia County, Rift Valley Province, Kenya. It is the smallest national park in Kenya, only 3 km², and was created as habitat for the Sitatunga, a rare aquatic antelope.
There are a variety of trees at the national park and the area is a wonderful haven for nature lovers as the Saiwa Swamp National Park is a forested paradise filled with exotic flowers, trees and birds.
It is the smallest national park in Kenya, only 3 km2, and was created as habitat for the Sitatunga, a rare aquatic antelope and packs a lot of wildlife into a relatively small space to explore from plants, birds, Insects and reptiles.
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Why visit Saiwa Swamp National Park?
Saiwa Swamp National Park safari
There are plenty of great things to do in Kenya and the star attraction of Saiwa Swamp is the semi-aquatic sitatunga antelope. Cool shaded and compact, the park offers an ideal location for a walk at dawn and an enchanting leafy wander.
Offering guests botanical safaris and revitalising weekends away from the hustle and bustle of the busy Kenya towns and cities, the park offers an interesting mix of forest and swamp vegetation and an extraordinarily diverse plant habitat.
Dominated by bulrushes and other aquatic plants, Saiwa Swamp is fed by the Saiwa River which winds its way through the wetland, and by run-off from the surrounding riverine forest.
This low-key park’s main attraction is a small population of sitatunga antelope, which can be spotted in their natural swamp environment.
These rare antelope have special hooves adapted to wading through water, which makes them semi-aquatic. Other antelope that can be spotted on the water’s edge include defassa waterbuck, bushbuck and bohor reedbuck.
Aside from the sitatunga antelope, another swamp special is the rare de Brazza’s monkey which is also known as the swamp monkey. The giant forest squirrels and red-legged sun squirrels are some of the smaller mammals to look out for in the forest canopy.
Two types of otters inhabit the swamp and can sometimes be spotted swimming between the reeds – the African spot-necked otter and the African clawless otter.
Saiwa Swamp has an impressive 370 species recorded in a very small area. This is a good place to pick up some of the western specials such as the spectacular Ross’s turaco, African fish eagle, Crowned hornbill and Goliath heron.
Saiwa Swamp has several walking trails passing through riverine forest and savanna woodland dotted with acacia trees. Vegetation is a mixture of forest and swamp vegetation whilst the swamp is dominated by tall bullrushes.
Other activities at Saiwa Swamp National Park
Here are some other activities which visitors can consider during their east African safari experience at Saiwa Swamp National Park:
- Saiwa Swamp National Park Safari Walk: Explore the nature wildlife on foot, an authentic and economical means of exploring wildlife in Saiwa Swamp National Park
- Photography safari tours: Visitors on a photo safari can share a photography tour with like-minded individuals and capture their favourite moments.
- Birdwatching: Birdlife is abundant and water birds include the lesser jacana, grey heron and African black duck among others. The forest shelters the Narina trogons, one of Kenya’s most spectacular forest birds and orange-tufted sunbirds.
Visitors often enjoy combining their safari adventure with some quiet downtime on Kenya’s best beaches, a perfect end to their African adventure.
How to get to Saiwa Swamp National Park?
Saiwa Swamp National Park can be reached by flying from Nairobi airport to Kitale Airport (KIT).
Just southeast (15km/9mi) of Nairobi is Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO). Kenya’s second international airport, Moi International Airport (MBA), is 9km/6mi west of Mombasa for visitors wondering how to get to Kenya.
NBO airport is located 15km/9mi southeast of Nairobi and a Kenya visa will most likely be required to enter the country.
Saiwa Swamp National Park is located 385km/7.5 hours drive west of Nairobi.
Tariffs & Regulations
Many factors impact Kenya safari prices including the cost of the park entrance fee. Prices per person per day: USD $25 per adult non resident per day and $15 per child.
If you keep to park rules, you can stay with the animals as long as they are not disturbed by your presence.
Accommodation at Saiwa Swamp National Park
Rates mainly depend on the season and type of accommodation. Carrying a small amount of Kenyan currency, the Kenya Shilling (KES) is recommended to pay for groceries and smaller items where credit cards aren’t accepted.
Lodges and camps are exclusive and luxurious with views amongst the most spectacular in the world along with world-class service, incredible food, all luxury amenities, simply ideal for the perfect luxury location.
Lodges include Sirwo Resort offering a swimming pool, excellent meals and outdoors area as well as Siatunga Treetop House. Other good choices in the area include Cranes Haven Tented Camp.
Cranes Haven Tented Camp provides campsite provisions and excellent food in a quiet beautiful haven.
Guests on a safari game drive by themselves in a campervan can make significant savings by sleeping in their vehicle.
Lodges will typically have all meals and drinks included in the lodge package.
Located 385km/7.5 hours drive west of Nairobi, close to Uganda, a safari in Saiwa Swamp National Park is often combined with a trip to Mount Elgon National Park or Masai Mara reserve.
Saiwa Swamp has a warm and humid climate with high rainfall. Due to the proximity to the equator, temperatures don’t vary much.
The average afternoon temperature is around 26°C/79°F, but it gets cooler overnight with a temperature of about 12°C/54°F. There is rainfall throughout the year, but a distinct Wet season brings plenty of rain from April to November.
Best time to go
Understanding the best time to visit Kenya is important as this will impact accommodation, flight prices, availability and the weather that visitors can expect on their safari vacation.
Saiwa Swamp can be visited year-round. This is a high rainfall area, but December to March is quite dry, and there are a lot of sunny days. April to August is very wet, and rain might interfere with planned activities in the park.
There is no malaria in Saiwa Swamp because of the high altitude, but as you’re not likely to visit Saiwa Swamp in isolation, it is advisable to take antimalarials. Visitors can find further information on Kenya vaccine details here.
Where is Saiwa Swamp National Park located?
Located 385km/7.5 hours drive west of Nairobi, Saiwa Swamp National Park can also be reached by flying from Nairobi airport to Kitale Airport (KIT).
How much is the entrance fee to Saiwa Swamp National Park?
The entrance fee to Saiwa Swamp National Park is USD $25 per adult non resident per day and $15 per child.
What animals will visitors see at Saiwa Swamp National Park?
Visitors to Saiwa Swamp National Park will see sitatunga antelope, defassa waterbuck, bushbuck, bohor reedbuck, de Brazza’s monkey, giant forest squirrels and red-legged sun squirrels.