Saiwa Swamp National Park

Departure Date

Daily

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A veritable haven for nature lovers, the Saiwa Swamp National Park is a forested paradise filled with exotic flowers, trees and birds. It is also the habitat of the rare and endangered semi-aquatic Sitatunga antelope and as a preserve for the rare De Brazza’s monkey. Within this tropical wetlands and mosaic of riverine forest, sedges and acacia woodlands, with fringing dense rushes and grass bedsBird 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.

Bird Watching

  • Bird life is abundant. 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.
  • Watch for the collared and orange-tufted sunbird, sipping nectar from the flowers of the forest edge.
  • The yellow bishop often whirrs above the reeds, its blazing yellow back on display.
  • Hatlaub’s marsh widow bird also frequents the rushes.
  • Noisy Ross’s turaco’s are difficult to miss.
  • Gonolek are easy to see along the trails.
  • Ludher’s bush-shrike is much shier while the square-tailed drongo and the double toothed barbet perch in the lower branches of forest trees.
  • Cinnamon-chested bee-eaters abound, as do crowned cranes, especially when the surrounding farms ploughed or harvested.

Plants

Within this tropical wetlands and mosaic of riverine forest, sedges and acacia woodlands, with fringing dense rushes and grass beds, are some of Kenya’s loveliestterrestrial orchids. The bronze and purple eulophia horsfallii, the fleshy pink satyrium crassicaule and crimson satyrium sacculatum orchids abound, including the cometorchid, with greny-white flowers afding to peach. Epiphtic fems flourish.

Insects

The swamp is exceptionally rich in dragonflies and damselfies. Butterflies include swallowtails and charaxes. The African mocker swallowtail, Papillion dardanus, is very common after the rains:ants swam the forest floor.

Reptiles and Amphibians

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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. As you follow the trails, watch for a side-stripped chameleon. They are common, but easy to overlook due to their excellent camouflage.