The Saiwa Swamps, are a remarkable wetland in Kenya. They are located in the Rift Valley Province, about 22 kilometres northwest of Kitale, the capital of Trans-Nzoia County. The Marsh covers an area of about 3.2 square kilometres and was declared a protected area in 1974.
The most outstanding feature of the Saiwa Swamps is its importance for the conservation of the semi-aquatic Sitatunga antelope. The swamp antelope is a highly endangered species and largely threatened with extinction in Africa. However, in the Saiwa wetland, the swamp antelope has found a safe haven and is the heraldic animal of the reserve.
The tropical wetland consists of a mixture of swamps, watercourses, small lakes and dense papyrus. It provides an ideal habitat for various animal, exotic flowers and plant species. Apart from the swamp antelopes, there is also other wildlife such as otters, porcupines, warthogs, the rare De Brazza`s monkeys and a variety of birds like the Narina trogons, the yellow bishop, the noisy ross`s turacos.
The Saiwa Swamps are a valuable natural heritage site and an example of successful conservation efforts. They offer visitors the opportunity to experience Kenya's fascinating fauna and flora in a unique environment.
What to see and do
The Saiwa Swamps are known for their population of swamp antelopes, also called sitatunga. You can observe these impressive and rare antelopes in their natural habitat. There are raised boardwalks and viewing platforms that allow you to see the swamp antelope up close without disturbing them.
The wetland is home to a rich birdlife with many different species. Birdwatchers can spot a variety of waterfowl, heron species, storks, ducks and many other feathered species. The park has varied flora and fauna, including several species of monkeys such as mute monkeys and guenons.
There are well-laid paths and trails through the wetland that allow visitors to go for walks and hikes in the area.
How to get there
By Road - It takes you around 7 hours from Nairobi. Around 402km via A104 and B2 route via Naivasha, Gilgil, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kitale to Saiwa Swamp
By Air - Kitale airstrip and Eldoret Airport
The Saiwa Swamps experience two rainy seasons: from March to May and from October to November. During these months, heavy rains can occur, filling the wetland with water and making the vegetation lush.
The driest time in the is between June and September and between December and February.
Temperatures vary between 15`C and 28`C depending on the season.
Due to the proximity to wetlands and watercourses, the humidity is over 55 %.