Tsavo West

LAND OF LAVA, SPRINGS AND MAN-EATERS.

The joint mass of Tsavo West and Tsavo East National Parks forms one of the largest National Parks in the world and covers a massive 4% of Kenya’s total land area. Tsavo West, the more famous of the two, lies to the west of the Nairobi – Mombasa road, equidistant between Nairobi and Mombasa, and is painted on a sprawling canvas of endless skies, emerald hills, liquid lava flows, palm fringed rivers, teeming wildlife and sparkling oasis set against the unforgettable backdrop of mile upon mile of cloud shadowed African savannah.

Tsavo West
Tsavo Wes

WHAT T0 SEE

The Magic Mzima Springs

The lush, hippo-heaving pools of Mzima Springs, fed daily by 250 million litres of water gushing from the lava flows of the Chyulu Hills provide an oasis of green, an underwater hippo viewing chamber, two nature trails and some unique picnic spots.

Ancient Lands Of Lions And Lava

Tsavo achieved notoriety in 1898 when “the man-eaters of Tsavo 1 a pair of rogue man-eating lions, preyed gruesomely on the builders of the Uganda Railway. Today the Park is more famous for the numerous prides of maneless lions that patrol the plains and police the herbivore herds.

A Vibrant Volcanic Arena:

The molten lava that forms the Shetani Lava Flow spewed from the earth just 200 years ago and its fiery fury was thought by the local people to be the work of the Devil, hence its name which means ‘Devil’ in Swahili. The Chaimu Crater is an alternative volcanic arena (which can be climbed by those who feel fit enough), as are the imposing Ngulia Hills and the enchanting Chyulu Hills.

Finally, the eerie ‘Roaring Rocks‘ are named after the buzz of the cicadas that Inhabit them and the howl of the wind as it rushes past the sheer face of the scarp.

Poacher’s Lookout:

The Park abounds in panoramic vantage points from which to monitor the movement of the herds. The finest is Poacher’s Lookout, a rush- roofed hut, high on a hill with views to eternity.

Glorious Game Drives:

Tsavo offers some of the most magnificent game viewing in the world – vast herds of dust-red elephant, fat pods of hippo, giant crocodile, teeming herds of plains game, a fantasia of bird life and some magical flora.

You could also take in a visit to the Nguila Rhino Sanctuary where Tsavo’s growing population of endangered black rhino are inching their way back from the chasm of extinction that was forced upon them by rampant poaching in the 1960’s.

Alternatively you could explore beautiful Lake Jipe, which lies astride the Kenya -Tanzania border and is teeming with aquatic life. (Boat hire is available). Bird watching is also a major activity in the park.

WHERE T0 STAY (LODGES AND TENTED CAMPS).

Finch Hatton’s Tented Lodge. P.0. Box 24423, Nairobi.

Tel: (Nairobi) +254(20)310335/6 ~ Email: finchhattons@iconnect.co.ke

Voyager Safari Camp. Heritage Hotels, R0. Box 74888, Nairobi.

Tel: +254(20)4446651, 4447929 – Email: info@heritagehotels.co.ke

Kitani Severin Safari Camp. Severin Kenya, P.0. Box 82169, Mombasa.

Tel: +254(4l)48S00l/5 – Email: severin@severin-sea-|odge.com

Ngulia Safari Lodge. Kenya Safari Lodges and Hotels,

P.0. Box 42, Mtito Andei. Tel: +254 (43) 30091, 30000, 30140

Email: nguIialodge@kenya-safari.co.ke

Kilaguni Safari Serena Lodge. Serena Hotels, P.O. Box 48690, Nairobi.

Tel: +254(20)711077, 710511 – Email: mktg@serena.co.ke

SELF CATERING ACCOMMODATION

Kamboyo Guest House: Formerly the Park Warden’s house, consisting of 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms; and a caretaker. Reservations are made through the warden or KWS HQ, Nairobi.

Rhino Valley: 6 self catering ’Bandas’or simple cottages.

Tsavo Park Hotel, P.0. Box 244 Voi, Kenya. Tel: + 254(147)30285

E-Mail: info@tsavoparkhotel.com

Kitani Safari Lodge: 8 newly renovated self-catering bandas. Severin Kenya,

P.0. Box 82169 Mombasa, Tel: +254(41)485001/5

Email: severin@severinsealodge.com

Lake Jipe Bandas: (on the shores of Lake Jipe). 3 Self – Catering bandas. Reservations through KWS HQ or the warden.

CAMPING

There are three public campsites (offering water and latrines only) as follows:

Kamboyo campsite (8km from Mtito Andei Gate) and Lake Jipe campsite (on the Lake Shore) and Chyulu campsite (1 km from Chyulu Gate). A wide selection of ’special’or private campsites (no facilities) also exist, and these must be booked in advance on an exclusive use basis. (Reservations through Warden or KWS HQ Nairobi.)

WHEN T0 G0

Tsavo West National Park is accessible by 2WD vehicle and also by air, all year round

WHAT T0 TAKE WITH YOU

Drinking water, picnic items and camping equipment if you intend to stay overnight. Also useful are: binoculars, camera, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and guidebooks.

PLEASE RESPECT THE WILDLIFE CODE

  • Respect the privacy ofthe wildlife, this is their habitat.
  • Beware ofthe animals, they are wild and can be unpredictable.
  • Don’t crowd the animals or make sudden noises or movements.
  • Don’t feed the animals, it upsets their diet and leads to human dependence.
  • Keep quiet, noise disturbs the wildlife and may antagonize your fellow visitors.
  • Stay in your vehicle at all times, except at designated picnic or walking areas.
  • Keep below the maximum speed limit (40 kph/25 mph).
  • Never drive off-road, this severely damages the habitat.
  • When viewing wildlife keep to a minimum distance of 20 meters and pull to the side of the road so as to allow others to pass.
  • Leave no litter and never leave fires unattended or discard burning objects.
  • Respect the cultural heritage of Kenya, never take pictures of the local people or their habitat without asking their permission, respect the cultural traditions of Kenya and always dress with decorum.
  • Stay over or leave before dusk, visitors must vacate the Park between 7.00pm – 6.00am unless they are camping overnight. Night game driving is not allowed.

HOW T0 GET THERE

By Road:

The Park (Mtito Andei Gate) is 232 km south of Nairobi and 250 km north of Mombasa on the main Nairobi – Mombasa Road.

Gates: The following entry gates exist: Tsavo, Lake Jipe, Mtito Andei (Kamboyo HQ), Chyulu, Maktau and Ziwani.

By Air:

There are 3 airstrips in the Park.

Open: Daily 6.00am – 7.00pm. Note: No entry is allowed on foot, and visitors will not be allowed into the Park after 6.15pm.

Current entry charges:

Obtainable via KWS HQ: Tel: +254(20)6000800, 6002345 Fax: +254(20)6007024

Email: marketing@kws.go.ke – website: www.kws.go.ke

‘Safari Card‘ required?

Entry is by SafariCard only. SafariCards may be loaded (but not obtained) at Mtito Andei Gate.

The Warden: P.0. Box 71, Mtito Andei. Tel: (Mtito Andei) +254(456)22120, 22483

The Aberdare National Park

majestic peaks, Moorlands and falls

Encircled by the wild and beautiful moorlands of the third highest mountain range in Kenya, this atmospheric Park offers a mist-wreathed realm where elephants roam through lichen-hung forests, spectacular waterfalls plunge into churning pools, and trout-filled streams cascade through mossy dells. A haven for anglers, walkers and lovers of solitude alike, it also offers matchless views of the glittering coronet of Mount Kenya and the sparkling lakes of the Great Rift Valley.

What to see

Enduring legacy of Kimathi ”Post Office”

The park is also famous for the hideouts of freedom fighters, where Field Marshal General Dedan Kirnathi and his Mau Mau used the Mau Mau caves prior to independence. The Kimathi “post office”, where agents used to drop messages for Man Mau fighters led by legendary Field Marshall General Dedan Kimathi in The Aberdare National Park and Mt Kenya forests.

A window on history

The Kikuyu believed it to be one of the homes of Ngai (God) and originally knew it as Nyandarua’ (the drying hide) due to the distinctive folds of its silhouette. In 1884, the explorer Joseph Thompson renamed the range after Lord Aberdare, the President of the Royal Geographical Society. Dubbed the ‘White Highlands’ because of the large numbers of Europeans who settled there in the 1920’s, the area also achieved notoriety due to the decadent antics of the ‘Happy Valley Set‘ of the Wanjohi Valley.

Also during the l950’s, the dense forests and bamboo thickets witnessed much of the action between British forces and the ‘Man Man’ freedom fighters. The original ’”lreetops’ hotel feli under the spotiight of the world when the young Princess Eiizabeth descended its steps as Queen Elizabeth ll of England in 1952.

Herds of elephant against a mountain backdrop

The Pads provides a unique habitat for approximately two thousand elephants, which roam the clouded hills and misty glades and provide endless atmospheric viewing opportunities.

Spectacular waterfalls

The Park is renowned for its torrential waterfalls plunging from cloud-shrouded heights to spray-filled ravines. They include the magnificent Karuru Falls, which drop 300m, the impressive Gura Falls which torrent from the opposite side of the same gorge, the sheer drop of the Chania Fails, and the enchanting Magura Falls which cascade across the yawning mouth of the Queen’s Cave.

Activity options

Mountain climbing, hiking and walking

Climbing the peaks of The Aberdare National Park doesn’t require you to be a mountaineer, as most of them can be conquered with little more than a strenuous high-altitude trek. Additionally, there are numerous panoramic moorland hikes and forest walks available. To walk, hike, or climb in the park, you need to obtain permission from the Warden and be accompanied by an armed KWS Ranger. You can book the services of the ranger by contacting the Warden, preferably in advance.

Excellent fishing in the cool mountain streams

Both brown and rainbow trout abound in the cool mountain streams and provide excellent angling. You can obtain a sports fishing license at the Park gates.

Where to stay

Lodges

The Ark, a unique day and night game-viewing lodge modelled on Noah’s Ark. Contact: Fairmont Hotels, PO Box 58581 (00100), Nairobi.

Tel: (Nairobi) +254 (20) 2216940, 250900. Fax: +254 (20) 250200, 253075

Tel: (Nyeri) +254 (61) 55620, 55017, Fax: +254 (61) 55224

Email: kenya.reservations@fairmont.com

The Aberdare Country Club, the access point for The Ark and an elegant country house hotel offering luxury accommodation and extensive facilities.

Contact: P0 Box 449, Nyeri. Tel: (Nairobi) +254 (20) 2216940, 250900

Fax: +254 (20) 250200, 253075 , Tel: (Nyeri) +254 (61) 55620, 55017

Fax: +254 (61) 55224, Email: kenya.reservatlons@fairmont.com

Treetops, the world famous tree-house lodge. The Outspan Hotel, the access point for Treetops and a luxurious colonial-style hotel offering extensive facilities. Contact: Aberdare Safari Hotels, P0 Box 14815 (00800), Nairobi.

Tel (Nairobi) +254 (20) 4452095-9 , Fax: +254 (20) 4452102

Email: info@aberdaresatarihotelscom

Self-catering accommodation

Kiandongoro Fishing Lodge comprises 2 iarge stone-built, 3 bedroom cottages each offering: fully equipped kitchen (with gas stove and crockery), furnished sitting and dining area with log fire, veranda, 2 double bedrooms (en suite with double bed and single bed) and l single bedroom. There is a caretaker and bedding, towels, kerosene lamps and hot water are provided. Reservations through the Warden or KWS HQ, Nairobi.

Sapper Hut (west of the Fishing Lodge), a basic wooden cabin offering: one bedroom (2 beds and mattresses only), sitting and dining area, log burning stove, veranda, pit latrine and wash hut. Visitors are supposed to carry their cooking equipments. Reservations through the Warden or KWS HQ, Nairobi.

Tusk Camp, a forest camp offering: 4 sleeping cabins (2 single beds each), ‘mess’ cabin with log fire and veranda, kitchen with wood burning-stove (optional gas stove, cooking utensils and crockery are available) beddings, towels and bathroom. There is a caretaker and kerosene lamps are provided. Reservations through the Warden or KWS HQ, Nairobi.

Camping

Public campsites include: Reedbuck » offering communal mess hut, pit latrine and shower. Ruhuruini – pit latrine. Wandaris – no facilities. Shamata – no facilities. A selection of ‘special’ campsites (no facilities) are available and these must be booked in advance on an exclusive use basis (reservations through the Warden or KWS HQ, Nairobi).

When to go

The Aberdare National Park is accessible all year round however 4WD vehicles is recommended during heavy rains.

What to take with you

Drinking water, picnic items and camping equipment if you intend to stay overnight.

Also useful are: binoculars, camera, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, guidebooks, warm clothing (temperatures drop rapidly at night), walking boots, compass, and maps.

Fact File

Altitude: 829-4,001 metres above sea level.

Area: 767 sq. km.

Location: (antral highlands west of Mount Kenya.

Distance from Nairobi: 180 km.

Gazetted: May T950.

Climate: Cool and cloudy with frequent heavy rain in March – June and September – December.

Vegetation: Rich alpine and sub-alpine flora giving way to bamboo and montane forests.

Fauna Include; blue and colobus monkey, leopard, lion, elephant, warthog, black rhino, giant forest hog, bushbuck, buffalo, red duiker, suni, serval, reedbuck, eland and the rare bongo antelope.

Birds: The prolific bird life features 250 recorded species.

Fishing: The streams are well stocked with brown and rainbow trout.

Roads: The Park can often become inaccessible for 2WD vehicles after rain and 4WD vehicles are recommended.

Open: Daily 6.00am – 7.00pm. N01‘?! No entry is allowed on foot, and visitors will not be allowed into the Park after 6.l5pm.

Current entry charges: Obtainable via KWS HQ:

Tel: (Nairobi) +254 (0)20 600800, 602345, Fax: +254 607024

email: reservations@kws.go.ke, website: www.kws.go.ke

‘Safaricard’ required? Entry is by safaricard only. Safaricards maybe loaded (but not obtained) at the Mwelga Park HQ.

The Warden: P0 Box 22, Nyeri, Central Province.

Tel: (Nyeri) +254 (20) 2046271

Email: aberdare@wananchi.com

How to get there

By road: Take the A2 out of Nairobi (direction Thika) into Nyeri and the Nyeri – Nyahururu road out of Nyeri.Ruhuruini, Ark and treetops gates are signposted off this road.

Gates: The following entry gates exist: Ark, Treetops, Ruhuruini, Kiandongoro, Mutubio, Wandaris, Shamata and Rhino.

NOTE. Shamata and Rhino Gates are currently closed for renovations.

By air: Via Mweiga airstrip.

Kenya Wildlife Service, Marketing & Business Development – Nairobi

Tel : +254 (20) 600800, 602345

Fax: +254 (20) 607024

Email: reservations@kws.go.ke

www.kws.go.ke

 Shiba Hills National Park

THE PARADISE OF THE SABLE ANTELOPE

In 1903, the government gazetted the Shimba Hills as a National Forest. In 1924, they incorporated grassland areas into the forest. And they made several subsequent extensions to bring the Reserve to its present size. 1968, the government double gazetted the majority of the Reserve as the Shimba Hills National Reserve. Two smaller areas to the west, which adjoin the reserve and are almost entirely forested. Remain as Forest Reserves: Mkongani North and Mkongani West Forest Reserve.

Shiba Hills National Park
Shiba Hills National Park

The Shimba hills are a dissected plateau that ascends steeply from the coastal plains. 30 km south west of Mombasa and just south of Kwale town. The surrounding escarpment rises from around 120m to 300m across the bulk ofthe plateau and as high as 450m at Marere and Pengo hills.

All hills have views points, which offer splendid views of the hilly and forested countryside and faras the Indian Ocean and Chale lsland to the East and the Tsavo plains and Taita hills to the West.

What t0 See

Sable Antelopes

This very small park is also the sanctuary of the last breeding herd of indigenous sable antelope (Hippotragus niger roosevelt) in Kenya. People often consider this typical saber-horned antelope as the most beautiful of the large antelopes. You can spot them more easily on the central grasslands (Buffalo ridge) and around the old airstrip (near Longo forest).

Best time is early morning or late afternoon. Large and gregarious animals with long scimitar-shaped horns, they have a black colour coat marked with white stripes on their face and under-parts. ln the past, this African savanna antelopes were preys of many hunters and the species was almost extinct in Kenya.

A Unique Habitat For Elephants

The tropical forests of Shimba Hills National Park are a unique habitat for elephants of the Kenyan coast. The best place to spot them is in the Elephant lookout (Giriama Point) or along the forested area such as Longo forest, but herds can be seen all over the park as there is more than 600 elephants in the area. Note also that a fenced elephant corridor connects the Shimba Hills National Park to the Mwaluganje Forest and its elephant sanctuary

Wildlife ln The Park

Because vegetation cover is dense and the weather is very hot during the peak hours, animals rest in shades most of the day in the forest and may be hard to see. A visit very early in the morning and late afternoon is recommended.

Sheldrick Falls

To ensure safety, it is advisable to walk along the 2 km long way-marked footpath to the falls accompanied by a K.W.S. ranger. This is because there are occasional sightings of elephants or a few buffalos in the area. Remember to bring a hat and drinking water, as the path traverses steep uncovered grass plains and the weather can get very hot. David Sheldrick (1919-1977) discovered the falls.

It is a two hours pleasant walk from the parking area to this spectacular falls, which supply Tiwi and Diani with water. The track leading down to the cascade offers a scenic walk, count 45 minutes to descend and 1 hour to return. At the fall, don’t try to climb on the cliff as it is slippery but take a cold shower of25 meters high, swim safely in the cool water pool or even have a picnic by the cascades on sand.

The level ofthe pool depends ofthe season: during rain season, you can easily swim in the pool and there is one fall; during dry season, the pool is tiny and there are two spring waterfalls.

Ocean View Point & Giriama Point & other viewpoints

There are many viewpoints in Shimba Hills, all with views over the forested hills and the grass plains. These viewpoints are used to observe elephants so binoculars are a must. The eastern side of the park has more viewpoints than the western side and the scenery is more contrasted with forests and plains.

At the western side of the park, the Pengo hill (450 m) is the highest point of Shimba hills and on a very clear day, the Tsavo plains and the Taita Hills can be seen (and perhaps the Mount Kilimanjaro).

Ocean viewpoint offers a panoramic view over the hilly countryside and as faras the Kenyan coast and the (hale Island and there is a picnic site. The Giriama point is on the way towards Sheldrick Falls,

Mwaluganje Forest (Elephant Sanctuary)

Located at approximately14 km from the main gate of Shimba Hills N.P., the Elephant sanctuary is linked with the National park by a fenced elephant corridor, so there are chances to see elephants crossing the main red-soil road.

The forest is also home for endemic bird species and indigenous trees species such as Mbambakofi (Afzelia quanzensis), Mvule (Milicia excelsa) and Mgurure (Combretum schumanii) and six species of cycad, a fan-like plant that evolved 300 million years ago (Eucephalartos hildebrantii).

Visiting the park is a great opportunity to discover the dry red-soil of inland Kenya by doing a real safari and observing African elephants while being near the coast and still enjoying the freshness of the coastal breeze.

Where to Stay

Lodges

Aberdare Safari Hotels,

Tel: +254 (20) 5540780, 5535412.

Sel-catering Accommodation

Sable Bandas; Located 2 km from the Main Gate the Bandas have four units with a capacity of two, with a fully furnished kitchen. Reservations are made through the warden or KWS HQ, Nairobi.

CAMPING

2 public campsites: Professional (capacity 100), Makadara (capacity 50), 2 picnic sites Ocean view (capacity 50), Sheldrick Falls Walk (Capacity 50).

Best time to visit: All year round.

What to Take With You

Drinking water, picnic items and camping equipment if you intend to stay overnight.

Also useful are: binoculars, camera, hat, sunscreen and guidebooks

PLEASE RESPECT THE WILDLIFE CODE

  • Respect the privacy ofthe wildlife, this is their habitat.
  • Beware ofthe animals, they are wild and can be unpredictable.
  • Don‘t crowd the animals or make sudden noises or movements.
  • Don‘t feed the animals, it upsets their diet and leads to human dependence.
  • Keep quiet, noise disturbs the wildlife and may antagonize your fellow visitors.
  • Stay in your vehicle at all times, except at designated picnic or walking areas.
  • Keep below the maximum speed limit (40 kph/25 mph).
  • Never drive off-road, this severely damages the habitat.
  • When viewing wildlife keep to a minimum distance of 20 meters and pull to the side of the road so as to allow others to pass.
  • Leave no litter and never leave fires unattended or discard burning objects.
  • Respect the cultural heritage of Kenya, never take pictures of the local people or their habitat without asking their permission, respect the cultural traditions of Kenya and always dress with decorum.
  • Stay over or leave before dusk, visitors must vacate the Park between 7.00pm – 6.00am unless they are camping overnight. Night game driving is not allowed.

HOW T0 GET THERE

Roads:

From Mombasa, take the ferry at Likoni to access the southern coastline where Diani and Tiwi beaches are. Then, take the main A14 coast road l0 km southwards until you join the main crossroad. Take the road climbing to Kwale Town ((106). The main gate is located at 1 km from the C106 road and 3 km from Kwale. Park Gates: Main gate, Kivumoni Gate, Kidongo Gate and Shimba Gate.

Airstrips:

The reserve has one airstrip located near park headquarters.

Open:

Daily 6.00am – 6.00pm. Note: No entry is allowed on foot, and visitors will not be allowed into the Park after 6.15pm.

Current entry charges:

Obtainable via KWS HQ: Tel: +2S4(20)6000800, 6002345 – Fax: +254(20)6007024

Email: marketing@kws.go.ke – website: www.kws.go.ke

‘Safari Card‘ required?

At present the park does not operate the Safari Card system. Entry is by cash only.

The Warden:

Shimba Hills National Park, P.0. Box 30, Kwale – Kenya.

Tel: +254(040)2l04259/2041866, Cell: +254(722)397460, (727)034714, (70l)573054

Saiwa Swamp National Park

Sitatunga’s aquatic domain

Rippling quiet waters meander beneath the boardwalk amidst rustling reeds and bulrushes, as a glimpse of the  sleek Sitatunga antelope catches you by surprise. Sounds of nature fill the air as the rare De Brazza’s monkey rattles a branch and birds swirl in flight. Saiwa Swamp is nature’s private reserve. An ornithologist’s delight.

Saiwa Swamp National Park
Saiwa Swamp National Park

Swamp facts

The Kenyan government created the smallest National Park in Kenya to protect the habitat of the rare and endangered semi-aquatic sitatunga antelopes and Brazza’s monkeys. Saiwa Swamp abounds with birds and wildlife plus diverse and plentiful flowers and trees.

Dominated by bulrushes and other aquatic plants, winds its way through the wetland , and by run-off from the surrounding riverine forest.

Attractions

Wildlife

Saiwa Swamp National Park protects its resident population of Sitatunga antelope (tragelaphus spekei), which are believed to number as many as 100 animals.

Belonging to the larger antelope family, the Sitatunga is uniquely adapted for its favoured wetland habitat. The only other known Kenyan populations are in the papyrus swamps of Lake Victoria and the Kingwal Swamp near Kapsabet.

Crepuscular and extremely shy, these antelope hides in papyrus and almost submerge themselves when alarmed. Sitatunga’s have brown coats, transverse white stripes on their backs and elongaged splayed hooves which enable them to walk on the surface of the swamp. The males have twisted horns.

Look for the nocturnal pottos(relatives of the bushbaby), Spotted-necked otters, giant Iorest squirrels, the black and white colobus monkey, bushback and bush duiker as well as small groups of De Brazza’s monkeys.

Birdwatching

Birdlife is abundant. Waterbirds include the lesser jacana, grey heron and African black duck among others.

The forests shelter the Narina trogons, one of Kenya’s most spectacular forest birds. Watch for the collared and orange-tufted sunbirds, sipping nectar from the flowers of the forest edge. The yellow bishop often whirrs above the reeds, its blazing yellow back on display. Hartlaub’s marsh widowbird also frequents the rushes. Noisy Ross’s turaco’s are difficult to miss while the paradise flycatcher and the lovely black-headed qonolek 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 are 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 loveliest terrestrial orchids. The bronze and purple eulophia horsfallii, the fleshy pink satyrium crassicaule and the crimson satyrium sacculatum  orchids abound, including the comet orchid, with greeny—white , flowers fading to peach. Epiphtic ferns flourish.

The wetter riverine forest is marked by spreading afzelia trees and gigantic strangler figs(Ficus). Syzygium trees, with their dark-purple fruits, are not uncommon along the edge of the   swamp.

Insects

The swamp is exceptionally rich in dragonflies and damselflies. Butterflies include swallowtails and charaxes. The African mocker  swallowtail, papilio dardanus, is very common after the rains. Across the forest floor, ants swarm.

Reptiles and Amphibians

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-striped chameleon. They  are common, but easy to overlook due to their excellent camouflage.

Where to stay

Camping areas:

The park has a serviced campsite at the main gate. Facilities include hot showers, flush toilets, f barbeques, electricity plus various shades and shelters.

Other campsites and accommodation are available at the nearby Sirikwa Tented Camp located on the r main Kapenguria road, 6km after the Saiwa Swamp junction, it offers a campground with tents for hire  and a guest house too.

 What to take with you

Plenty of drinking water, picnic or camping items if you intend to stay overnight, plus binoculars, camera, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellent, anti-malaria prophylactics, walking shoes and  field guides.

Fact file

Area:2.9 sq km

Altitude: 1,820-1,880 meters above sea level

Location:  Trans Nzoia District, Rift Valley Province.

Gazetted:1974

Climate: Typical of African wetland habitats, the wet and dry climate ranges from  warm to cool and humid. Rainfall peaks around April, August and November to deliver an annual average of 1,250mm.

Vegetation: Swamp, riverine forest, bulrushes reeds

Mammals: includes Sitatunga, monkey, otter, genet cat, serval cat, mongoose, bushbuck and ratel.

Birds: 372 species including such rarities as Ross, turaco and blue-headed coucal.

Roads: The park has no roads, only walking trails.

Open daily: Dawn to dusk-6.00am to 6.00pm. No entry is permitted after 6.l5p.m All vehicles must park at the gate and entry is by foot only.

Current entry charges: Obtainable via KWS HQ ( Nairobi) +254 (20) 600800, 602345.

Email:  reservations@kws.go.ke

Safari card required? At present the Park do not operate the Safaricard. Entry is by cash only (Kshs, US$)

Contacts: The Senior Warden:

P.O.B0x 4506, Kipsaina Tel: +254 (020) 05455022

Email: saiwapark@kws.go.ke

How to get there

By road

Saiwa swamp National Park is 22km

Oldonyo Sabuk

ULTIMATE PANORAMIC EXPERIENCE

“The Mountain of the Buffalo”

A rugged hump-backed outcrop of ancient rockjutting high above the Athi plains and hazily visible from Nairobi. Ol Donyo Sabuk is densely forested mountain known to the local kikuyu as” the mountain of the buffalo. And to the maasai as ‘The big mountain’. Just one road leads to its summit, which offers magnificent 360’ panoramas over the Athi River. The pineapple fields Thika and the snow-capped peaks of both Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. Within easy reach of Nairobi, the lush vegetation and cool air of this compact. And scenic National Park make for an ideal day trip or camping weekend.

Oldonyo Sabuk
Oldonyo Sabuk

A montane landscape

The mountain’s slope and ravines essentially comprise the park, and the entire area is forested except for a small area at the top. Within the halo of primal forest at the summit, you can also find some of the giant plants more commonly associated with the Afro-alpine zone of Mount Kenya and Mount Elgon, particularly giant lobelia.

Driving to the summit

The Park’s one road leads directly to the summit (4WD required all year round) a flat open glade marked by a large survey beacon. The summit is the focus of the park and offers breathtaking views, especially in December and January when the air is particularly clear.

Walking to the summit

Due to security reasons, the 9 km walk from the main gate (where 2WD vehicles can be left) to the summit was long prohibited. However, now it is possible to undertake the walk as long as an armed KWS ranger accompanies you. The walk to the summit will take approximately 3 hours. To avail the services of a KWS ranger, you must book through the warden and pay a small fee.

An unusual burial site

Along the road to the summit, you will find the grave of Sir William Northrup McMillan, a wealthy American farmer. They had to abandon the intended burial place on the summit when the vehicles accompanying his hearse burned out on the steep slope. Here also rests his wife, her maid and the family dog.

Wildlife watching

As the name suggests, the animals in the park are dominated by buffalo, which are often attracted to the salt lick below the summit. Additionally, it is easy to spot bushbuck in the park.

Leopards and porcupine are also in residence, but may prove more difficult to spot in the thick bush.

Abundant forest birds

Easily spotted species include: white-browed sparrow weaver, grey-headed sparrow weaver, African pied wagtail, mourning dove, augur buzzard, African hawk eagle, purple-breasted sunbird, yellow-vented bulbul, speckled mousebird,helmeted guinea fowl, black headed oriole, grey tit, ring-necked dove, bateleur, great sparrow-hawk, bronze sunbird, superb starling, red-necked cordon bleu and Mackinnon grey shrike.

Butterfly kingdom

At certain times of the year, usually after the start of the rains, there is a colourful showing of butterflies on the mountain, particularly of the swallowtails and charaxes species. Within the park, it is sometimes common to see the relatively rare haraxes nandina.

Geology

0l-Donyo Sabuk is a remnant of Africa’s oldest erosion surface, generally regarded as late Jurassic. Lava (molten rock) escaped from fissures in the earth’s crust, forming the monotonous lava plateau of the Athi plains that surrounds the mountain. The lava gradually filled the valleys and smoothed the contours of the original landscape, leaving behind a residual hump of metamorphic rock.

The ‘Fourteen Falls’: while en route to the park take time to admire thika famous ‘ Fourteen Falls’. These are located half—way between Makutano and Ol Donyo Sabuk. The falls are sign posted to the leftjust before the bridge crossing the Athi River, and lie lkm, down a track.

WHERE T0 STAY LODGES, TENTED CAMPS

There is no lodge or tented camp in the park at the moment.

Self—catering accommodation

Sabuk House. This is KWS self-catering GuestHouse. The facility is fully furnished with a living room area, dining area, well-equipped kitchen, and conference room. It can accommodate up to 10 persons. You can make reservations through the Warden or KWS Headquarters. Nairobi.

Tel: +254(20)6000800, 6002345. Email: marketing@kws.go.ke.

Website: www.kws.go.ke.

Turracco Public Campsite

Visitors can camp at the public campsite near the main gate. Facilities include picnic benches, water, latrines and showers.

Picnic Area

Visitor can picnic at the picnic site near the main gate or at lookout point which is at the mountain. At the point clients have an exellent view of Athi plains, Nairobi City, Thika industrial town, Ngong Hills and the expansive Kapiti plains of Kajiado District while enojoying the rest of the park.

WHEN T0 G0

All year round. After heavy rain, the road leading to the main gate may require a 4WD (four-wheel drive) vehicle.

WHAT T0 TAKE WITH YOU

Drinking water and picnic items (and camping equipment if you intend to stay overnight). Also useful are: camera, binoculars, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellant and guidebook.

Introduction.

Best tourist hotels in Mombasa include; Serena Beach Resort & Spa, Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa, Nyali Sun Africa Beach Hotel & Spa,  Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort & Spa, Neptune Beach Resort.

  Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort & Spa.

Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort & Spa: One of the largest beach resorts in East Africa it is popular since it features spacious rooms, a water park, multiple restaurants, and a spa.

Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa.

Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa situated in Diani Beach is a resort that offers beautiful rooms, direct beach access, multiple swimming pools, restaurants, and a spa.

Nyali Sun Africa Beach Hotel & Spa.

Nyali Sun Africa Beach Hotel & Spa is another of the best tourist hotels in Mombasa Situated in Nyali, it features modern rooms, a large swimming pool, a spa, and direct access to the beach.

Neptune Beach Resort.

Neptune Beach Resort is located in Bamburi Beach, this resort offers comfortable accommodations, swimming pools, restaurants, and a variety of water sports.

 

Ngangao Forest

Ngangao Forest is a forest reserve located in the Taita Hills of Taita Taveta County in Kenya. It covers an area of approximately 6,000 hectares and is situated at an altitude of 1,800-2,200 meters above sea level. The forest is part of the Eastern Arc Mountains, a range of ancient mountains that stretches from Kenya to Tanzania.

Ngangao Forest
Ngangao Forest

Attractions

Bird watching

Ngangao Forest is home to over 200 bird species, making it a paradise for bird watchers. Some of the bird species found in the forest include the African green pigeon, Narina trogon, and the emerald cuckoo.

Hiking

There are several hiking trails in Ngangao Forest that offer visitors the chance to explore the forest’s diverse ecosystem. These trails are suitable for both experienced hikers and beginners.

Nature Walks

If you prefer a more leisurely pace, you can take a nature walk through the forest and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.

Butterfly watching

The forest is also home to a variety of butterfly species, including the African giant swallowtail, the brown-veined white, and the African queen.

Picnicking

There are several picnic sites where visitors can relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

Camping

If you want to spend more time, you can camp at one of the designated camping sites. Camping is a great way to immerse yourself in the forest and experience its beauty at night.

Wildlife viewing

Ngangao Forest is home to a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, bushbucks, and duikers. Visitors can spot these animals while on a hike or nature walk.

Photography

The Forest provides a beautiful backdrop for photography enthusiasts. The forest’s lush greenery and diverse wildlife make it a great location for nature photography.

 

Best hotels in Taita Taveta County

best hotels in Taita Taveta county
best hotels in Taita Taveta county

  1. Sarova Salt Lick Game Lodge: Located in Taita Hills Wildlife Conservancy, this lodge offers luxurious accommodations and stunning views of the surrounding wilderness.
  2. Lion’s Bluff Lodge: Perched on the edge of a bluff overlooking the plains of Tsavo West National Park, this eco-friendly lodge offers breathtaking views and comfortable accommodations.
  3. Voi Wildlife Lodge: Located inside Tsavo East National Park, this lodge offers an authentic African safari experience with spacious rooms, a swimming pool, and game drives.
  4. Taita Hills Safari Resort & Spa: This luxurious resort offers stylish accommodations, a spa, swimming pool, and a variety of activities such as game drives and cultural tours.
  5. Ashnil Aruba Lodge: Located in Tsavo East National Park, this lodge offers comfortable accommodations and game drives to spot the Big Five and other wildlife.

Attractions around Taita Taveta

Taita Taveta is a county in Kenya located in the Coast Province. It is home to a number of natural and cultural attractions that are worth visiting. Some of the top attractions in Taita Taveta include:

Attractions around Taita Taveta
Attractions around Taita Taveta

This is one of the largest and oldest wildlife parks in Kenya. And it is home to a diverse range of animals, including elephants, lions, zebras, giraffes, and more.

  1. Tsavo West National Park: This park is located in the southern part of Taita Taveta. Its scenic beauty, wildlife, and birdlife are known. It is home to the Mzima Springs, a natural water source that attracts a variety of animals.
  2. Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary: This sanctuary is located in the Taita Hills and is home to a variety of wildlife, including elephants, lions, and buffalo. Over 300 species of birds are found in the area, making it known for its birdlife.
  3. Lake Jipe: This is a shallow lake located on the border between Kenya and Tanzania. Over 300 species of birds are found in the area, making it known for its birdlife.
  4. Wundanyi: This is a small town located in the Taita Hills, known for its scenic beauty and cultural heritage. It is home to the Taita Hills Forest, which is a popular hiking and birdwatching destination.
  5. Mzima Springs: This is a natural spring located in Tsavo West National Park, known for its crystal-clear water and resident hippos and crocodiles.
  6. Shomoto Hill: This is a scenic hill located in the Taita Hills, known for its panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
  7. Ngangao Forest: This is a pristine forest located in the Taita Hills, known for its unique birdlife and hiking trails.
  8. Taita Hills Cultural Centre: This is a museum and cultural center located in Wundanyi, dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of the Taita people.
  9. Sagalla Hill: This is a scenic hill located in the Taita Hills, known for its panoramic views and hiking trails. Additionally, it is also home to a number of caves that were once used by the Taita people.

Lake Elementaita Lodge

Lake Elementaita Lodge is a luxurious resort located in the Rift Valley of Kenya, near Lake Elementaita. The lodge is set on a private wildlife sanctuary, offering stunning views of the lake and surrounding hills. The lodge is designed to offer a unique African experience with modern amenities and personalized services.

Lake Elementaita Lodge
Lake Elementaita Lodge

Accommodation

  1. Standard Rooms: These are the most basic rooms at the lodge, but they are still luxurious and comfortable. Each room has a private balcony with a view of the lake. A king-sized bed, a flat-screen TV, a mini-fridge, and an en-suite bathroom.
  2. Deluxe Rooms: These rooms are more spacious than the standard rooms and come with a larger balcony with a view of the lake. They also have a king-sized bed, a flat-screen TV, a mini-fridge, and an en-suite bathroom.
  3. Superior Rooms: These rooms are the most luxurious at the lodge and are perfect for those looking for extra comfort and luxury. They feature a separate living area, a larger balcony with a view of the lake, a king-sized bed, a flat-screen TV, a mini-fridge, and an en-suite bathroom.

Dining

The lodge has several dining options, including a main restaurant that serves a variety of local and international dishes. There is also a bar where guests can enjoy a variety of drinks and snacks.

Activities

The lodge offers a range of activities for guests, including game drives, bird watching, nature walks, horse riding, and cycling. The lodge has its own private airstrip, making it easily accessible by air.

Overall, Elementaita is a great destination for those looking for a luxurious and authentic African experience in a stunning natural setting.