18-08-2021 by Leni Frau
Ruma National Park is located in western Kenya, near the shores of Lake Victoria in one of the most productive and populous regions of Kenya, and is one of the most fascinating but lesser known parks in the country.
The area covers an area of 120 square kilometers, characterized by various and different environments and landscapes: large expanses of savannah with acacia groves, magnificent rocky slopes of mountains and volcanoes and slopes of black clay soil.
Initially established as a game reserve, called Lambwe Valley Game Reserve, to protect its indigenous population of roan antelopes, in 1983 it was declared a national park and is now the only refuge in Kenya where it is possible to see this now rare species of herbivores.
The park was named "Ruma" at the request of local people after the surrounding area was named after one of Kenya's most powerful witch doctors, Gor Mahia, who lived right on the edge of the park.
This verdant corridor in the Lambwe River valley, enclosed between the volcanic Ruri Hills and the steep slopes of Kanyamwa, is a haven of peace for rare and globally threatened wildlife. As well as being the only place where the roan antelope lives, the park is also the only protected area in Kenya where the blue swallow is regularly recorded. Blue swallows, which migrate to the wet grasslands for both feeding and resting, arrive in Kenya from their breeding grounds in southern Tanzania around April and stay until September.
The avifauna in the park is exceptional, there are more than 400 species of birds such as kingfishers, sunbirds and African fish eagles.
Ruma offers visitors the opportunity to see various species of wildlife in addition to the roan antelope or the small and graceful oribi antelope, including giraffes, hyenas, impalas, buffalo, elephants, rhinos and zebras recently reintroduced, as well as felines and other mammals. Reptile lovers will also not be disappointed as easily spotted species include: African spitting cobra, forest cobra, python, eastern green mamba, black-mouthed mamba, and puff adder.
How to get there:
The main gate, Kamato Gate is located 42 km from Homa Bay.
From Homa Bay, take the main paved road C20 towards Rongo. After 10 km, take the right fork and proceed for 20 km to Mirogi. From Mirogi follow the signs to the Park and proceed on a dirt road for about 12 km.
The other entrance, further north is called Nyatoto Gate.
Entrance: Resident adults 250 Kshs, children 100 Kshs. Non-resident adults 20USD, children 10USD.
photo credit KWS
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