Ruma National Park Kenya is renowned as dramatic Valley of the Roan Antelope and Oribi and home to a mosaic of landscape ranging from riverine woodland and rolling savannah to beautiful escarpments and towering cliffs. The park is also Kenya’s last remaining sanctuary for the endangered roan antelope. It lies on the flat floor of the seasonally watered Lambwe River Valley bordered by the Kanyamwe Escarpment to the South-East and by the Volcanic plugs of the Ruri Hills to the north and birding here is exceptional.
Other fact, Ruma is also the only protected area in Kenya where the globally threatened blue swallow, a scarce intra-African migrant, which is regularly recorded. It There are blue swallow which depend upon moist grassland for both feeding and roosting, arrive in Kenya from their breeding grounds in Southern Tanzania at around the month April and depart again in September.
Ruma National Park boosts with a humid climate, the long rains falling April -June and the short rains falling October- December. It lies on low and high altitude measuring about 1,200 – 1,600 meters.
Key features Of Ruma National Park Kenya
Ruma National Park is located in Western Kenya, close to the shores of Lake Victoria – an Island of wilderness in a sea of intense cultivation. More so, the park lies in one of the most productive and populous regions in Kenya and one of the country’s more rewarding but less visited by the tourists.
A vivid and Varied Landscape
The park is situated on the flat floor of the seasonally watered Lambwe River Valley. It is bordeed by the Kanyamwa Escarpment to the South-East, and by the Volcanic Plugs of the Ruri Hills, to the North. Ruma has a long, narrow corridor of land contained on a fist-shaped peninsular extending into Lake Victoria. It’s terrain stuns mainly rolling grassland with tracts of open woodland thickets. The soils are largely black cotton clay.
Attractions in Ruma National Park Kenya
The Last Refuge of the Roan Antelope
The Roan antelope is one of the Africa unique antelopes and the third largest of Kenya’s antelopes, the roan or ‘’Korongo as it is known in Swahili’’ is a large, grey to rufous antelope with a distinctive black and white face, unlike a tribal mask.
They live herds of upto 20 members, led by a bull.
The Oribis Antelope
This is a small species and graceful oribi antelopes ‘’known as Taya in Swahili’’.
They have conspicuous bare black glandular patch below the ears and a short black -tipped tail as well as black knee tufts.
They live in bonded pairs or small groups – Oribi inhabit grassland and dense undergrowth.
Realm of rare birds
Ruma’s birdlife is exceptional. Ruma National Park is also safari place in Kenya where the globally threatened blue swallow, a scarce intra-African migrant, they are regularly recorded.
There are blue swallows, which depends upon moist grassland for both feeding and roosting, arrive in Kenya from their breeding grounds in Southern Tanzania around the month of April and depart again in September.
Ruma offers tourists high opportunity to explore various wildlife species including the Rothschild’s giraffe, Serval cat, hyena, impala, Vervet monkey, roan antelope, Oribis, bohor reedbuck, leopard, buffalo and Jackson’s hartebeest among others.
Recently the park introduced and re-introduced species like Black rhino, White rhino, Burchell’s zebra whose populations have adapted quite good.
The roan antelope, Oribi and Jackson’s hartebeest are easily seen in Ruma than elsewhere in Kenya.
Rich in Reptiles
Ruma National Park is an exceptional snake population. Reptile species which are easily spotted include; African spitting cobra, forest cobra, python, Eastern green mamba, black-mouthed mamba and puff adder. The park is also home to lizard, skink and gecko
Activities to do in Ruma National Park Kenya;
They include; Bird watching, Game viewing, Camping, Boat cruise on Lake Victoria
Game drive viewing is one of the most done and enjoyed activity in the park. It gives you chances to enjoy scenic landscapes as well as the exceptional wildlife species like roan antelopes, Rothschild’s giraffes, elephants, buffaloes, Eastern black rhinos and bush pigs. The best time to watch all this with no regrets is during the dry seasons.
Visitors here can take part in walking safari that offers an up-close chance to interact with the beautiful nature as well as enjoying great sights of the wildlife.
There are more than 400 species of birds in Ruma national park making it a birders haven. While on your birding tour here expect to spot the migrant Blu swallow, Kingfishers, Sunbirds and African fish eagles. The best time for birdwatching is during the rainy season, when food is in plenty and best time to see various number of migrant species.
Camping is rewarding here, where you get to enjoy the wilderness and have picnic with some of the picnic sites of Twiga and Korlang’s sites.
Boat cruises on Lake Victoria
One engaging on Boat ride is the best way to explore the wildlife on the shores of Lake Victoria like Hippo and Crocodiles as well as aquatic bird species such as Kingfishers, Pelicans and African fish eagles among others. Also expect to watch the sunset while enjoying a barbeque on request or a glass of juice.
Best time to visit;
Ruma National Park can be visited all year round; however, Game viewing is best during the dry season from June to October and from January to February.
How to get there;
The park’s main gate is located 42kilometers away from Homa Bay. Then from Homa Bay take the main C20 tarmac road in the direction of Rongo.
After driving 10kilometers branch off to the right at Rodi Kopany and proceed 20kilomters to Mirogi. From Mirogi follow the sign posts to the park, entering at Kamato Main gate, a distance of 12kilometer on a murram road from Mirogi.
Where to Stay;
Ruma National Park is one of the untouched wildernesses, you shouldn’t miss on your bucket list or Kenya tour package. However, the park boosts with perfect safari accommodation ‘’hotels, lodges and campsites ‘’ranging from Luxury, Mid-range and Budget. Some of the lodges; Oribi Guest House and Nyati Campsite.
What to take with you
Carry useful essential like; your food stuffs, drinking water and picnic items and if you intend to stay overnight – carry your camping equipment.
Other items include; Camera, binoculars, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellent and guidebooks.
Lastly, a traveler can decide to combine the tour package visit Kenya and Uganda primates ‘’Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and get to meet up with our closest relatives the great mountain gorillas said to have 98% DNA to human being.