Saiwa Swamp is Kenya’s smallest National Park with an area of less than 3 km’b2. The relatively little visited park was created to protect the habitat of the rare semi-aquatic and endangered Sitatunga antelope. It has no roads and does not need them, thus is traversed by some 18 km of walking trails and well-timbered walkways and four observation towers, which can be climbed to achieve an aerial view of the swamp and its unique inhabitants. Besides hosting more than 370 species of birds, including forest birds and water fowls, the swamp is also home to other wildlife including various species of monkeys, porcupines, several cats, fish otters, snakes and fish. Saiwa Swamp remains, the only place in Kenya where the elusive Sitatunga have become relatively habituated to the proximity of humans. Their shaggy coat is oily and water repellent, while its elongated hooves allow it to move on submerged vegetation. Easily able to outrun its predators while in the swamp, on land it is clumsy. As a good swimmer, when alarmed, the Sitatunga dives deep and remains almost entirely submerged, but for the tip of its nose. Extremely shy, it prefers to feed in the morning and evening and occasionally leaves the swamp after dark to browse. Cool, shaded and compact, the park offers an ideal dawn walk, an enchanting ornithological or forest safari.
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