A Guide To Ruma National Park
The 120sq km Ruma National Park is close to the shores of Africa’s largest inland lake, Lake Victoria. It is situated in Lambwe Valley in South Nyanza, 425km from Nairobi, 140km from Kisumu, 10km east of Lake Victoria and south west of Homa Bay. It lies on the flat floor of the Lambwe valley, bordered by the Kanyamwa escarpment to the south-east, Gwassi hills, Sumba Hill and Ruri Hils to the north.
It was initially established as the Lambwe Valley Game Reserve in 1966 to protect an indigenous population of rare Roan antelope, which is found nowhere else in Kenya. In 1983 it was gazetted as a national park. It was renamed ‘Ruma’ upon request of the local community. The area had been so named by one of kenya’s most powerful wizard, the much-feared Gor Mahia, who lived near the park.
Facts About Ruma National Park
Area: 120 Square Kilometers
Open: 6.00am to 7.00pm daily
Birds: More than 400 recorded species
Location: Suba District,Nyanza Province
Altitude: 1,200- 1,600 meters above sea level
Animals: Giraffe, Hyena, Impala and Velvet
Ruma National Park is the last retreat of the Roan Antelope
Vegetation: Savanna grassland and woodland with extensive acacia thickets
Roads: 4 DW is recommended all year round and essential in the rainy seasons
Note: No entry is allowed on foot and visitors are not allowed entry after 6.15pm
climate: Humid climate, long rains falling April – June.
What To See At Ruma National Park
The park is a mix of rolling savannah and woodlands. The Roan antelope, which is not found anywhere else in the country, leopards, buffaloes, hyenas, Rothschild giraffes, oribis, Impalas, bohor reedbucks, serval cats, topis, baboons, vervet monkeys, honey badgers and bush pigs are the dominant game in the park.
The park has more than 400 species of birds. It is renowned for rare intra-African migrant, the blue swallow. The park provides an unspoilt world for game lovers, bird watchers, historians and campers. It is also an ideal place for meditation, team building, picnics and sundowners.
The main access to the park is from Kisumu through Homa Bay (140km) and via Kisii (65km). Two campsites, Nyati and Fig Tree, are accessible to visitors. Korlang’o picnic site is another venue with a history
The Kalenjin used it as an escape route during the colonial time when they were taken to the Lambwe Valley to die for resisting British rule. It had tsetse fly and malaria was ominous. Twiga picnic site is in the middle of the park and visitors are allowed to give snacks to animals.
The Oribi Guest house is a unique self-catering site on the Kanyamwa Escarpment. It is ideal for an overnight stay due to its attributes of tranquility, wilderness, scenic beauty and bewitching sunset It has a full-equipped kitchen and three bedrooms that accommodate a maximum five people.
Atrractions Ruma National Park
The Last Refuge of the Roan Antelope
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One of Africas’ rarest 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, not unlike a tribal mask. Roans live in herds of upto 20 members, led by a bull.
The Oribi Antelope
The small and graceful oribi antelope (known as Taya in Swahili) has a conspicuous bare black glandular patch below the ears, a short black-tipped tail and black knee tufts. Living in strongly bonded pairs or small groups, oribi inhabit grassland and dense undergrowth.
What to do at Ruma National Park
Realm of rare birds
Ruma’s birdlife is exceptional. The park is also the only protected area in Kenya where the globally threatened blue swallow, a scarce intra-African migrant, is regularly recorded. Blue swallows, which depend upon moist grassland for both feeding and roosting, arrive in Kenya from their breeding grounds in Southern Tanzania around April and depart again in September.
Ruma offers visitors an opportunity to see various wildlife species including the Rothschild’s giraffe, serval cat, hyena, impala, vervet monkey, roan antelope, oribi, bohor reedbuck, leopard, buffalo, and Jackson’s hartebeest. Recently introduced and re-introduced species are Black rhino,White rhino, Burchell′s zebra whose populations have adapted quite well. The roan antelope, Oribi and Jackson’s hartebeest are easily spotted in Ruma than anywhere else in Kenya.
Rich in Reptiles
Ruma has an exceptional snake population. Easily spotted species include: The African spitting cobra, forest cobra, python, eastern green mamba, black-mouthed mamba and puff adder. The park also abounds in lizard, skink and gecko.
Accommodation and hotels in Ruma National Park
KWS Self Catering
How to get to Ruma National Park
- The main gate is 42km from Homa Bay. From Homa Bay take the main C20 tarmac road in the direction of Rongo. After 10km branch off to the right at Rodi Kopany and proceed 20km to Mirogi. At Mirogi follow the signs to the Park, entering at Kamato Main gate, a distance of 12km on a murram road from Mirogi
Ruma National Park fees
Adults KSH: 350
Child KSH: 200
Adults KSH: 600
Child KSH: 350
Non – Resident
Ruma National Park Contacts
Attraction Type: Wildlife
Category: National Park, Birding Site
City / Town: Homabay
Road / Street: Homa Bay Road
Telephone: 254 20 352 9119 254 721 762255
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