Ruma National Park is situated in the western direction of Nairobi not far from Lake Victoria and south west of Homa bay.
The landscape in Ruma national park is characterized by a diverse environment which varies from savannah, towering cliffs, woodland, acacia thickets, volcanic plugs to riverine woodland in this national park which is sometimes referred to as the last retreat of the roan antelope because it is a sanctuary for these species of antelopes.
This national park was initially established as Lambwe valley game reserve before being gazetted as a national park to protect its indigenous species of the rare roan antelopes known as “Korongo” in the Swahili language. The roan antelopes for which Ruma national park is known are said to exist nowhere else in Kenya.
This national park was named “Ruma” upon the request of the locals after the area had been named by one of Kenya’s most powerful and feared wizards who lived around the national park called Gormahia.
The soils of Ruma national park are generally black clay due to the volcanic rocks deposited in the previous basin making the land favorable for wildlife conservation since the land cannot be used for other purposes such as economic purposes.
Ruma national park lies in the Lambwe valley and is bordered by Kanyamwa escarpment in the south west, Gwasi hill and Sumba hill and Ruri hill to the north. This national park can be visited all year round for an amazing wildlife experience in one of Kenya’s remote national parks.
This national park is divided into four zones which include the closed zone, low use zone, high use zone, influence zone. These zones all serve various purposes which include; acting as a breeding place for roan antelopes, for high wildlife viewing experiences and the community land within the park boundary.
This national park is managed by the Kenya wildlife services as well as some of the lodges and campsites in Ruma national park are under the management of the Kenya Wildlife Services. Other duties of the Kenya Wildlife Services include protecting, restoring and monitoring wildlife species, conserving wildlife habitats among others.
Ruma national park can be accessed from two entrances and they include the Kamato gate and Nyatoto gate.
Access for tourism purposes in Ruma national park can be through the following means;
- By road; from Nairobi via Nakuru, Kericho, and Kisii. This Kenya national park can also be accessed from Homa bay.
- By air; scheduled and chartered flights are available to Homa bay to airstrips such as Kamboyo airstrip, Kasigau airstrip, Makatau airstrip, Kilanguni Finch Hamptons airstrip, Jipe airstrip, and Ziwani airstrip.
Attractions in Ruma National Park
Attractions in Ruma national park include the following;
- Wildlife species that can be sighted in this national park are of a variety and can be observed at different times of day during the game viewing activity. The wildlife species which are sighted include leopard, buffalo, hyena, roan antelope, Rothschild giraffe, baboons, honey badgers, cape buffaloes, lelwel hartebeests, vervet monkeys, and many other wildlife species. The roan antelope is one of the rare species of antelope and Ruma national park is known for being the location in Kenya where they can be seen. The oribi antelopes and a variety of reptiles such as the African spitting cobra, forest cobra, python, eastern green mamba, black mouthed mamba, puff adder, and many other reptiles can also be seen along with other wildlife species in this national park.
- Bird species within Ruma national park include the migratory and native bird species such as the following the blue swallow, ostriches, sunbirds, kingfishers, African fish eagle, pelicans among others. The blue swallow is one of the unique, rare and simply exceptional birds which can be seen in this national park and they are known to depend on moist grassland for feeding and roosting and also for migrating between Ruma national park and Tanzania. This makes birding possible to some extent. This makes birding tours possible.
- Lambwe river valley and Kanyamua escarpments are characterized by tertiary volcanic rocks, riverine woodlands, granites, and alkaline black soils. The Lambwe river is also the only natural source of water for the wildlife species in Ruma national park.
- Cultural attractions include a visit to the Luo homesteads as well as other tribes living near Ruma national park include Abasuba and the Kiisi communities. These communities are known for having a rich culture despite the influence of modernity. They majorly practice farming and fishing. The local communities around Ruma national park have interesting cultural practices accompanied by song and dance with traditional music instruments.
Activities done in Ruma Park Kenya
Activities for tourists to engage in during a visit to Ruma national park include the following;
- Game viewing takes place during game drives in Ruma national park where a variety of wildlife species can be sighted as the tourists drive through the park’s spectacular landscape and well developed and maintained game tracks. This activity of game viewing is possible at different times of day in Ruma national park offering different sightings of wildlife species such as leopard, buffalo, hyena, roan antelope, Rothschild giraffe, baboons, honey badgers, cape buffaloes, lelwel hartebeests, vervet monkeys among others. The game drives range from morning game drives, evening game drives, and full day game drives. Morning game drives reward tourists with a wider chance of viewing the wildlife species as they are more active at this time of day. Full day game drives allow the tourists to view the wildlife species and study their behavior at different intervals of day in terms of how they feed, survival and many other aspects. The evening game drives offer slight chances of viewing the wildlife species as they are resting during evening hours and are in hidden locations making the game viewing activity a little difficult and less rewarding.
- Hiking can best be carried out in the Gwassi hills which can be seen in the back drop of Ruma national park. A variety of plant species can be seen during the hike in this national park and they include natural forests, wild forest fruits, and many others.
- Bird watching gives the tourists an opportunity to see the rare blue swallow which can be seen in Ruma national park. This national park is said to have a variety of over 400 bird species which include ostriches, sunbirds, kingfishers, African fish eagle, pelicans among others.
- Boat cruises take place on Lake Victoria in Ruma national park and this activity allows the tourists to view the various wildlife species while relaxing in the comfort of their boat. This activity also gives an opportunity to watch the captivating sunset on the waters of Lake Victoria.
- Fishing is also done on the Lake Victoria which is located within a close distance of Ruma national park. A variety of fish species are caught along this Lake which is also shared by other countries such as Uganda and Tanzania.
- Nature walks engage the tourists in close interaction with the wilderness and the natural environment in Ruma national park with special attention given to the smallest attractions such as the plant species and other unique features in the national park. The variety of tree density, canopy cover, and dominant grass species are among the attractions which can be seen during the nature walks.
Accommodation in Ruma national park ranges from luxury accommodation, midrange accommodation and budget accommodation. Some of the accommodation facilities are located around the national parks while other accommodation facilities are within Ruma national park and they include the following;
- Luxury accommodation; Mfagano island camp, Rusinga island lodge
- Midrange accommodation; the golden rays resort, Ruma river lodge
- Budget accommodation; ACK guesthouse, Oribi guesthouse, hotel twin towers, Oyugis hill breeze hotel, hotel hippo buck, Ruma tourist lodge
Camping option is also available for tourists visiting Ruma national parks and they include Twiga campsite and Korlang’o site, Nyati special campsite, Fig tree public campsite among others.
Explore the land of the roan antelope, oribi and so much more during a visit to Ruma national park.