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Mount Elgon National Reserve and Ruma National Park.


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Mount Elgon National Reserve.

Mount Elgon, on the Kenya-Uganda border is a volcanic mountain, formed when the earth's crust erupted, creating the Great Rift Valley. The park is one of Kenya's most beautiful, wild and intact, with vast areas of untouched forest.

Game viewing is excellent: the park is home to about 400 elephants, buffalos, leopard, the protected colobus and blue monkeys, the giant forest hog, waterbuck and other types of antelope. Over 240 species of birds have been recorded. The huge Elgon teak and cedar trees, some over 80ft. tall dominate the forest scenery.

JOURNEY TO MOUNT ELGON

A major attraction is a series of four caves: Kitum, Makingeni, Chepnyalil and Ngwarisha, all of which are explorable. Kitum is the largest, extending horizontally for 200m into the heart of the mountain. In Maasai, its name means Place of Ceremonies. The caves are favourite gathering places for elephants. Every night, long convoys venture deep into the caves to feed on the salt rich deposits. This phenomenon has earned them the title "underground elephants".

Mount Elgon also offers excellent climbing and walking opportunities. No special equipment for hiking is required and the park management provides guides. The highest peak on the Kenyan side is Koitobos (4,200m). It is accessed through beautiful moorlands and springs that can be seen along the way.

The Mount Elgon Park is criss-crossed by four rivers, leading to Lake Turkana: the Nzoia, Suam, Kerio and Turkwell. Sport fishing is possible in the Suam River. There are no lodges in the park, but there are three campsites and a picnic site. Three short nature trails lead to Kitum Cave, Makingeni cave and the Elephant Bluff.

Ruma National Park

Ruma National Park (formerly called Lambwe Valley National Reserve), is located in Western Kenya, and was established in 1966 but its isolation, and consequent lack of income, ensured a very slow pace of development.

With its recent conversion into a National Park game viewing tracks and general park maintenance have been established.

Ruma National Park is a fine place to see roan antelope and Jackson's hartebeest, a larger and redder species than Coke's Hartebeest, which is found in most Kenya parks. Oribi, one of the smallest of the antelope family, is also seen here and among the predators are lion, hyena and cheetah.

Ruma National Park is a delightful park for the returning guest or for anyone wishing to achieve isolation on their safari. There is no accommodation nearer than Homa Bay, about 34 kilometer distant from the nearest park gate.

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