Ruma National Park is found in western Kenya, along the shore of Lake Victoria which is the largest fresh water lake in Africa. It was formerly called Lambwe Valley Game reserve but in 1983, it changed name to Ruma National Park on request by the local community. The name originates from a once powerful wizard that once occupied this area.
The park is managed by the Kenya Wild life service and occupies a total of 120 square kilometers. This park is famous for the large herds of roan antelopes roaming the plans in southern Nyanza province, near the lake. The landscape is major black cotton clay soils nurturing fresh pastures, acaia woodlands, savannah grasslands and some parts are used for cultivation by the community.
Besides the roan antelopes that can only be found here, other species of game in Ruma National Park include hyena, impala, bush pig, honey badgers, serval, topi, baboon, hartebeest, leopard, buffalo, bush pig, Rothschild giraffe and the vervet monkey among others
Ruma National park is classified as one of the important birding areas in Kenya. More than 350 species of birds are found here including the rare African migrant Blue swallow, king fisher, fishing eagles, sun birds and many others. other interesting activities in the park include game drives (4WD), safari walks and sun downer cruises on the Lake Victoria waters.
Access to the park is by road; from Kisumu-it is just 140km to the park while if you are taking the ferry on Lkae Victoria, the park is 10km east of Lake Victoria and south of Homa bay. Travel form Nairobi the capital is 425km into Kisumu port town. It is open to tourists every day 7h00 to 18h00. There are two gates to the park, Main gate at Kamato 42km from Homa Bay and another gate at Nyatoto. Kisumu airport has schedules for flights from Nairobi as well as charter flights for some tourists visiting the different parks.
The weather is good all through the year with 2 rainy seasons-the short rains in October to December and the Long rains in April to June. The best time to visit for birding is during the rainy season while game viewing is great for the dry months of January to April and later July to October.
There are two camping sites in the park, one at Nyati and another called the fig tree. Outdoor camping is one of the best ways to discover this Kenya wildlife park. Oribi Guesthouse is another option for accommodation in the park although self catering services are used. The guest house has a clear view of the escarpment and the rolling hills of western Kenya and a fully equipped kitchen facility.
Picnics in the park are allowed for designated areas. Korlang’o picnic site is not only a historic site located within the park it is good for family holidays and weekend. This site was formerly used by the Kalejin living in this area to escape the colonial hand of the British as they reached into the Lambwe valley. Twiga Picnic site is another site for picnics, dramatically located at the heart of the park.