This page was last updated 25th August, 2010

Kenya's west coast - Lake Victoria Safari Village

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Ruma National Game Park

The home of the only Roan Antelopes in Kenya

Location

00° 35’ S & 34° 12’ E in Nyanza Province, Suba District, Kenya

Altitude = 1200 – 1600 meters above sea level., Area 12.000 hectares

How do you get there

Driving time from Mbita is about 45 mins. (about 25 km)

Site Description

Ruma National Park was first gazetted in 1966 as Lambwe Valley Game Reserve, and acquired National Park status in 1983. It is situated 10 km east of Lake Victoria in Western Kenya, southwest of Homa Bay and east of Gembe and Gwasi Hills. It lies on the flat floor of the Lambwe Valley, bordered by the Kanyamaa escarpment and includes a section of Lambwe Hills Forest Reserve to the southeast. The terrain is mainly rolling grassland, with tracts of open woodland and thickets dominated by species of Acacia and Balanites. The soils are largely “black cotton” clays. The surrounding area is settled, with a mix of small-scale cultivation and grassy pasture land.

Birds

Ruma is the only protected area in Kenya where the globally threatened Blue Swallow, a scarce intra-African migrant, is regularly recorded. Blue Swallows arrive in Kenya from their breeding grounds in southern Tanzania around April and depart in September. They depend on moist grassland for feeding and roosting. Black-backed Cisticola, a species thought to be extinct in Kenya, has also been reported from Ruma, but these records are unconfirmed.

Mammals

A variety of mammals occur in the park but the most notable is the Roan Antelope, Hippotragus Equines, a rare species in Kenya. Roan associate in herds of up to 20 individuals with a very characteristic social structure. Amongst the females, the more dominant is the leader. There is only one adult bull in each herd, the juvenile males being evicted at the age of about 3 years. All the female calves remain within the herd, that , when too big, divides into smaller groups of cows and their young. These groups will form new herds, once again with only one adult bull.
The young males evicted from the herd, associate in "bachelor groups" of up to 12 individuals. Amongst these, the most dominant is the first one in line to join a new group of females, very seldom, on their fights for supremacy, inflicting body harm to their contenders.
Roan Antelope are very courageous animals. If threatened by predators, including Lion, they will confront them, and many of these big cats have perished, gored by the scimitar-shaped horns of Roans.
Adults attain a mass of up to 270Kg. and can live to about 15 years.
Roan Antelopes are mainly grazers.

Others include Oribi, Bohors reedbucks and Rotschild giraffes. The park is also rich in Ostriches, Chimpanzees, Impala gazelles and plans are underway to introduce the White Rhino.

Conservation Issues

Ruma represents a valuable island of natural habitat in a sea of human settlement.

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