Philip Briggs
South Africa ZA

Philip is an acclaimed travel writer and author of many guidebooks, including the Bradt guides to Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa.

Category: Best Kept Safari Secrets

The beautiful sitatunga antelope and a plethora of rare and colourful birds inhabit the steaming swamps and lush jungles of Saiwa and Kakamega

Kenya is best known for mainstream safari destinations such as the world famous Masai Mara and Amboseli, both of which lie on its southern border with Tanzania, but the little visited far west of the country also offers some rich but more low-key (and low cost) pickings to wildlife lovers.

These include two small  pedestrian-friendly national parks that support species rare elsewhere in Kenya. A personal favourite is Saiwa Swamp National Park, where a series of wooden-viewing platforms offer a rare opportunity to see the sitatunga, a handsome semi-aquatic antelope with unique splayed hooves, as well as the striking white-bearded De Brazza’s monkey and a varied selection of birds including crowned crane and Ross’s turaco.

Also well worth a visit is the more sprawling Kakamega Forest, which easily ranks as the best forest birding location in Kenya, a highlight being the stunning great blue turaco, but also offers good primate viewing, with black-and-white colobus being particularly common. With a spotlight, you also stand a good chance of picking out the potto, a sloth-like nocturnal oddity related to bushbabies and lemurs.

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