Overview – Ruma NP

Anthony Ham
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Kenya.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Anthony is the author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

This rarely visited park was established to protect Kenya’s last remaining population of the beautiful roan antelope. The park is totally undeveloped and visitors need to be self-sufficient. Some other wildlife has been introduced, but densities are low and animals are skittish. This is a good place to see the endangered blue swallow which migrates between here and northern Tanzania.

Best Time to Go June to October and January to February
High Season December to March and July to October (Not busy)
Size 120km² / 46mi²
Altitude 1,170-1,638m / 3,839-5,374ft

Pros & Cons

  • Un-touristy, off-the-beaten-track destination
  • Home to the rare roan antelope
  • Great wilderness appeal
  • Good birding with a chance to see the endangered migratory blue swallow
  • There is very little wildlife
  • A lot of tsetse flies
  • Very limited tourist facilities
  • Limited road network and roads are in a bad condition

Ruma NP Safari Reviews

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  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
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  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
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This is the only place in Kenya to see the rare roan antelope. Other introduced species include Jackson's hartebeest, black rhino, bohor reedbuck, buffalo and Burchell's zebra. The localized race of Rothschild's giraffe can also be spotted. There are tracks to be found of leopard and spotted hyena, but these predators are shy and are unlikely to be encountered.


The scenery is a mix of grassland, rolling hills and patches of woodland. The park is located in the Lambwe Valley east of Lake Victoria and is bordered by the Kanyamaa escarpment.

Weather & Climate

The weather and climate of Ruma is comparable to that of Kenya in general. More info:

Best Time to Visit

Ruma can be visited year-round, but wildlife viewing is best in the dry months from June to October and January to February. Visits during the peak of the short rains (November), and especially during the long rains (April and May), might be challenging because of the condition of the roads, which aren’t great even in the Dry season. A sturdy 4x4 is required throughout the year.

Getting There

Visitors to Ruma need to be totally self-sufficient with a fully-equipped 4x4. The park is located 425km/264mi west of Nairobi, 140km/86mi from Kisumu, and 42km/26mi from Homa Bay on Lake Victoria. Fly-Sax offers scheduled flights to Homa Bay.

Health & Safety

Please read our vaccinations and malaria page for Kenya, and our general wildlife viewing safety precautions page for more info:

Want to Visit Ruma NP?

Ruma NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
A difficult park to visit but a rare opportunity to see roan antelope

The rarely visited Ruma National Park south of Kisumu has landscape reasonably typical of an East African park with grassland and acacia woodlands. It’s best known as the few places to see the rare roan antelope, and we did see a fair...

Latest User Review
Elle Reviewed: Feb 3, 2013
A remote park

If you are in the area, it is well worth a trip to Ruma National Park. You will probably not see any large carnivores, but it is the only park where you can see Roan antelope. We saw plenty of roan antelope, topi, impala, giraffes,...

Full Review