Luo legend’s relatives get a free tour of Ruma National Park
Date Published: 05 Feb, 2010
Unique: A Roan Antelope at the Ruma National Park. The unique antelopes can only be found in Ruma National Park.
Ruma National Park’s aim to raise conservation awareness to the local communities around the park continued with an organized free tour of the Park for the relatives of the late Luo legend, Mzee Gor Mahia.
The tour, which is in line with KWS’ strategy to enhance local communities’ ownership and involvement with the Parks, took place on Friday, February 5, 2010, at the Ruma National Park, Kisumu.
The tour was led by Ruma National Park Warden Mr. John Wambua, whose aim is to use Gor Mahia’s legendary folklore, through his clan, to increase visitation of the Park. Gor Mahia was a Luo hero who was known to possess mystical powers which would make him perform miracles.
The Park, whose proximity to Gor Mahia’s relatives is only a few kilometers, has an average annual visitation of 1,611.
The Gor Mahia family was treated to a guided tour through the Park, enjoying sightings of Roan antelopes, Buffaloes, Rothschild Giraffes, Topi, Lelwe Heartebeast, Impala and waterbucks. They also visited the Fig Tree Campsite, Nyadenda outpost. They thereafter visited the homestead grave of late Gor Mahia.
Mr. Wambua said the visitors agreed to support conservation work in and around the Park.
As part of the KWS Community Outreach Programme, the Park has been involved in health and education projects.
Two classrooms have been constructed at Kamato Primary School, and boreholes sunk at the nearby Kamato area, Nyadenda and Lambwe dispensaries to provide water.
The community has also benefitted through exchange tours to Maasai Mara and Amboseli for conservation awareness programmes, as well as employment in the Park.
The Park recently underwent a complete re-branding as part of a high-profile national marketing and infrastructure refurbishment campaign that started in 2005.
Other branded parks in the Western Tourism Circuit include Kakamega Forest National Reserve, Saiwa Swamp National Park and Mt Elgon National Park. Kisumu Impala and Ndere Island is currently undergoing branding at a cost of Sh20 million.
Ruma National Park is the only one in Kenya with the unique Roan antelopes. Other animals include the Oribi antelope, Bohors reedbucks and Rothschild giraffes. The park is also rich in Ostrich, Impala and
gazelles. It also has a recorded population of more than 400 bird species.