A veritable haven for nature lovers, the Saiwa Swamp National Park is a forested paradise filled with exotic flowers, trees and birds. It is also the habitat of the rare and endangered semi-aquatic Sitatunga antelope and as a preserve for the rare De Brazza’s monkey. Within this tropical wetlands and mosaic of riverine forest, sedges and acacia woodlands, with fringing dense rushes and grass bedsBird life is abundant. Water birds include the lesser jacana, grey heron and the African black duck while the forest shelters the Narina trogons, the collared and orange-tufted sunbird, the yellow bishop, Hatlaub’s marsh widow bird and the Noisy Ross’s turacos which are difficult to miss.
High in the mist-wreathed hills of western Kenya is a towering volcanic giant, crowned by a vast caldera etched by glacial tarns, honeycombed by labyrinthine caves, fissured by valleys and cascaded by streams. Visitors can explore the forest, see the elephant caves and also enjoy biking, hiking, and rock on the eighth highest mountain in Africa, Mount Elgon.
The diverse terrain and dramatic ascents of altitude combined with the vagaries of rainfall and weather produce four distinct vegetation zones on Mt. Elgon. They include:-
The museum was the first of the Inland museums to be developed in Kenya. It used to be known by the name the Stoneham Museum. It got its name from an amateur naturalist who lived in Kitale, by the name Lieutenant colonel Hugh Stoneham. He had a collection of insects, other animals and books from 1894 when he was only five years old. He continued his collection until 1966 when he died. Mrs. Linda Donley a peace Corp volunteer was the first curator in 1974.
In 1926, he founded the Stoneham Museum, a private museum and later willed his collections as well as funds for a new museum building to the Kenya Nation. A new building was erected on five acres of land on the outskirts of Kitale town. In December 1974, the National Museums of Western Kenya was opened and became the first regional museum in the Kenya Museum Society.
The Kitale Museum has a lot of ethnographical materials collected from surrounding ethnic groups in addition to Stoneham’s collections.
The museum now practice environmental conservation. It has a nature trail and Olof Palme Memorial Agroforestry – center, which was started in 1983. Its aim (the center) was to promote agroforestry in West Pokot district.
The museum’s nature trail was worked on beginning in August 1977. The work involved building bridges and cutting steep sides of the stream bank through which the trail runs.
The period from July 1974 until June 1975 had been spent in acquisition of materials for the museums exhibits. In April 1987, the museum acquired 30 acres of a natural riverine forest. The forest has been used for conservation of various plant species and wild animals.
From Col. Stoneham’s extensive Lepidoptera collection, scientists in Western Kenya specimens can access them in study given the excellent manner and organization that they have been handled with.
The Education department in Kitale museum has been organizing programs for Secondary schools and colleges where various people have given lectures and relevant films have been screened.
Kitale museum is located at (233, 124) on the grid of Top Sheet 75/3. Kitale is in Trans-Nzoia district of the Rift Valley province. The museum is within the town about 1 km from the town center. The town itself is about 380 km from Nairobi the capital city. It lies Northwest of Nairobi.
The Aturukan Hotel
P.O Box 2960-30200,
Kapenguria Road, Kitale Kenya
Tel.: (+254) 718 880111