kakamega forest national reserve.


kakamega forest national reserve.

Although the Kakamega Reserve has been a protected area for a long time, it was declared a national reserve in May, 1985. It is the only natural tropical rainforest left in Kenya today - quite a change from the olden times when dense rainforest covered west Africa and Central Africa, extending to the walls of the Great Rift Valley. The Kakamega Forest National Reserve covers an area of about 240 square kilometers. The terrain includes hardwood forest, swamps and rivers, glades and shallow forests around the edges.


"A feast for the senses", said a visitor recently. The sheer size and grandeur of these rainforest trees, some over 100 years old, is impressive. The trees create a complete environment for birds, insects, butterflies and wildlife, which are plentiful in this area. The Kakamega forest includes some of Africa's greatest hard and soft woods:

Elgon teak, red and white stink woods and several varieties of Croton and Aniageria Altisima. Splendid orchids sit amongst the branches of the larger trees. Walking beneath the lush forest canopy the deep shade is pierced by flashes of colour, exotic birdcalls, and the scents of wood, flower and moss. The best time to visit is during the rainy season, April to July, when the flowers are at their most beautiful.

There are seven trails which require a team of ranger guides to escort visitors through the Kakamega dense forest. The walk to Buyango Hill, the highest point in the forest, is a must for visitors. The indigenous trees lining the trails are identified on signs with their local and Latin names. The Kakamega Reserve is twice the size of Nairobi National Park with 380 species of plants spread in swamps, riverine and hardwood forest areas, glades and the shallow forest around the edge of the reserve. About 350 species of birds have been recorded including rare snake-eating birds. Butterflies and snakes normally only found in West Africa can also be seen.

Visitors need not worry about meeting them round every corner. Forest mammals include bush pig, grey duiker, vicet, Sunni, clawless otters and some fascinating nocturnal game: Ground Pangolin, porcupines and the occasional leopard.

Kakamega offers an excellent primate viewing opportunity. Black and White Colobus are in plenty and the De Brazza Monkeys (known as 'Karasinga' in Swahili, thanks to its distinctive white beard) can be found in the adjacent Kisere forest area.

Many rare species of primates are common. They include the Blue Monkey, frequently seen near the Ishiuki Fall, the Olive Baboon and the Red tailed Monkey.

For bird and butterfly watchers, the Kakamega National reserve is the place of choice for you. Being such a food rich reserve habitat, the park supports over 300 bird species, over 350 species of trees, 27 species of snakes… our snakes are friendly given the wet nature of the forest throughout the year... no history of snake bites since the park started 20 years ago. The forest is also home to over 400 species of butterflies, reptiles, mollusks and 7 primate species.

Accommodation is available within the reserve: one guest house, self-help condos, and two campsites. Hotel accommodation is available nearby. Rondo Retreat, opened recently to visitors is located inside the reserve.

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