KAKAMEGA FOREST RESERVE
Safari Back in Time
Lions? Leopards? And Chimps
You don’t have to imagine how Africa looked, sounded, and felt hundreds of years ago. Just book a trip to the Kakamega Forest Reserve, the last primeval rainforest in Kenya. It’s like time traveling to a thick canopied world where the sounds of birds, frogs, monkeys, and waterfalls invite you into a mysterious past.
The only tropical rainforest in Kenya, it’s a taste of how the continent used to appear – draped with overhead vegetation and painted with the colors of 300 species of birds and 400 types of butterflies.
Most of the native African forest is now gone, a victim of tea plantations and other development, but you can walk the trails here as they were a millennia ago past ferns and orchids, spotting mongooses, civets, red-tailed monkeys, baboons, and cobras, vipers, and even green mamba snakes.
A True Jungle
At one time this jungle covered most of central and East Africa. Now only ten percent of that area remains, making Kakamega even more precious. A safari here is not one of traditional big game but of the smaller species like aardvarks, porcupine, giant forest hogs, colobus monkeys, parrots, and the black-billed turaco.
Along with the birds and butterflies you’ll come across waterfalls and giant fig trees, one said to be over 700 years old.
Come Walk With Us
The reserve welcomes you to the fun of a walking safari so step onto the well-marked trails and delve deeper into this primeval world. You can self-guide or take a safari with a ranger from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). Enjoy birdwatching, night walks, and excursions to the park’s lookout points.
The Luya People – These are the indigenous people of the area. Take the time for a cultural encounter one evening to meet this local tribe. They’ll recite ancient stories, perform dances and even give lessons on the use of their traditional medicines.
See the birds – Kakamega is awash in colorful birdlife. The Kenya Forest Service provides 2-hour bird-watching tours at 6:30 am and 4:30 pm. Here’s an opportunity to spot and learn about these bright and lively neighbors.
Sunrise/Sunset – The KWS rangers have organized trips to Lirhanda Hill for early morning and evening views of the day’s colors. Tours are at 5:00 am and 5:00 pm.
Nighttime Walks – The Kenya Wildlife service organizes 2-hour nighttime safaris for a different kind of jungle experience.
Mama Mutere – The oldest and largest tree in the reserve. Standing 40 m (131 ft.) tall and hundreds of years old, this icon of the jungle has provided bark used for traditional medicine.
Isiukhu Falls and Yala River – Known landmarks of Kakamega, these 5 – 7 hour safaris are organized by the KWS.
These reserve-based projects help the livelihoods of the nearby rural communities.
- Education for local students, including computer skills training
- Healthcare – providing medical supplies to the local health centers and mobile clinic
- Energy – providing hundreds of local families with energy-efficient stoves – reducing the need for firewood.
Ol Pejeta Eco-Facts
- Sanctuaries to protect endangered chimpanzees, oryx, hartebeest, Grevy’s zebra, and bat-eared fox
- Home to the world’s last remaining northern white rhinos
- The largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa – the rhino population has increased by over 100 in the last 25 years.
Survey: Kakamega Forest Reserve
This dense jungle habitat covers 238 sq km (91 sq mi) of lush, ancient growth. Surprisingly, it sits at 1600m (5250 ft) above sea level.
Location: About 348 km (216 mi) northwest of Nairobi.
Climate: Kakamega is a rainforest and that means lots of precipitation – an average of 1200-1700mm (47-67 in) per year. Expect fairly constant temperatures of 250C (770F).
Best time to visit: There is always rain here, it’s just a matter of how much you’d like to enjoy it. April, May, and August are the wet months. There is a bit less rain from December to February.
Operating Hours: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Getting there: You can Book a tour with Africa Kenya Safaris. And you’ll go in style – a specially outfitted 4 x 4 safari Jeep.
This is Kakamega
Not your regular African safari but a true slice of how the ancient continent once looked and breathed. Soak up this dense tropical ecosystem for photos and memories like nowhere else in Kenya.
Let’s Get Started