Kakamega National Reserve is the only remnant in Kenya of the once great tropical rainforest that stretched across central Africa. As a relic of this African equatorial jungle, it is now famous around the world of being the home to several hundred species of birds, snakes, insects, monkeys and other mammals, as well as countless tree species.
A choice of walking trails, view points and guided tours enable you to experience some of this fascinating, beautiful and unique forest first hand. Amongst the ancient trees, awesome in size, you will find gurgling streams, vibrant colouredbutterflies, chattering monkeys and rich diversity of birds.
The reserve is located in Western province, 415 Km away from Nairobi via Nakuru and Kapsabet towns at an altitude of 1500-1700 m above sea level. It covers an area of 44 sq. Km
WHAT TO SEE
As far as bird conservation is concerned, Kakamega reserve is one of the important Bird Areas in Kenya with a prolific record of 488 species. Turner’s Eremomela and Chipiri’s Flycatcher are listed as globally threatened species, a further 15 species are regionally threatened and 46 species known in Kenya only from the Kakamega forest. Blue headed Bee-eater, Ansorges Greenbul birds are found only in Kakamega forest and neighbouring South Nandi forest in the whole of East Africa.
Other birds to be found only in this and nearby forests in Western Kenya include the Black Billed Turaco, Red Billed Paradise Flycatcher, Chestnut, Jameson’s and Yellow Bellied Wattle eye, Southern Hyliota, African Shrike Flycatcher, White tailed Ant Thrush, Petit’s Cukoo-Shrike and Cassim’s Honeyguide.
Among the mammals known to live in the forest arre the Bush pig, Dulkers, Bushbuck, Clawless Otter, Mongoose, Giant Water Shrew, Squirrels, Tree Pangolin, Porcupine, Bats and Primates.
Among the primates found here are the Blue Monkey, Black and White Clobus Monkey, DE Brazza’s Monkey, The Redtail monkey, The Eastern Potto and Olive Baboons.
Thirty six species live in the forest. True to the forest’s commercial origins, the snakes of Kakamega are normally found from West Africa. The Forest Cobra and the Gold’s Cobra, the Forest Night Adder, Jameson’s Mamba, the Black lipped Cobra, the Bush Viper, the Rhinocerous-horned Viper and the Gabon Viper.
LIZARDS AND OTHER ANIMALS
The most common terrestrial Lizard you are likely to come across is Jackson’s Lacerta. Other Lizards are Agama, Peter’s Long Tailed Skink and the Nile Monitor among other Lizards. Other interesting animals are Amphibians, Molluscs, 487 species of Butterflies and other insects which will leave the visitor in awe of nature.
FOREST WALKING AND HIKING
Kakamega forest is penetrated by a network of trails. A walk through thr high-canopied forest, its silence broken by only bird calls or the chatter of a troop of monkeys, occasionally the gurgle of a nearby stream is a simple delight; all this is possible in a day trip. The trails include the Busambuli trail, Isiukhu trail, Falls trails, Mukangu trail, Colobus trail and Litali trail.
Kakamega Reserve is familiar to every Kenyan bird enthusiast and the forest is known internationally as an important Bird Area. The best time of the year for bird watching are between the months of June and August after the havy rains when many birds are in bleeding plumage and again in October when upto 30 species of migrants arrive at the forest. Perfect timing for bird watching are early morning and in the late afternoon.
Kakamega forest is home to seven species of primates. They become active and more easily located once the day starts to warm up, in the morning and again a few hours before sunset.
All nine African butterfly families are represented in the forest and species diversity is high with 487 species recorded. The best time for butterfly watching is in August and September when the heavy rains are over.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT THE WARDEN ON
TEL: +254 (56) 30603, 30962
FAX +254 (56) 30962