The Kakamega Forest is a tropical rainforest in Kenya’s Kakamega and Nandi counties, northwest of the capital Nairobi and near the Ugandan border. It is Kenya’s only tropical rainforest and is thought to be the last remnant of the continent’s ancient Guineo-Congolian rainforest. The Kakamega Forest National Reserve protects a diverse tropical environment. The forest is home to a variety of primates and is a popular birding destination in Kenya. Many sought-after West African species have their easternmost distribution here. Even non-birders will enjoy the forest’s jungle atmosphere.
Kakamega Forest National Reserve is home to a variety of animals and bird species. There are seven primate species, including black-and-white colobus, red-tailed, and blue monkeys. The extremely rare de Brazza's monkey is elusive and can be difficult to find. The forest canopy is shared by giant forest squirrels, and small antelope such as duiker and dik-dik can be seen scurrying around. After sundown, the forest changes, and bushpigs, genets, and civets are some of the nocturnal creatures you may encounter. Rare sightings of tree pangolins have been documented, and the giant otter shrew is a true Kakamega special.
The forest is home to over 300 bird species and 400 butterfly species, which can be enjoyed during walks and picnics in the reserve. The Blue Headed Bee Eater, Black Billed Turaco, Turner's Eremomela, and Grey Parrots are among the birds that can be seen here.
The Kakamega Forest is open all year. The rain falls heavily throughout the year, but the months of December to February are the driest. Between June and August, bird watchers should be on the lookout as many birds breed and display after the April and May rains. The months of August and September are ideal for butterfly watching, and from November to April, migratory birds are present.
Kakamega Forest offers a wealth of outdoor recreation for nature enthusiasts. Those who enjoy walking and hiking can explore the network of trails within the forest. The trails offer fantastic opportunities for bird watching, spotting primates, wildlife viewing, and seeing the many species of butterflies flutter around. Furthermore, tours can be arranged to the weeping stone at Ilesi, located along the Kakamega-Kisumu road, or to Kisere Forest in the north of Kakamega to see the De-brazes monkey.
Kakamega Forest National Reserve has several options for accommodation, including self-catering chalets, lodges, and campsites.