Kakamega Forest National Reserve
The Kakamega Forest National Reserve also known as Canopy of Natural Beauty is a tropical rainforest located in the Lake Victoria basin, approximately 50km north of Kisumu city in Western Kenya, Kakamega County. The forest is also said to be Kenya’s remaining of the ancient Guineo-Congolian rainforest that a long time ago covered the continent.
The rainforest has a network of walking or hiking trails, that will offer you the beauty of nature as you walk under whispering trees, the melody of singing birds, monkeys jumping from one tree to another, the color of butterflies making the forests more beautiful, croaking of frogs and the gurgling streams nearby. Walking can be done by day and night.
The forest is one of the best tourist destinations in Kenya and East Africa as a whole where one can discover on foot while enjoying the wildlife in their natural habitat while enjoying the fresh air of the rain forest.
For the lovers on nature and Nature photographers, the park offers unique wildlife and scenic beauty to its visitors. Wildlife that can be spotted in the park include Duikers, Bush Pig, Bushbuck, Mongoose, Giant African Water Shrew, African Clawless Otter, Squirrels, Porcupine, Tree Pangolin, Bats and many others. The forest is also home to 7 primate species including the endangered blue monkey, DeBrazza monkey, black and white colobus monkey, baboon, redtail monkey, and vervet monkey.
Birds and butterfly watchers will fall in love with this forest as it offers over 400 species of butterflies, approximately 300 bird species such as the Black and white casqued Hornbill and West African Great Blue Turaco which has been recorded here, some of which can only be found in this forest. Bird watching is best between 0630hrs and 0830hrs in the morning and 1630hrs and 1830hrs in the evening. 27 species of snakes have also been recorded in the forest.
It also supports more than 350 species of trees, Africa’s greatest hard and soft woods such as red and white stinkwood, Elgon teak and several varieties of Croton and Aniageria Altisima can be found here.
The forest can be accessed either road or air. The reserve is approximately 415km from Nairobi through Nakuru and Kapsabet towns which takes 5 to 6 hours drive.
By Air one can fly to Kisumu or Eldoret and then connect to Kakamega by road or fly to Kakamega airstip then connect by road.
Temperature in the forest ranges between 20c – 30c throughout the year. The Forest is very wet, with an average rainfall of 1200 mm to 1700 mm per year. It is heaviest on the long rains which fall between March and May. It is low between September to December when there is short rains.
Where to Stay
The forest does not have any lodge, but there is KWS self catering accommodation; Udo Bandas can sleep upto fourteen people. There is also the Isukuti Guest House and Various Campsites situated in the Park. Other lodges and hotels are located within the County that can accommodate visitors to the region
Activities that can be done:
• Forest Walking
• Self guided nature walks
• Primate Watching
• Bird and Butterfly Watching
• Game watching
• Village walks
What to bring
• Drinking water