Overview – Kakamega Forest NR

Anthony Ham
Expert
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Kenya.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Anthony is the author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Kakamega Forest is the only tropical forest left in Kenya. The forest is home to a variety of primates, and it is one of Kenya's birding hotspots. It marks the easternmost distribution of many sought-after West African species. Even non-birders will appreciate the jungle atmosphere of the forest, especially atmospheric in the early morning mist. Walking is the best way to explore the forest, and knowledgeable guides are available.

Best Time to Go December to February and June to July (Less rain)
High Season mid-December to March & July to October (Not busy)
Size 45km² / 17mi²
Altitude 1,555-2,084m / 5,102-6,837ft

Pros & Cons

  • Rare tropical forest habitat
  • Great hiking opportunities on several forest trails
  • Fantastic birding with many West African species
  • Off-the-beaten track and little visited
  • Not on any tourist circuit
  • Very wet climate
  • Limited accommodation, including only one tourist lodge

Kakamega Forest NR Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

Kakamega Forest is not a safari destination. Many creatures live in the forest, but most are small and not easy to spot. There are, however, a lot of primate species. Some of the more conspicuous ones are black-and-white colobus monkey and red-tailed and blue monkey. Nocturnal species include potto and bushbaby. Other mammals, less easy to spot, include duiker, dik-dik and scaly-tailed flying squirrels. Butterfly enthusiasts are well catered for with more than 400 species recorded in the forest.

Scenery

Kakamega Forest NR harbors a rich tropical environment with an immense biodiversity. Despite the heavy logging of the 1970s, there are still large tracts of ancient hardwood such as Elgon teak in the forest. Other flora to look out for is the numerous ferns, orchids and flame lilies.

Weather & Climate

Kakamega Forest has a climate typical of tropical areas. Temperatures don’t rise or fall much throughout the year, and hot days are followed by cool nights. The area experiences a long Wet season (March to November), with most of the rain being dumped in April and May. It’s less damp during the comparatively brief Dry season (December to February), but it can still rain a lot in these months.

Best Time to Visit

The periods when it rains less (December to February and June to July) are the best times to come to Kakamega. It’s breeding season for the local birds around the middle of the year, and in August a lot of color is added by emerging butterflies. Hikes are a lot more enjoyable in the Dry season (December to February).

Want to Visit Kakamega Forest NR?

Kakamega Forest NR Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
A meander through spectacular equatorial rainforest
4/5

Kakamega is one of the last remaining (and fast diminishing) tropical rainforests of East Africa. By walking the narrow winding paths, I always find it such an extraordinarily beautiful and tranquil place. Its characterised by tangled...

Latest User Review
5/5

the best place for watching West African birds in Kenya,especially there is a nice staying home for traveler, Rondo Retreat.