Expert Reviews – Kakamega Forest NR
Gemma authored several Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guides to Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa.
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A walk in the woods for birders
Kakamega Forest is definitely not worth a trip to Western Kenya in its own right unless you are a birding fanatic, in which case you’ll definitely want to make a visit here a priority. I visited as a side trip from the pleasant town of Kisumu and loved the forest’s leafy green trails and gentle, knowledgeable local guides. It’s a very tranquil slice of virgin rainforest, replete with over 360 bird species along with black and white colobus monkeys and the odd leopard (which you are highly unlikely to spot). If you have time, I recommend staying overnight at the Isukuti KWS guesthouse, which is clean and basic and provided me with the chance to fall asleep listening to the forest’s amazingly loud night sounds.
Ariadne is a renowned African wildlife photographer whose work is featured in many well-known guidebooks and magazines.
Kakamega FR – pristine forest and hard but phenomenal birding
Forests are not the most rewarding in terms of wildlife viewing. Walking along the forest trails might only give a glimpse of a monkey and unless you’re an experienced birder, the birds might be very elusive as well. Having said that, I just love forests and with deforestation being a major problem, any tract of pristine forest is priceless. Driving along the main road that bisects the forest in the early morning is a magical experience. School children walking along are silhouetted against the rising mist.
I came across a troop of blue monkeys playing in the canopy, which is viewed much easier from the road than from the narrow forest trails. Although hard work, the birding is phenomenal with a possibility to see many Central African specials at the limit of their range. Even if you’re not a birder, spectacular birds, like the great Blue Turaco will impress anybody.