Kakamega Forest National Reserve

Kakamega Forest National Reserve                            
Kakamega Forest covers an area of about 240 km2 and was established to protect the only mid altitude tropical rainforest in Kenya, a remnant and eastern limit of rainforests of Zaire and West Africa affinities are unique in Kenya and the forest contains many species found nowhere else in the country. The forest lies in the Lake Victoria catchment, about 50km north of Kisumu and just West of the Nandi Escarpment that forms the edge of the central highlands. It was first gazetted as a trust forest in 1933 and two small Nature reserves, Yala and lsecheno were established within the forest in 1967. In 1985, nearly 4400ha of the northern portion of the forest together with the adjacent Kisere Forest were gazetted as Kakamega Forest National Reserve. The forest is an important water catchment area with the lsiukhu and Yala Rivers flowing through it. The terrain is undulating with often steep sided river valleys. The Kenya Wildlife Service welcomes you to Kakamega Forest National Reserve. In our efforts to maintain and preserve wildlife diversity, the importance of preserving a fragile ecosystem like forests cannot be overstated. With their unique flora and fauna, forests are important resource reserve for genetic banks, the medicine industry, nutrient recycling and C02 sequestation. The loss of such systems would therefore be a great loss to humanity. With this in mind we have put concerted efforts towards preservation of this unique ecosystem. It is our hope that apart from its aesthetic value, its life supporting values will be understood and highly appreciated now and in the future. Therefore, as you walk along the trails, as you observe the unique and beautiful vegetation, as you walk along the riverside, remember you can and are contributing to the conservation of this important ecosystem. We hope that you will visit again and again for fun, leisure and educative purposes. 

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Kakamega Forest National Reserve                                     
"Canopy of Natural Beauty"
The Kakamega Forest National Reserve is situated in the Lake Victoria basin, about 50km north of Kisumu city. Being the only remnant in Kenya of the unique Guineo-Congolian forest ecosystem, the park offers unique wildlife and scenic beauty. For bird and butterfly watchers, this is the place to visit.  The forest is home to over 400 species of butterflies, about 300 bird species and 27 species of snakes. The park also supports more than 350 species of trees and 7 primate species including the endangered DeBrazza monkey, black and white colobus monkey and vervet monkey. The Potto (the world's slowest mammal on earth), duikers and Dik diks are also found in Kakamega Forest National Reserve.

By Road
The reserve is 415 km away from Nairobi via Nakuru and Kapsabet towns.

By Air
There are no scheduled flights to Kakamega and visitors have to fly to Kisumu or Eldoret and connect to Kakamega by road.

Size and Location
44 Km 2.
Western Province.

-  Temperature ranges from 20-30 °C,  and rainfall from 200mm – 700 mm.
-  Two rain seasons: Long rains – March & April & short rains – Nov/ December.

Safari Card Required
Entry is by Cash only. Cash Receipts can be bought at the Kakamega Forest National Reserve main gate or KWS Hqs Nairobi Cash office. Proof of identification will be required.

-  Citizens – Valid Passport or National ID.
-  Residents – Valid Passport & re entry pass.

-  Birdwatching: Over 300 bird species.
-  Butterfly watching: over 400 species of butterflies.
-  Massive Trees, Scenic Spots and Waterfalls: Over 350 species of trees, the forest holds mostly indigenous vegetation.
-  Snakes: 27 species of snakes.
-  Primates Watching: Home to Debrazza monkey and other primates.

Wildlife: Bush Pig, Duikers, Bushback, Clawless Otter, Mongoose, Giant Water Shrew, Squirrels, Tree Pangolin, Porcupine, Bats and Primates.

330 species of which some are found nowhere else in the country. The common one being the Blue Turacco.

-  Forest Walking.
-  Camping
-  Hiking
-  Primate Watching .
-  Bird and Butterfly Watching.
-  Game watching: Self Guided Nature Walks.

What to take with you.
Drinking water, picnic items and camping equipment if you intend to stay overnight.
Also useful are: binoculars, camera, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and guidebooks.

Park Contacts
Phone:         +254-56-30603 / 30962
Email:   or
Postal Address: Kakamega National Reserve, P.O Box 879, Kakamega, Kenya