HOME > Kakamega Forest National Reserve

Background Information

Kakamega Forest National Reserve is located in Western Kenya, 418 km from Nairobi. It is the only tropical rainforest in Kenya, left over from past millennia when dense rain forest stretched from West Africa, across Central Africa and into the highland areas on the west and eastern walls of the Great Rift Valley.

The forest has been a protected area of Kenya since its vital role in the ecosystem was first recognised in 1933. The sheer size and grandeur of these immense trees, some over a hundred years old, is impressive. The trees create a complete environment for the birds, insects, butterflies and wildlife, so plentiful in this area.

Walking beneath the lush forest canopy the deep shade is pierced by flashes of colour, exotic birdcalls, the scents of wood, flower and moss. The best time to visit is during the rainy season, April to July, when the flowers are at their most beautiful.

The Reserve is twice the size of Nairobi National Park with 380 species of plants spread in swamps, riverine and hardwood forest areas, glades and the shallow forest around the edge of the reserve. 350 species of birds have been recorded including rare snake-eating birds.

Kakamega offers excellent primate viewing: Black and White Colobus are plentiful and the De Brazza Monkeys (known as ‘Karasinga’ in Swahili thanks to its distinctive white beard) can be found in the adjacent Kisere forest area. Many rare species of primate are common here such as the Blue Monkey, frequently seen near the Ishiuki Falls, the Olive Baboon and  the Red Tailed Monkey.


  • By Road: The reserve is 415km 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.


  • 44 Km2.
  • 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

SMARTCARD 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
  • Weeping Stone. This is a remarkable eight metre-high vertical rock on which is balanced a smaller one from the base of which a continuous trickle of water emerges, even in the driest of dry seasons.


  • Wildlife: Bush Pig, Duikers, Bushbuck, Clawless Otter, Mongoose, Giant Water Shrew, Squirrels, Tree Pangolin, Porcupine, Bats and Primates.
  • Birds: 330 species of which some are found nowhere else in the country. The common one being the Blue turaco.


  • In – Park Accommodation

There is no lodge in the park at the moment.

  • KWS Self – Catering Accommodation:
    • Udo Bandas can accommodate upto 14 pax
    • Isukuti Guest House
  • Camping Facilities
    • Various Campsites located in the Park


  • Forest Walking
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Primate Watching
  • Bird and Butterfly Watching
  • Game watching
  • Self-Guided nature walks


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