Kakamega Forest National Reserve Kenya, Big Five watching.

Kakamega Forest National Reserve

Kakamega Forest National Reserve is the only tropical rain forest in Kenya of the Guineo-congolian type. It once stretched across the Central Africa to East Africa. The forest is located in Western Kenya, Kakamega East District (Kakamega County).

This forest is a remnant around 200 square kilometers in size situated about 35 kilometers from Lake Victoria in one of the most densely populated rural areas of Kenya. It comprises two protected areas: a forest reserve designated in 1933, and a national reserve added later in 1985.

Tana River Primate Reserve

Car Rental to Explore Kakamega Forest National reserve?

Planning to explore Kakamega Forest National Reserve requires you to book a strong reliable 4×4 Land Cruiser and 4×4 Africa doesn’t recommend Safari vans to Kakamega!

Don’t miss to undertake the Kenya Safari to visit Kakamega Forest National Reserve the home to the big five watching in Kenya. We do offer the best required car rental services to explore Kakamega . Check on the discounted rental deals to explore east Africa with 4×4 Africa.

  1. Walking Safaris
  2. Wildlife Watching
  3. Big five watching

Safari activities in Kakamega Forest National reserve.

The Kakamega Forest National Reserve is one of the best places to spot wildlife in Africa and each year, hundreds of thousands of tourists visit to see some of Africa’s famous mammals.


The forest has a network of hiking trails for visitors to enjoy one of Kenya’s most unique attractions. Trails here vary in length from 1km to 7km. Of the longer walks, Isiukhu Trail, which connects Isecheno to the small Isiukhu Falls, is one of the most popular and takes a minimum of half a day. The 4km drive or walk to Buyangu Hill allows for uninterrupted views east to the Nandi Escarpment. The hiking trails here allow you to be intimate with the thick swath of close-up nature all about.

This is organized by the Kenya Wildlife Service. A 2-hour nighttime safari will bring up close to the nocturnal creatures and sounds of the reserve. At night the forest is a different world, the air filled with bats and ringing with the sounds of frogs, night birds, and the booming call of the giant forest squirrel.

Nighttime Excursion

Birding Watching

The forest is home to more than 300 bird species and the sheer abundance of birdlife here is overwhelming. The reserve is especially good for birders but is also home to several primates, including de Brazza’s monkeys, colobus monkeys, black-cheeked-white-nosed monkeys, and Sykes monkeys, and birds that occur nowhere else in the country. In the rich forest canopy above, look for the blue-headed bee-eater, black-billed turaco, grey parrot, and hornbill with its distinct chopping sound as it soars above you.

Meet and learn about these indigenous people. Enjoy their dance performances and their telling of traditional stories and legends.

Cultural Experience

 Nature walks

This is an important primate reserve, and the forest is full of monkeys of many species. Beautiful Chameleons are often seen in the undergrowth. At night the forest is a different world, the air filled with bats and ringing with the sounds of frogs, night birds, and the booming call of the giant forest squirrel. The number of birds and primates can be spotted during the nature walk, include giant trees and spectacular waterfalls. There is a Fig Tree that is thought to be over 700 years old in the forest.

Where does Kakamega Forest national reserve fit into your Kenya adventure?

This beautiful forest is home to various mammals including bush pigs, giant forest hedgehogs, colobus monkeys, and pottos. Some of the birds to be seen here include the Blue Headed Bee Eater, Black Billed Turaco, Turner’s Eremomela and Grey Parrots.

Mammals that occur in the park include bush pig, duikers, bushbuck, African clawless otter, mongoose, giant African water shrew, squirrels, tree pangolin, porcupine, bats and a variety of primates including the blue monkey, red tail monkey, De Brazza’s monkey, baboon, potto, and the occasional vervet monkey. Leopards have been occasionally reported, but the last official sighting was in 1991. Bird watching, hiking and rock climbing can be enjoyed here in the serenity of the forest that time forgot.

Insects are abundant and some are quite spectacular, such as Goliath beetles, pink and green flower mantis, and numerous colorful butterflies (489 species).

Where to stay?

There is Accommodation and Camping site where you can stay a few days as you enjoy Kakamega forest national reserve. Choices range from self-catering chalets and lodges to rustic campsites, but whatever accommodation is chosen the experience is sure to inspire. If you wish to stay in Kakamega town accommodation, there are a number of choices.

These accommodations are Isecheno Forest rest house, Isecheno KEEP Bandas, Isecheno Camping site and Rondo retreat center.


When to go to Kakamega Forest Reserve

Kakamega Forest can be visited throughout the year, but heavy rains might interfere with hiking trips. The driest months are from December to February. The heaviest rain is in April and May, so these months are less ideal.

How to access Kakamega Forest National Reserve?

Nature walk in Aberdare National Park

Road access to Kakamega is via Kakamega Town, easily accessible from Kisumu by bus/ Matatu. You’ll need your own transport, or to be part of a safari, to get to the forest. Kakamega forest national reserve is best explored on foot. The forest has many clearly marked walking trails. There are excellent and fully qualified local guides are available for walking.