Kakamega Forest

Why You Should Visit Kakamega Forest.

Kakamega Forest is a lush wonderland with a wealth of biodiversity and natural beauty that is tucked away in western Kenya.

Kakamega Forest, which covers 238 square kilometers, is the last remaining portion of the old Guineo-Congolian rainforest that had covered the whole African continent. It is a paradise for academics, adventurers, and nature lovers due to its rich vegetation and unique flora and fauna. We’ll explore the wide range of things that Kakamega Forest has to offer in this in-depth guide, from enthralling hikes to fascinating wildlife encounters.

Reaching There

Kakamega Forest is easily reachable by road and situated about 50 kilometers north of Kisumu City. Travelling from Nairobi, you have two options: either take a road trip through beautiful scenery or fly domestically to Kisumu and continue your journey from there. For the trip, a number of transportation choices are available, including buses, private taxis, and rental cars. We have covered in detail on how to get to Western Kenya in another blog.


There are several lodging alternatives in and around Kakamega Forest for people looking for an immersive experience in the middle of nature. Accommodations for guests range from eco-friendly hotels to quaint cottages, depending on their needs and budget. Popular options include the Kakamega Environmental Education Programme (KEEP) Campsite, which provides camping facilities for nature lovers, Rondo Retreat, and The Forest Edge Resort. Beware of Baboons, they are a handful in Kakamega forest. We discussed in another blog how to survive your first camping in the wild.

Hiking Trails In Kakamega Forest

The Kakamega Forest is home to a network of well-kept trails suitable for hikers of all experience levels. With its tall trees and melodic birdcalls, each trail provides a different window into the ecosystem of the forest. Within the forest, the following trails are a must-see:

  1. Ikhonga Nature Trail: This 3.5-kilometer circle trail offers a leisurely stroll through the heart of the forest and is ideal for novice hikers. Look out for native trees like the majestic Elgon olive, vibrant butterflies, and uncommon bird species along the route.
  2. Buyangu Hill Trail: The Buyangu Hill Trail offers an exciting climb to the peak of Buyangu Hill for more seasoned hikers looking for a challenge. The route is a great place to get expansive views of the forest canopy below and it’s a great spot for bird watching.
  3. KEEP Trail: (Kakamega Environmental Education Programme) This route, which is run by the locals, offers information about the conservation initiatives being carried out in Kakamega Forest. While helping to support the locals’ lives, visitors can see wildlife and learn about sustainable forestry techniques.

Birdwatching Experience

With over 400 bird species, including numerous rare and unique species, Kakamega Forest is a birdwatcher’s delight. The forest’s varied birdlife provides amazing encounters for both experienced and inexperienced birdwatchers. The African Goshawk, Black-and-White-Casqued Hornbill, and Great Blue Turaco are a few of the well-known bird species that may be found in Kakamega Forest. For those who are interested in learning more about the behavior and habitat of elusive species, there are knowledgeable guides leading birdwatching tours.

Encounters With Primates

Wildlife enthusiasts should visit Kakamega Forest because it is home to numerous primate species in addition to its avian occupants. Look out for flocks of colobus monkeys, which are predominantly black and white, swinging elegantly among the trees or the elusive De Brazza’s monkey which are able to swim. When foraging, De Brazza’s monkeys store food in cheek pouches for later consumption when they reach a safe location. Fortunate guests might even glimpse the charismatic L’Hoest’s monkey or the endangered blue monkey, which would add an exciting element to their forays into the jungle.


Beyond its scenic attractions, Kakamega Forest provides chances for cultural exchange and engagement with nearby people. Engaging with the Luhya people, who make up the majority ethnic group in the area, allows visitors to discover more about their customs, music, and food. Meaningful connections and cross-cultural exchange are fostered by cultural excursions and homestay experiences, which offer insight into the rich heritage and way of life of the Luhya people.

Sustainable Ecosystem

Kakamega Forest is an important part of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem preservation because it is one of Kenya’s last remaining rainforests. A wide range of community and organizational groups actively participate in conservation activities, such as habitat restoration, forestry projects, and environmental education campaigns. By engaging in ethical travel, patronizing neighborhood establishments, and showing consideration for the forest’s delicate ecology, visitors can help with these conservation efforts.

Shirere Hill

This is a peaceful sanctuary with expansive views of the surrounding area that is tucked away in the southeast part of Kakamega Forest. Hiking through dense forest cover to reach the summit may reveal uncommon plant types and elusive fauna. At the summit, take in the breath-taking views and savor a picnic in the magnificent surroundings of nature.

Ngaira Springs

Tucked away in the middle of Kakamega Forest, Ngaira Springs is a private haven full of lush greenery and crystal-clear water. The springs offer a tranquil environment for rest and renewal in addition to being an essential supply of water for the forest’s flora. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the serene paths that round the springs and be in awe of this hidden gem’s unspoiled beauty.

Butere Plateau

Butere Plateau is a vast grassland with rocky outcrops and native plants, is only a short drive from Kakamega Forest. The plateau is a great place to go birdwatching because so many different species may be seen frequenting the acacia woodlands and open grasslands. Take a guided nature walk across the plateau to experience the natural wonders of it.

Activities In Kakamega Forest

Outdoor enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike can find a variety of exhilarating adventure activities at Kakamega Forest that are sure to make your pulse race:

  1. Canopy Walk: Take a thrilling canopy walk elevated above the forest floor to see the forest from a new angle. The canopy walkway, suspended among the treetops, offers a unique chance to see wildlife up close and offers panoramic views of the canopy habitat. As you cross the swaying bridges and take in the breathtaking views of the forest below, test your nerves.
  2. Mountain Biking: Take a mountain bike excursion to see the rough terrain and twisting routes of Kakamega Forest. Hire a bike from one of the nearby operators and take an exciting ride into the forest, passing through lush valleys, sharp hills, and thick vegetation. All skill levels can participate in guided mountain bike tours, which guarantee a memorable and safe experience.
  3. Night Safari: Discover the secret residents of Kakamega Forest by going on a Night Safari and exploring the area at night. Take a guided night safari to see nocturnal animals like owls, civets, and bushbabies emerge from their daily hiding places. Equipped with flashlights and sharp senses, explore the forest’s depths and feel the excitement of coming across elusive creatures in their natural habitat.

In summary, Kakamega Forest is a lively environment rich with life, adventure, and cultural legacy; it is much more than just a destination for nature enthusiasts. There is something for every kind of traveler in the forest, whether they are exploring its well-trodden routes, finding hidden jewels off the usual road, or participating in heart-pounding adventure activities. We can guarantee that Kakamega Forest stays a natural sanctuary for future generations, conserving its natural beauty and ecological value for exploration and enjoyment, by adopting sustainable tourist practices and supporting conservation efforts.

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