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Kenya - Game Reserves

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Kakamega Forest National Reserve.

The Kakamega Forest National Reserve 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. Its West African 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 40km north of Kisumu and just east 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 Isecheno were established within the forest reserve in 1967. In 1986 nearly 4,000ha 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 Isiukhu and Yala rivers flowing through it. The terrain is undulating with often steep sided river valleys. The soils are well-drained, deep, heavily leached clay loams and clays of generally low fertility.

The Kakamega Forest National Reserve climate has an annual rainfall over 2,000mm. Most of this rain falls between April and November with a short dry season from December to March. Rain falls mostly in the afternoons or early evenings and is often accompanied by heavy thunderstorms. Average temperatures remain similar between 15°C and 28°C.

Major Attractions At The Kakamega Forest National Reserve
Kenya's only tropical rain forest with unique endemic and endangered species of mammals, birds, Butterflies, Snakes.

Major Wildlife Found At Kakamega Forest National Reserve
Baboon, Bushbuck, Hedgehogs, Hippopotamus, Hyaena, Mongoose etc
National Park - 417 Sq km - Managed by Kenya Wildlife Service

What to carry
Remember this is a tropical rainforest and visitors should be prepared for any sort of weather condition… but for visitors from Europe, it's not cold in any comparison. Remember also to carry guide books (mammal, bird and butterfly) - some available at the gate house, - insect repellant to keep away insects but not to hate them, a pair of binoculars and for the memories a zoom camera. Don't forget the tents if you will put up overnight or better still spend in our cosy bandas.

For bird and butterfly watchers, this is the place of choice for you. Being such a food rich reserve habitat, the park supports over 300 bird species, over 350 species of trees, 27 species of snakes… our snakes are friendly given the wet nature of the forest throughout the year... no history of snake bites since the park started 20 years ago. The forest is also home to over 400 species of butterflies (about 45% of all recorded butterflies in Kenya), reptiles, mollusks and 7 primate species.
With that sort of biodiversity you surely cannot be bored once in the forest. The endangered Turner's eremomela, Charpins flycatcher and the voice mimicking African grey parrot are also found here. The forest is also home to the endangered DeBrazza monkey found at the isolated Kisere Forest Reserve, which is part of the larger Kakamega Forest National Reserve. The majestic black and white colobus monkey alongside flying squirrels, blue monkey and potto (the world's slowest mammal on earth), are among the attractions. Forest bucks, duikers and dik diks are found in this equatorial rain forest.

As a result of the conservation efforts, the forest holds mostly indigenous vegetation. Here you will find the precious Elgon teak, much prized for its hard wood, the stranglers (ficus thoningii) which grow from other trees and eventually strangle the hosts to death, and mkombero, a popular affrodiasc. Large age-old trees are in plenty and found particularly in Kisere forest as a result of early efforts in conservation

kakamega forest in kenya
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