Kakamega forest national reserve fondly referred to as a bird watchers paradise once stretched across the central Africa. It is a mid altitude tropical rain forest. Its relationship to West Africa is unique and the forest contains many species found no where in Kenya. The terrain comprises of steep sided river valleys and gentle slopping and rising landscape.
Wildlife include Black-and-white Colobus and Red-tailed Monkey and small number of de brazza Monkey. Due to its relation to Zaire basin, several West African forest mammals are found, such as Potto, Giant Otter Shrew and Lord Derby’s Anomalure. About 28 species of snakes have been recorded including rare Gold Cobra and other west African snake species. About 350 butterfly species occur in this forest including one endemic, Mitisella Kakamega.
For birders, the sheer abundance of birds is overwhelming. Kakamega forest avifauna is unique. Several species of birds are mostly found in this forests and the surrounding areas and not any other parts of Kenya. This include Blue-headed Bee-eater, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Greenbul and Turner’s Eremomela.
Types of tress are also unique. A tree that is endemic to the forest is Tiliacora kenyensis. Other types include Croton, Celtis, Trema, Antiaris, Bequaertiodendron and Zanthoxylum.
Because of the importance and uniqueness of Kakamega forest national reserve in terms of biodiversity, a proposal has been sent to UNESCO to classify the forest as a world heritage site. The proposal is on tentative list.
Kakamega forest is ideal for nature walks and has many clearly marked walking trails. 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.
Kakamega Forest Reserve is one of the hidden gems in Kenya, far removed from the drama of the Big Five but with an appeal its own. For birders and people who prefer off the beaten path tours, this magnificent park is a place you should tour and discover species only unique to this park.