Exploring Kenya’s Kakamega Rainforest : Entering the Kakamega Forest Reserve’s dense, gloomy jungle is like being transported to prehistoric Africa. Birdsong, chattering monkeys, and croaking frogs can be heard as you move through the dense canopy of this tropical rainforest. In this undiscovered jewel of Kenya, butterflies and an air of private beauty permeate the landscape.

The reserve, the last remaining area of pristine rainforest in Kenya, is only a tiny fragment of the once much larger forest system that covered much of central and eastern Africa. Much of that forest was cut down over the centuries, and the land was then used for tea plantations.

The abundance of the lush jungle and how it felt to walk these trails hundreds of years ago, with their enormous trees, magnificent waterfalls, great mamba snakes, and enormous forest hedgehogs, can still be felt here in Kakamega, though.

 This isn’t your typical safari; rather, it’s a journey into a lush, dense ecosystem where you’ll be easily transported by more than 300 different bird species, whose songs will serve as the soundtrack to your exploration.

 Look for the blue-headed bee-eater, black-billed turaco, grey parrot, and hornbill with its distinctive chopping sound as it soars above you in the dense forest canopy.

Colobus, red-tailed, and Sykes monkeys, as well as their cousins, the olive baboons, are found in the dense tree groves. Here, you can see enormous squirrels and Egyptian mongooses. Snakes, too!   Cobras, vipers, and black and green mambas are among the more than 40 species.

 There are 400 different species of butterflies in the area around you.

 The walking safari was the inspiration behind the Kakamega. The nearby densely forested area of close-up nature can be experienced up close and personal thanks to the hiking trails. Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers can assist you with walks and activities like birdwatching, night safaris, visits to the falls, and trips to lookout points.

The chance to interact with the Luya tribe, the last remaining inhabitants of ancient Africa, is another unique opportunity. You can visit and learn about the myths that have developed from this enchanted Kakamega Forest during a cultural evening that can be arranged for you.


Getting to the Kakamega Rainforest

Through Kakamega Town, which is quickly reachable from Kisumu by bus or matatu, one can access Kakamega by road. To get to the rainforest, you’ll need your own transportation or to go on a safari. If you get lost, ask one of the numerous village residents!


It would be best to stay in the village of Kakamega, a little outside the Kakamega rainforest, if you want more than just a tent or a hut. The entrance to the rainforest is only a few miles away from Mulembe Villa, which has everything you need for a self-sufficient stay in lovely surroundings.


In the southern part of the forest, you can stay at the KEEP campsite. This straightforward campsite is close to the rainforest headquarters, making it simple to reserve guides and learn more about the forest.

 The daily visits from the monkeys and the wide variety of birds, butterflies, and insects will give you the impression that you are camping in the rainforest itself. The extremely primitive restroom and laundry facilities are worth it for the surrounding natural beauty. There is also many Bandas in this area.

Udo’s campsite, which is much more developed, is located in the northern section of the rainforest. Although there are better facilities and a cooking area, you won’t feel at one with nature here. A tent, some bedding, as well as all of your own food and cooking equipment, are required.

Guest Houses in Kakamega

You can book a number of guest houses and Bandas for your stay. The Bandas at the KEEP campsite are very charming despite being quite simple. Here, you can learn more about the available guest houses.

Exploring Kenya’s Kakamega Rainforest
Exploring Kenya’s Kakamega Rainforest

A little more luxury

Consider the Rondo Retreat Center for something a little (or a lot) more opulent. The Kakamega rainforest can be viewed from these cottage-style structures in a very comfortable manner, and the surrounding gardens are lovely. It is possible to stop by for afternoon tea, Exploring Kenya’s Kakamega Rainforest


It is best to explore the Kakamega rainforest on foot. Even though you can explore independently, it is strongly suggested that you take a guide. They won’t just make sure you go the right way; they are also very knowledgeable about the rainforest and will greatly enhance your hiking experience.

They will be able to describe all the trees and flowers nearby and point out any wildlife that you wouldn’t be able to see.

The early-morning hike to Buyangu Hill, the forest’s highest point, is a must-do activity while you are there.

One of the best pieces of music you will ever hear is the dawn chorus, which combines with the sounds of animals and insects waking up with the sunrise. As you reach the top, you will be treated to the most incredible view over the mist-covered rainforest.

 The hammer-headed fruit bats, which are thought to be the biggest bats in Africa, live in the forest. The cave they live in, which is located in the higher elevations of the forest, can be found on the same hike.

You will have a great time at Isiukhu Fall, but after it rains, beware of the dirt road you must take to get there! With tall ferns enclosing lovely pools of water that appear to be filled with hippos and crocodiles, this small waterfall will make you feel as though you have just stepped out of a jungle book.

 If you aren’t already staying at Rondo Retreat, stop by here for a cup of tea and a piece of cake since it’s not far away.

For anyone interested in seeing more of Kenya than just giraffes, the Kakamega rainforest in Kenya is a must-visit. You can experience the diversity of this nation by traveling here on your own. You will pass through endless tea fields and tiny villages populated by waving children.

 When you finally enter the rainforest, the world of the arid safaris will suddenly change before your eyes. You are assured of having experiences that will stick with you forever, and it is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of Nairobi.


Kakamega is a tropical rainforest with year-round mild to warm temperatures. It is accessible throughout the entire year. From September through the month of January, daily average temperatures hover around 86 °F with little variation.

For the beginning of your sunrise hike, make sure you pack something warm because the mornings can be a little chilly.


  • Be sure to arrive prepared. Here are a few Packing list for your Kenya safari visit to Kakamega rainforest:
  • Rain jacket: Here, it pours when it rains! Though you might want to invest in some waterproof trousers as well if you only have a regular rain coat, you can use ponchos that are large enough to keep the majority of the rain off your legs as well.
  • Boots for walking: after a rain, the ground is very uneven and becomes extremely slick. Bring a good pair of walking shoes.
  • Camera: Camera is essential packing list for capturing wildlife, but be sure to pack a waterproof bag to keep it in.
  • Daypack that is waterproof for those real downpours!
  • Binoculars:  a great place to see birds, bats, and monkeys!


Traveling to Kakamega is not what you would typically associate with a safari, but it is worth the time to see this remarkable reserve. Traveling here is like entering a portal into another era, when much of Africa was hidden by this dense jungle. There is nothing like visiting this unique rainforest in Kenya. For your trip to Africa, we offer safaris leaving from Nairobi to this and other unique Kenya parks.

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