The forest includes some of Africa’s greatest hard and soft woods: Elgon teak, red and white stink woods and several varieties of Croton and Aniageria Altisima. Splendid orchids sit amongst the branches of the larger trees. Walking beneath the lush forest canopy the deep shade is pierced by flashes of color, exotic birdcalls, the scents of wood, flower and moss. The best time to visit is during the rainy season, April to July, when the flowers are at their most beauty. Kakamega forest has 7 kilometers of trails with a team of ranger guides to escort visitors through the forest. The walk to Buyango Hill, the highest point in the forest, is a must for visitors.
The indigenous trees lining the trails are identified on signs with their local and Latin names. The Reserve is twice the size of Nairobi National Park with 380 species of plants spread in swamps, riverine and hardwood forest areas, glades and the shallow forest around the edge of the reserve. 350 species of bird have been recorded including rare snake-eating birds. Butterflies and snakes normally only found in West Africa can also be spotted, although visitors need have no concern about meeting them round every corner.
Forest mammals among them the bush pigs, grey duikers, civet, Sunni, clawless otters and some fascinating nocturnal game: Ground Pangolin, porcupines and the occasional leopard. Kakamega forest offers excellent primate viewing with Black and White Colobus being plentiful and the De Brazza Monkeys (known as ‘Karasinga’ in Swahili, thanks to its distinctive white beard) can be found in the adjacent Kisere forest area. Many rare species of primate are common here such as the Blue Monkey, frequently seen near the Ishiuki Falls, the Olive Baboon and the Red Tailed Monkey.
Accommodation is available within the Reserve: one guest house (total 8 beds), self-help bandas with 10 beds and two campsites. Other nearby hotel accommodation is available as well as the Rondo Retreat, recently opened to visitors, located inside the Reserve.