Birding Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve

Birding Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve

December 30, 2021
Safari Tips

Are you looking for birding tour in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Kenya? Yes, Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve is destined at the coast of Kenya; 110 km north of Mombasa, offering great birdwatching opportunities to keen birdwatchers. The forest reserve covers an area of about 420km and it is managed by Kenya Forest Service (KFS).

Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve is a largest and highly protected natural coastal forest reserve in East Africa, hosting 20% of Kenya’s bird species, 30% butterfly species and about 24 accidental and endemic birds, mammals and butterflies.

Besides birding tours, Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve features the following tourist activities;

  • -Forest walks
  • -picnicking
  • -Forest drives
  • -Cycling
  • -Butterfly watching
  • -Camping
  • -Running

Entry tickets to Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve can be bought at the entry gate from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. Visitors looking for a specific tourism activity are advised to buy the tickets at least an evening before to avoid any time delays and inconveniences.

Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve can be visited all year round however, the best time to visit the forest is during early morning and late afternoon hours because during the mid-day, wildlife tends to hide away from strong heat hence affecting your sighting. And yes, the best time to watch birds is from 6:00am to 9:00 am.

Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve experiences two wet seasons that run from April-June (long rains) & November-December (short rains) while the remaining months are usually hot and dry. Annual rainfall ranges from 1,000 mm in the east and 600 mm in the northwest.

About 261 bird species have been recorded within the boundaries the Forest Reserve together with those recorded from the section of Arabuko wetland in the northern boundary near Arabuko / Mijomboni. Records have been obtained, compared and compiled based on trusted sources. Different specimen records were gathered together with sight observations and mist-netting were used to capture records.

During your birding safari, look out for the following bird species in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve; Southern Banded Snake Eagle, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Fiery-necked Nightjar, Water Thick-knee, Madagascar Pratincole, Long-crested Eagle, African Goshawk, Little Sparrowhawk, African Wood Owl, Sokoke Scops Owl, Narina’s Trogon, Trumpeter Hornbill, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Mombasa Woodpecker, Green Barbet, Mangrove Kingfisher, African Pitta, Amani Sunbird, Eastern Bearded Scrub Robin, Clarke’s Weaver, Eastern Nicator, Ashy Flycatcher, Winding Cisticola, Chestnut-fronted Helmet-shrike, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Tiny Greenbul, Little Yellow Flycatcher Warbler, Red-capped Robin Chat and East Coast Akalat.

What to wear and carry for a birdwatching safari in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve

  • The following are key items to pack and carry if you are planning a birding trip to the forest;
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes
  • Loose-fitting lightweight clothing.
  • A hat
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • carry drinking water
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Wildlife books especially for birds and butterflies
  • Picnic and camping equipment

Rules and regulations in Arabuko-Sokoke forest

  • Always follow instructions and listen to your guide
  • Keep ample distance if you are watching any wildlife
  • Avoid feeding wild animals.
  • Never start any fires in the forest reserve
  • Don’t take away animals, animal products, plants or plant parts.
  • Avoid marking tree stems, stones and any other features.
  • Keep silence / don’t make noise because it disrupts wildlife and other visitors.
  • Avoid driving over 40kph in the forest.
  • Be careful with animals because they are wild and very dangerous.
  • Avoid littering the forest.
  • Use designated tracks during nature forest walks and game drives.
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