Birding Kakamega Forest
Kakamega forest is an iconic birding destination in Kenya located in Kakamega and Nandi County, northwest of Nairobi capital, and not far from the Uganda border. It is Kenya’s only tropical rainforest where birders have enormous opportunities to spot forest birds.
This beautiful forest hosts a number of mammals including bush pigs, colobus monkeys, giant forest hedgehogs, Debrazzar monkeys and pottos. Some of the birds that can be spotted here include the Blue Headed Bee Eater, Turner’s Eremomela, Black Billed Turaco, and Grey Parrots. Besides birding, Kakamega forest features other tourist activities such as guided forest nature walks, hiking and rock climbing.
The climate of Kakamega forest is generally wet with 2,000 mm of rainfall/year with rains starting from late March to May and late September to November while January and February are the driest months. June to August are also dry seasons. Temperatures are generally the same throughout the year; the minimum daily mean temperature is 11°C while the maximum daily mean temperature is about 26°C.
Key travel experiences at Kakamega Forest
Explore the magnificent views of the forest surroundings and impressive sunrise at the view point of Buyangu Hill.
Discover the beautiful Isiukhu fall.
Encounter the giant tree on Mukangu trails.
Tour the nature trails with marked trees of interest and pollinator garden next to KEEP office.
Explore the one of the best conserved tropical rainforests in Kenya that stretches across central Africa.
Meet hundreds of bird species, snakes (like Black Lipped Cobra, Gabon Viper, Rhinoceros Horned Viper, Forest Cobra), primates, butterflies, bushbucks, duikers and several tree species.
Visitors planning to book a birding trip to Kakamega forest can access the reserve by either road or air transport.
Getting to Kakamega forest by road – Yes you can use the shortest route from Nairobi which is about 418 km via Nakuru and Kapsabet. You will take the A104 road as far as Timboroa and continue for another 4 km, then turn left which takes you to the C36 road to Kapsabet from where you continue with your drive by taking C39 road until you join the Kisumu – Kakamega road. From Eldoret the shortest route to Kakamega forest is via the C39 road to Kapsabet.
Getting to Kakamega forest by air – Yes, there are now scheduled flights to Kakamega however birders can as well fly to either Kisumu or Eldoret and later connect to Kakamega by road.
The entry fees to Kakamega forest for foreign nonresidents is USD20 per adult and USD10 for the case of a child while citizens and foreign residents pay KSH 250 (Adults) & KSH 100 (Child).
The following are some of the bird species found in Kakamega forest that you will meet on your birding tour and safari;
African Black Duck
ACCIPITRIDAE, Birds of Prey
Eurasian Marsh Harrier
Banded Snake Eagle
Brown Snake Eagle
Common (“Steppe”) Buzzard
Ayres’ Hawk Eagle
African Hawk Eagle
Blue-throated Brown Sunbird
Northern Double-collared Sunbird
MOTACILLIDAE, Pipits & Wagtails
African Pied Wagtail
PHASIANIDAE, Quails & Francolins
Buff-spotted Pygmy Crake
Red-chested Pygmy Crake
White-spotted Pygmy Crake
COLUMBIDAE, Pigeons & Doves
Blue-spotted Wood Dove
Great Blue Turaco
Eastern Grey Plantain Eater
TYTONIDAE, Barn Owls
Cape Grass Owl
Verreaux’s Eagle Owl
African Wood Owl
White-faced Scops Owl
PHOENICULIDAE, Wood Hoopoes
White-headed Wood Hoopoe
Black and White Casqued Hornbill
LYBIIDAE, African Barbets
MONARCHIDAE, Monarch Flycatchers
Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher
White-tailed Crested Flycatcher
Dusky Crested Flycatcher
African Golden Oriole
Western Black-headed Oriole
Eurasian Golden Oriole
CAMPEPHAGIDAE, Cuckoo Shrikes
Black Cuckoo Shrike
Petit’s Cuckoo Shrike
Red-shouldered Cuckoo Shrike
Purple-throated Cuckoo Shrike
Grey Cuckoo Shrike
White-breasted Cuckoo Shrike
CISTICOLIDAE, Cisticolas & allies