KAKAMEGA FOREST

Kakamega Forest is situated in Western Province Kenya, north-west of the capital Nairobi, and near to the border with Uganda. It is said to be Kenya’s last remnant of the ancient Guineo-Congolian rainforest that once spanned the continent.

Including reserves, the forest encloses about 230 square kilometres, a little less than half of which currently remains as indigenous forest. There are numerous grassy clearings and glades. The Forest’s huge variety of birds, reptiles and insects make it a specialist eco-tourism attraction for bird-watchers and wildlife photographers. There is no major tourism, and the Kakamega Forest is not a safari destination.

 

Large mammals are rare. Part of the forest also contain unique and rich highland ecosystems, but generally the fauna and flora of the Forest have not been comprehensively studied by science. The climate is very wet with over two metres of rain annually. The rainy seasons are April-to-May and August-to-September.

 

In the north of the Forest is the 36km-square Kakamega National Reserve, given national forest reserve status in 1987. Just to the north is the Kisere Forest Reserve. Despite having protected status the Forest has continued to be damaged and degraded. The Forest Department and the Kenya Wildlife Service work to protect the forest.

 

The local inhabitants are the Luhya people, who rely on the forest to supply most of their needs. The region is said to be one of the most densely-populated rural areas in the world, and pressure on the Forest resources is considerable. The german funded project BIOTA East is working in the forest since 2001, whereby firstly forest inventories for all sorts of life forms were performed and the aim is to find strategies for a sustainable use of the forest until 2010.

 

The major A1 road runs down the western edge of the area.