Kakamega Forest Reserve KenyaKakamega
Kakamega Forest Reserve is one of the few, unpolluted places on earth. It has breathtaking scenery and numerous indigenous species.
Gold, Milk and Honey
Thick bushes, trees tall and large, thick air graced with the fine beauty of butterflies of all sizes and colours, 45% of Kenya’s entire butterfly population they say, small valleys that leave you panting or as good as new when you reach the rivers at the bottom let you know that you are on the 240square km Kakamega Forest Reserve.
A 15km ride on the Eldoret-Kakamega Highway in Western Kenya leads you to this one-in-a-million reserve, specially preserved for its purpose, commonly as a water catchment area in the regions that surround Lake Victoria, and uniquely as the only progeny of The Congolian Rainforest in Guinea.
In heaven, they say, is the privilege of walking on streets made of gold and of drinking from rivers flowing with milk and honey. At the Kakamega Forest Reserve, pathways are not tarmacked so sneakers or safari boots would be best, but the gold comes in plenty in the form of the pricy hardwood trees, the elgon teaks, the biblical fig trees, the mkombero whose quality as an aphrodisiac many locals can attest to and the many rare species of animals and birds.
Each visit at the reserve lets one witness the complete ecosystem- the amazingly towering trees and other vegetation are the habitat to the grey mimicking parrot, the flying squirrels, the red, the blue and the sykes monkeys, dik diks, duikers, bucks, a wide variety of snakes and the slowest mammoth on the planet; the potto. The ficus thongil, that takes you down memory lane to your biology class, feeds on some of these trees and human beings are at the top.
Flowing milk and honey at the reserve do not allow you to taste but just to stand amazed at the master architect’s work. They are the rivers in between, the Yala and the Isiukhu, bursting with life and an amazing energy over ridges and stones with the Isiukhu going on to form a fall.
Places to stay while at the reserve are both on and off the grounds. The Golden Inn is just fifteen kilometers away at the heart of Kakamega Town. The Sheywe Guest House, the Isecheno and the Rondo Retreat are almost the same distance away. Additionally, the Golf Hotel gives the ultimate experience- cosy rooms with very efficient service, swings and pools for children and adults, a tennis court, a section just for badminton and a good number of exotic dishes and fruit drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
But a luxury hotel can be found anywhere, so a homemade survivor series would make an extraordinary and a hardly forgettable experience- camp out at the reserve with the crickets and derive the star signs from the skies above. Security is the guards’ priority and all the snakes and primates are safely tucked away. Create a campfire and have a cook out during the day or buy a simple meal from the locals just a few minutes away.
Other activities are peaceful and serene; picnics, the watching of birds and primates and walk-throughs, so other than the safari boots, a camera, a pair of binoculars, and a book or a further guide into birds, primates and butterflies would add to the fun by making it a learning experience too.
Kakamega is a place for those who want to go back in time, backed by the old-fashioned groups of people, the one-way streets and the general pre-civilization notion that most people are getting away from, but the Kakamega Forest Reserve is that little piece of heaven that you just must have.