Sunrise over Kakamega Forest National Reserve in Kenya.

© Fin Moorhouse/Shutterstock

Kakamega Forest National Reserve

Western Kenya

All that's now left in Kenya of the massive Guineo–Congolian rainforest that once covered much of western Kenya, the Kakamega Forest National Reserve, though seriously degraded, is unique in Kenya and contains plants, animals and birds that occur nowhere else in the country. The reserve is especially good for birders, but is also home to several primates, including de Brazza's monkeys, colobus monkeys, black-cheeked-white-nosed monkeys and Sykes monkeys.

Trails here vary in length from 1km to 7km. Of the longer walks, Isiukhu Trail, which connects Isecheno to the small Isiukhu Falls, is one of the most popular and takes a minimum of half a day. The 4km drive or walk to Buyangu Hill allows for uninterrupted views east to the Nandi Escarpment.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Western Kenya attractions

1. Buyangu Hill Lookout

2.95 MILES

It's a 4km drive or walk from the park entrance to Buyangu Hill, from where there are uninterrupted views east to the Nandi Escarpment.

2. Lirhanda Hill Lookout

7.31 MILES

Depending on where you're staying, it can be about a five-hour return hike to Lirhanda Hill. Being there for sunrise or sunset is highly recommended.

3. Kakamega Forest Reserve

9.37 MILES

Kakamega Forest Reserve is the more degraded area of the forest, yet it's the more popular area with tourists. The five-hour return hike to Lirhanda Hill…

4. Market

10.34 MILES

It's worth poking your nose into the town’s municipal market. It operates every day but is at its loudest on Saturday and Wednesday mornings when, as if…

5. Crying Stone of Ilesi

11.54 MILES

The Crying Stone of Ilesi is a local curiosity perched on a ridge 3km south of town. The formation, looking like a solemn head resting on weary shoulders,…

6. Open-Air Fruit & Vegetable Market

28.95 MILES

The open-air fruit and vegetable market is a fun if rather odoriferous insight into the sort of markets where Kenyans do their weekly shopping, with not a…