The best way – indeed the only real way – to appreciate the forest is to walk. While guides are not compulsory, they are well worth the extra expense. Not only do they prevent you from getting lost, but most are walking encyclopaedias and will reel off both the Latin and common names of almost any plant or insect you care to point out, along with any of its medicinal properties.
There are two main patches of forest; confusingly, they often use the same name. The northern Kakamega Forest National Reserve (also known as the Buyangu area) has a variety of habitats, but is generally very dense with considerable areas of primary forest and regenerating secondary forest. The forest here is managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). There's a total ban on grazing, wood collection and cultivation in this zone. The southern section (known as Isecheno) forms the Kakamega Forest Reserve. Predominantly forested, this region supports several communities and is under considerable pressure from both farming and illegal logging, but entry fees are lower and it has better accommodation.