Arabuko Sokoke forest national reserve

Arabuko Sokoke forest national reserve is located on the coast of Kenya, 110 km north of Mombasa and is protected as a national Forest Reserve, the Arabuko Sokoke national park, is situated at the north western edge of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve, is only a few square kilometers in size and constitutes only a small portion of the latter. The Arabuko Sokoke Forest National Reserve on the other hand is jointly managed by the Kenya Forest service, Kenya Wildlife Service, National Museums of Kenya and the Kenya Forest Research Institute and is one of the better protected forests in Kenya.

The forest national reserve was first protected as a crown forest in 1943, and was gazetted  in the 1960’s, the forest is threatened by the desire for land by local people but several national and international conservation organizations are working with the Kenya Wildlife Service to protect the park.

Climate in Arabuko Sokoke Forest National Reserve.

There are two wet seasons that is April to June (long rains) and November to December (short rains). The other months will be usually hot and dry, the annual rainfall ranges from 1,000 millimeters in the East to 600 millimeters in the Northwest.

Attractions in Arabuko Sokoke Forest National Reserve.


The Arabuko Sokoke National Reserve has got 40 mammal species including the African elephant, African buffalo, African civet, Caracal, Syke’s Monkeys, Yellow Baboons, Lesser Galago or Bush baby, the reserve also contain some of the Kenya’s rarest mammals that are found inside the reserve that includes Golden rumped Elephant shrew, Sokoke Bushy-tailed Mongoose, Ader’s Duiker and among many more. The Arabuko Sokoke Forest National Reserve has got Reptiles and Amphibians; that is 49 reptiles and 25 amphibians species are part of the wildlife in the reserve.

Arabuko Sokoke forest national reserve
Arabuko Sokoke forest national reserve

Bird species.

The forest reserve is a birding haven with  over 270 species of birds recorded in the forest including the several rare and endemic species like the Clarke’s Weaver is only found in the Arabuko- Sokoke and another area 30 kms further north of Arabuko- Sokoke in the whole world.  Other globally threatened bird species found in the reserve includes the East Coast Akalat, Sokoke Scopes Owl, Sokoke Pipit, Amani Sunbird, Spotted Ground Thrush and among many more. Other birds’ restricted Kenyan coastal forests are found easily in the Arabuko- Sokoke, making it a great place with the most beautiful birding in to visit Kenya.

Plants in Arabuko- Sokoke.

The Forest reserve is made up of three different forest types  of plant species such as the Cynometra- Dominated forests and thickets; These cover more than half of Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve, sightings of Caracal, Civet,  owls, Genet, Suni and other mammals are common on the tracks in the forest.

Brachystegia- Dominated Woodlands; these are known as Miombo woodlands, this type is fairly and beautiful to walk through as the birds, butterflies are more visible here due to the open canopy of the trees.

Mixed; these are dominated by the species like Hymenaea Verrucosa, Manikara Sansibarensis, the dense vegetation in this forest type creates a tropical atmosphere as one walks or drives in, the real feeling of being ‘’in woods’’, animals at times can be sighted here like the Golden –rumped elephant Shrew, East Coast Akalat, Greenbuls and among many.

Gedi town.

Gedi town is ahistorical town at the coast that was established in the 13th century it is also has the best African architecture. Currently there is no accommodation in side Arabuko Sokoke Forest national reserve but there are various lodges in the surrounding areas like the Hemingway Resort, Turtle Bay Beach Club among others.

Activities done in Arabuko Sokoke Forest national reserve.

Bird watching.

Arabuko Sokoke Forest national reserve is a birding destination with over recorded 270 amazing bird species that includes the rare Clarke’s Weaver bird that sounds one of its type in the world. The guests can as well sight the threatened bird species like the Amani Sunbird, Spotted Ground Trush, Sosoke scops and many others.

Arabuko Sokoke forest national reserve
Amani Sunbird

More birds species that call themselves Kenyan coast home are easily seen in Arabuko Sokoke National reserve which makes the best during your Kenya Safari.

Butterfly watching.

The reserve boosts with a quite number of various butterflies like the Mimetic, Baliochila minima of the family Lycaenidae, then Charaxes lasti and the Charaxes blende of the family Nymphalidae, and there are several species in the reserve like the Amauris ochlea, Danaus chrrtsippus alcipus and among more, these can be attractive which makes the tourists to be interested in watching them.

Nature walks.

In the Arabuko Sokoke Forest National Reserve the guests do carryout the nature walks through the forest tracks as they are identifying various features like the wildlife that is the animals, amphibians, reptiles mammals, during the nature walks also the guests can be able to spot butterflies and bird species, various plant species in the reserve which gives them a good experience in their life.

Game Viewing.

Guests who come to visit the Arabuko Sokoke Forest national reserve can as well do the forest drives in the wilderness and view lots of game like the African elephants, African buffalos, yellow baboon, bush baby, Adder’s duiker, golden rumped elephant Shrew, bushy tailed mongoose, water bucks, Africa civet, Sykes monkey, Caracal.


The interested tourists who would wish to do camping at night can come  along with their camping equipment’s and spend their nights with their families, friends while enjoying the camp fire, the nature wildness of the reserve during their  Kenya Safaris


Picnicking is always the best when it’s done in the cool and reliable environment like in the forest this is where the tourists relax in the forest during their picnicking time together with their packed lunch as they enjoy the cool breeze of Africa.


Here the guests who may not  carryout out nature walks can as well practice cycling, the tourists also explores various features of the reserve during the cycling activity and the guests can be able to also get closer to animal species like the African elephant, African buffalo and among others.

Arabuko Sokoke forest national reserve
cycling in Arabuko Sokoke forest national reserve


Running is the most favorable activity in the reserve that is the visitor who engages in running can be able to view the reserve’s premises at the same time the guest who is running can be benefiting health wise  that is running burns calories and can build strength, among others.

Where to stay in Arabuko Sokoke Forest National Reserve.

There are no accommodation within the reserve but they are good facilities to suit all budget nearby that is bordering the forest, there are a number of lodges and hotels along Mombasa – Malindi highway which leads to the reserve’s entrance. And there is camping as well to the guests who are interested in camping, that is there is a basic public site next to the Kenya Wildlife Service offices near the reserve which is easily accessed from the Kilifi-Malindi road.

Best time to visit Arabuko Sokoke Forest National Reserve.

In the forest there is a humid coastal climate of the forest which means it’s often very hot in the reserve, it is also recommended to visit the reserve between August and April for the most comfortable conditions for the bird watching, game viewing, nature walks and among others, but therefore here you need light clothes, plenty of water at any time of the year.

How to get to Arabuko Sosoke Forest National Reserve.

The reserve can be reached by either the road or flight means of transportation from Nairobi to reach the reserve.

By Road means.

Here the private, public service vehicles or taxis from Nairobi to Mombasa or Malindi. The reserve is located 120km/74 mi north of Mombasa and 560km/ 347mi from Nairobi.

By Flight means.

Tour operators will book charter flights between reserves as part of their tour package. Domestic flights from Nairobi leave from Wilson Airport, 6km/4mi south of Nairobi or Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, scheduled flights to Malindi from some of Kenya’s reserves and parks can be booked with several domestic carriers.

Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve is a cool and shaded retreat, and is one of the last remnants of Africa’s once huge coastal forest. Long isolated it hosts some of Africa’s most rare and unusual creatures, and makes the ideal African safari escape from the brilliance of the Indian Ocean coast.

book a trip