The Arabuko-Sokoke Forest is East Africa's largest surviving, dry coastal forest, situated only 7km inland from Watamu and 18km southwest from Malindi on the Kenya Coast.
The Forest covers an area of approximately 400 sq. km and is composed of three distinctly different forest habitats: mixed lowland forest, open Brachystegia woodland and dense Cynometra forest.
The Forest provides a unique and important habitat for a number of endemic and endangered birds, insects and mammals.
The Forest has a small population of elephant, buffalo and six species of small antelope, including the Ader's Duiker, which is globally endangered. Mongoose, bush babies and genet cat can sometimes be seen at night, while the Caracal and the endangered Golden-Rumped Elephant Shrew are often visible during the day. Baboons and Sykes Monkeys are often spotted.
One third of Kenya's 870 butterfly species are abundant in the Forest, especially during the rainy season (May-July).
Over 260 species of bird have been recorded in Arabuko - Sokoke Forest; it is considered the second most important African forest for its bird conservation value.
Arabuko is the global stronghold for one Globally Endangered species, the Spotted Ground Thrush, and five Globally Threatened species of birds, the Sokoke Scops Owl, Sokoke Pipit, East Coast Akalat, Amani Sunbird, and the Clarke's Weaver, all of which are endemic to the area. The Forest is also home to a large number of bird species restricted to the coastal area, such as the Green Barbet, Fisher's Turaco and Southern Banded Snake Eagle.
Well-trained and knowledgeable local guides are available to take visitors on educational walks. There are over 40km of rough driving tracks and a network of walking paths to explore. A well-equipped Visitors Center is open daily for information and forest guide bookings.
© Melinda Rees of Best of Kenya
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