Arabuko Sokoke National Park : The Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve is located on the coast of Kenya, Kilifi county 110 km north of Mombasa and is protected by Kenya wildlife service as a National Forest Reserve. It was established in 1990 and covers an area of 6km².Arabuko Sokoke Reserve is one of the last largest tropical forests that used to cover much of East Africa. The National Park sits in the Forest Reserve boundary, with about 50% lying outside the boundary. This outer section is now fully inhabited by local communities to the extent that there is no sign on the ground to show where the National Park begins or ends.
The Forest Reserve 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 most and well-protected forests in Kenya. The forest was first protected as a Crown Forest in 1943 and was gazetted in the 1960s. The forest is threatened by the desire for land by local people. Conservation organizations and individuals are working with Kenya wildlife service to improve relations with neighboring communities and ensure that benefits from increased tourism is felt by those living alongside the forest.
Attractions of Arabuko sokoke National Park.
The Arabuko Sokoke Forest is an area containing endemic mammals, birds and plants. The Clarke’s weaver is endemic to the forest, while the eponymous Sokoke scops owl, Sokoke pipit, Amani sunbird and spotted ground thrush are found only here and in a forest fragment in Tanzania. The park adjoins Mida Creek a mangrove forest that is an important shorebird wintering ground, protecting species such as the Terek sandpiper and the crab plover.
The endemic golden-rumped elephant shrew the size of a rabbit is the most noticeable of the park’s endemic mammals; the Sokoke bushy-tailed mongoose, Aders’s duiker is only found here and in Zanzibar. The forest also has savannah elephants, African civets, as well as sokokes, baboons and vervet monkeys. The park is also recognized as an outstanding place with a lot of amphibians. Arabuko-Sokoke is home to herds of buffalo and elephant, restricted to a smaller section of the park by an electric fence to reduce human wildlife The forest is within easy reach of both the bustling beachside metropolis of Malindi and the more intimate and colorful Watamu, where guests can enjoy the best aspects of this section of East Africa’s coastline.
Arabuko Sokoke is a hiker’s paradise with well-marked paths, a 4 km (2.5 mi) nature trail and expert local guides who will point out the rare animals, like the golden-rumped elephant shrew.
A wonderful point for viewing the elephants and the dense forest below are two tree platforms that visitors can ascend. Another dramatic lookout point is the Nyali Cliff. From this place, the land suddenly drops 80 m/260 ft and offers stunning views of the forest and beyond to the ocean.
The Arabuko Sokoke has one of the fascinating dense forest that in 13th century was a Swahili town called Gedi. The settlement thrived for hundreds of years, hidden and protected from the Portuguese as they invaded and occupied parts of the African coast. The remnants of the deserted town are still visible amongst the thick vegetation of the forest.
Best time to visit
Most Kenyan Safari tours/ Tour guides of Kenya recommend that Early morning or late afternoon visit is the best as this is time the wildlife is most active, emerging from their dens and burrows where they escape the midday heat. The best time to visit Arabuko sokoke National Park is August and April for the most comfortable conditions you will need light clothes and much water at any time of the year.
Citizen kshs 200 kshs 50
Residents kshs 400 kshs 100
Non residents kshs 600 kshs 150
The park is open from 06:00 hrs. to 18:00 hrs. daily.
Activities to do at Arabuko Sokoke National Park
The shaded canopy of the forest presents itself to hiking and guided nature walks. Trained guides are available to get a more in-depth exploration of the reserve.
Being covered in a forest there are over 270 species of birds among them the threatened Sokoke pipit and spotted ground thrush.
Cycling & Picnicking
The forest’s shady spaces, many trails and relaxed ambiance are a prescription for an easy bike ride
The forest hosts more than 49 reptile species. Some of examples of reptiles are rock python, day geulo, forest cobra, forest sand lizard, and boom slang.
The park is the best place to enjoy a day trip and relax at one of the picnic sites with a snack or having a packed lunch.
Here just like other parks in kenya is a wonderful place for game drives and enjoy the wilderness and viewing a lot of game such as African elephants, African buffalos, bush baby, yellow baboon, golden rumped elephant shrew, aders’s duiker, bushy-tailed mongoose, bush bucks, water bucks, sykes monkey, African civet, caracal and blotched genet.
How to get there
The park is approachable by tarmac road from the city along the Mombasa coastal highway to Malindi. The park’s gate is a slight detour from the main road. It is about 1 km before Watamu and Gedi.
You can take a local flight to Malindi, which is approximately 28 km away from the forest. From here, access the park by bicycle or by bus.
Accommodations available at Arabuko Sokoke National Park
There is an endless variety of accommodation options ranging from backpackers to high-end villas, but there are also cheap campsites inside the forest for those looking for a break from the city noises some of them are: The mida Creek nature camp,Mawimbi cottages, Nyumba nyekundu, Garoda House turtle bay , Mascotte cave , Watamu beach cottages, Gecko resort, Mangrove view. Kobe suites resort, The kite Nest, Villa Manu among others.
Arabuko-Sokoke is one of Kenya’s best-kept secrets, but it has long been the best destination for birders worldwide. Those who would wish for a longer hike, a trip to the Nyali Cliffs offers breathtaking views over the canopy, Mida Creek and the glistening Indian Ocean. The forest is within easy reach of both the bustling beachside of Malindi and the more intimate and colourful white sand beaches of Watamu, where guests can enjoy the best aspects of this section of Kenya’s coastline, without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Kenya coast.