Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve Travel

The Arabuko Sokoke Forest is a what is left of an ancient coastal dry forest that stretched from Mozambique to Somalia. The reserve covers 420 sq km and lies a few kilometers inland between Malindi and Kilifi towns. It has many endemic species; it is home to 90% of the golden-rumped elephant shrew.

The Arabuko-Sokoke Forest has 3 different habitats. There’s mixed forest that is rich in plant species, butterflies and mammals, then there’s the Brachystegia that hosts a wide range of birds, and lastly the Cynometra forest features dense growth and is also home to a wide range of animal and bird species. There are a number of seasonal pools, which are replenished when it rains attracting a wide range of flora and fauna.

Arabuko-Sokoke Wildlife, Birdlife, Community Parnership & Conservation

Arabuko-Sokoke Forest is home to the Ader's duiker, the golden-rumped elephant and the Sokoke bushy-tailed mongoose, three endangered animals that are endemic to the coastal regions of Kenya and Tanzania. The common waterbuck, red, blue and common duikers, and Suni are easy to spot here. The carnivores here are mostly nocturnal. They include; the beautiful caracal, African civet, and the blotched genet. There are also the entirely nocturnal bushbabies and the aardvarks. The primates are yellow baboons, Sykes' monkeys, and vervet monkeys. The African elephant and the African buffalo are also present but sightings are not that common as they hide deep in the forest thicket.

Due to hunger for land in the area, initiatives were undertaken to help the community utilize forest resources sustainably alongside the conservation work. The Kipepeo Butterfly Farm Project is one such initiative. The forest has 263 recorded species of butterfly with 6 of these endemic to the cost region.

The forest is a highly recognized bird conservation site. It shelters 6 globally threatened species, one of which can only be found here – the Sokoke Scops owl. 230 species of birs have been recorded here, a good number of them rare.


The forest has two main walking trails 1km and a 1.5 km long. There is also a 36 km driving (cum biking/walking) trail. A stop midway this trail at Nyari viewpoint rewards with stunning views of the forest canopy, Mida Creek and the Indian Ocean.

Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve

Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve Highlights

  • Unique Coastal Forest
  • Many rare and endemic wildlife species; Ader's duiker, the golden-rumped elephant and the Sokoke bushy-tailed mongoose and some birds
  • Many primates; yellow baboons, Sykes' monkeys, and vervet monkeys
  • Biking and Hiking Trails