Arabuko Sokoke Forest
North of Mombasa is the coastal forest of Arabuko Sokoke. This fascinating forest wilderness is nestled beside the beaches of Watamu, just minutes from the waters of the Indian Ocean. Enter the forest and discover a world apart from the beaches and reefs. In this 400 sq km reserve there is an untold wealth of natural beauty. The air is filled with butterflies and birds, the trees alive with monkeys and the forest floor home to many smaller mammals.
The forest stretches to the headwaters of the mighty Sabaki River, and occasionally herds of elephant pass through the forest en route to the river.
The forest is good for birding, with endemic species including the exceptionally rare Sokoke Scops Owl and Clarke’s weaver. The reserve is occasionally visited by herds of elephant and leopard, but more common mammals include the Sokoke bushy-tailed mongoose, Aders Duiker and the Golden Rumped Elephant Shrew.
The forest has a good network of walking trails, and special raised viewing platforms for game viewing. Game is best viewed on foot, with a local guide. It is possible to make arrangements to walk in the forest at night- your best chance of encountering the rare and elusive Scops Owl.
The Gedi Forest station is a wealth of information, operating nature trails, guiding services and providing good advice on local wildlife. There are excellent local guides available fro guided walks through the forest.
This rich forest once hid another secret. The 13th century Swahili town of Gedi thrived here for hundreds of years, hidden away from Portuguese invaders and the influence of the outside world. The town was eventually deserted, and today the ruins of Gedi, lying among the trees and twisting vines of the forest are a haunting reminder of the past.