5 reasons to visit the forest
An opportunity to immerse yourself in the special dry coastal forest – a biodiversity hotspot of global importance. The forest is one of the best places to view endangered Golden-rumped elephant shrew.
Two hours’ drive from Mombasa and 30 minutes from Malindi, it is a beautiful and convenient natural ecosystem to visit, and an easy site to add on to before or after spending time on the beach. This is the perfect wilderness for day visitors.
A birders delight, the forest offers an exceptional birding experience with more than 482 bird species documented including endemic, rare and endangered species as Clark’s weaver or Sokoke Scop’s Owl.
Spend time at the Arabuko-Sokoke swamp and enjoy sightings of elephant and buffalo that come to drink at the sundown.
Interact with the local Waata community and learn more about their unique way of life at cultural centre in the forest.
The Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Coastal weather is represented by two rainy seasons – a short rainy season in November and December and a long rainy season from April through June which starts sprinkles by end of March, with May being considered the wettest month.
Precipitation can affect forest trails, making some of them more challenging to traverse, so knowing the rain patterns can help you avoid the frustration of being unable to enjoy all that forest has to offer. The Indian Ocean coastline tends to be more humid that inland areas and average annual temperatures are generally in the lower to mid-80s degrees Fahrenheit (26-30 Celsius) during the day and lower to mid-70s degrees Fahrenheit (21-24 Celsius) at night.
But the forest is a beautiful destination no matter when you visit. For locations of activities and key forest features see the map by clicking here, or buy the official Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Map at Gede main forest gate.
- FOREST DRIVES: There is over 100km of forest trails open for public. A 4WD is advisable in some parts and especially during the rainy season – our guide will advise you on forest trail accessibility. Don’t forget to visit forest highlights as the Nyari viewpoint where there are spectacular views towards Mida Creek and Indian Ocean and the Arabuko Swamp, the only permanent water source in the forest where elephant come to drink at the sundown.
- CAMPING: Campers need to be self-sufficient with all equipment, transport, food and water. At the moment there are no designated campsites that offer services and there are no toilets available. Fires are NOT allowed in the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and all litter must be taken out with you.
- RUNNING AND CYCLING: Running and cycling through the forest is also allowed. We recommend using forest parts outside of the electric fence where elephant and buffalo are not present.
- WALKING: Walking in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest is a relaxing experience, the songs of birds and buzzing of cicadas fill the air, and a mammal may cross the track. Your guide will ensure you visit the right places, depending on your interests and physical capacity.
- PICNICKS: Picnics in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest may be enjoyed at selected sites. Note that a picnic is defined as a small packed-snack affair for family and friends and must neither involve catering nor erecting temporary structures such as tents.
Giriama community have developed a cultural center within the forest to share their traditions with guests. During their cultural events you will learn about their culture and witness traditional dance performance. For organizing this unique experience contact your guide.
Waata community is in the process of developing similar cultural site inside the forest. Arabuko Sokoke is Waata for ‘forest of the thin elephant’ (arbi means elephant, huk’o means thin, sokoke means short trees).
All revenues generated by these visits are goes directly back to the community.
The Arabuko-Sokoke Forest is home to elephant and buffalo, so if you are walking, running or cycling take all precautions to avoid interaction with these species. Always follow rules and regulations prescribed for the forest and available at the entrance gate in Gede.
Night visits to the forest are not permitted, and you shall leave the forest or reach your campsite before 6pm.
It is forbidden by Kenyan law to use plastic bags in the country and plastic bottles in protected areas. Please bring your water in re-usable containers.
Don’t forget to take your rubbish out of the forest when you are finished with your picnic.
Dogs are not allowed in the forest.
You can enter the forest via three entrance gates – Gede (the main gate), Sokoke or Jilore.
You can pay entrance fees via mobile money – MPESA and get your ticket at Gede forest station.
Entrances and Map
Members of the group provide guiding services to visitors. Many of the group’s members are expert birders and naturalist who locate the forest “small seven” among other attractions. It is advised to take a local guide into the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest with you to achieve the full experience.
Visiting forest is one of the best ways to support communities and forest conservation. You can chose one of these community guides:
The ticket office is open from 6am – 6pm at the main Gede Forest Station.
You can also enter via Jilore and Sokoke forest stations.
Mode of payment only by cashless transaction method MPESA. If you don’t use MPESA, your guide can arrange for the payment with you.
Kenyan and East African Community Citizen
KSh 232 / Adult
- KSh 58 / Child
- KSh 23.2 / Student
KSh 464 / Adult
- KSh 58 / Child
- KSh 174 / Student
KSh 696 / Adult
- KSh 174 / Child
- KSh 174 / Student
KSh 754 / Adult
- KSh 116 / Child
- KSh 986 / Others