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Exploring East Africa’s only coastal forest, Arabuko-Sokoke Forest in Malindi

A tour to Arabuko-Sokoke Forest in Malindi, East Africa’s only Coastal forest

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Kenya’s coastal city beams with white sandy beaches, classic beach holiday hotels and the best of marine activities. These are the emblems of Mombasa, Kilifi and Lamu but they have more to offer besides the enviable beach life.

Along Mombasa-Malindi highway, is the little-known Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve that redefines Kenya’s coast by width and breadth. It is the only existing coastal forest in East Africa,measuring 420 square kilometres.

Arabuko-Sokoke Forest’s history is preserved by a unique ecosystem supporting over 270 species of birds – including rare endemic birds such as Clarke’s Weaver, Sokoke Pipit, East Coast Akalat among others – and 33 species of snakes. Further, the forest has beautiful butterflies accounting for 30 percent of Kenya’s butterfly species making it a prime destination for tourists.

African elephants, African civet, buffalos, prestigious Aders’ Duiker, yellow baboon, caracal, bushbaby and syke’s monkeys are some of the mammals giving Arabuko-Sokoke Forest life.

The impressive game in the forest is explored on game safaris through the forest in four-wheel trucks but walking gives more pleasure as you learn more about this indigenous coastal forest through butterfly and bird watching. Notably, the Cynometra forest and thickets which spread to almost half of Arabuko-Sokoke and houses mammals such as civet, caracal and genet.

Miombo woodlands (Brachystegia woodlands) dominate another section of the forest. These woodlands are characterized by their open canopies which make an amazing walkway dotted by birds and butterflies attracted by the beaming lights

Mixed forest with dense vegetation gives the best game drive experience at Arabuko Sokoke because it houses large mammals such as elephants and buffalos. Camping, cycling, running through established forest tracks.

To top it all is the amazing Mida Creek-an elevated point in the forest with picturesque views of the canopy. Mida Creek is unique in the sense that it hosts migratory birds such as greater flamingos, Terek sandpipers and crab-plover. At a small fee paid at the forest’s entry point manned by Kenya Forest Service, you enjoy the treasures of the wild.

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