Arabuko Sokoke National Park is located 100km north of Mombasa town and about 18 km from Malindi along the Mombasa-Malindi highway. The Park is situated at the northwestern edge of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve, covering an area of 6km² in size and constitutes only a small portion of the latter. It is the largest coastal dry forest in the entire East African region, and the second most popular for bird and butterfly viewing in Africa.
The Arabuko Forest Reserve was first protected as a crowned forest in 1943. Afterwards, the national park was gazetted in the late 1980s. The park is the second most popular for bird and butterfly viewing in Africa. In total, it hosts over 20% of Kenya’s bird life, 30% of her butterfly species and over 24% of her endemic birds, reptiles and mammal species. The National Park is run and operated by the Kenya Wildlife Services, but the forest is run and managed by the Kenya Forest Service. There are a number of activities that can be enjoyed within the park. Among these are; wildlife viewing, bird watching, butterfly watching, guided nature walks and hiking, cycling and camping.
Arabuko Sokoke National Park is home to 252 mammals, 79 amphibians, and 60 plants species. Other than the yellow baboons, Lesser Galago elephants and Sykes’ monkeys, the park houses animals like the Aders’ duiker (small antelopes which live in pairs) and the amazing elephant shrew. Other residents of Arabuko Sokoke Forest include the Savanah elephants, Clarke’s weaver, Sokoke scops owl, Amani Sunbird, Sokoke Pipit, Spotted ground thrush, Sokoke bushy-tailed mongoose, African cricket, vervet monkeys, and baboons. The park is also recognised as an outstanding centre of amphibian diversity. Click here to read more about Kenya Safari Animals and Wildlife.
The climate in the Park and the adjacent Forest Reserve is generally hot and humid. This region experience two wet seasons that include March to June (long rains) and November to December (short rains). The rest of the months are hot and dry with the annual mean temperature ranging from 22-34 degree Celsius and the yearly rainfall ranging from 600 millimeters.
Arabuko Sokoke National Park is open all year round and can be visit any time of the year, but the best time to visit is between August and April for the most comfortable conditions.
Due to its small size, there are no accommodation facilities in and around this area, with majority of them being outside Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve/National Park-as far as Kilifi and Malindi Towns and they include Arabuko Jamii Villas found in Mida village off the Malindi-Mombasa road adjacent to the Forest Reserve and Kitsapu Cottages situated at the edge of the Forest and along the Malindi-Garissa highway. Other places to stay within Malindi include Hemingways Resort, Turtle Bay Beach Club, Crystal Bay Resort among many others.
Typical Room Interior at Hemingways Resort, Watamu.
Typical Room Interior at Crystal Bay Resort, Watamu.