Arabuko-Sokoke National Park, Kenya

a visitor’s guide to arabuko-sokoke national park

On the coast of Kenya, Arabuko-Sokoke National Park is a beautiful slice of a protected forest reserve. Lying around 100 km north of Mombassa, this is the largest surviving area of coastal forest in East Africa and an important monument to a disappearing environment. The park itself is a tiny 6 km2 but contains three ancient types of forest, each protecting hundreds of different endemic and rare species of wildlife for a fantastic safari experience.

The park is currently under consideration by World Heritage for its vast number of birds and the conservation of rare species. Amongst the 270 birds who call Arabuko-Sokoke home, the Sokoke scops owl, Amani sunbird, and spotted ground thrush are some of the highlights for visitors – the park is one of only two natural habitats left in the world.

There are also more than 50 exotic mammals and 80 types of amphibians living in this diverse safari destination. On a game drive, you can expect to spot golden-rumped elephant shrews, Sokoke bush tailed mongooses, forest elephants, African civets, and vervet monkeys.

Arabuko-Sokoke National Park cost
For foreign visitors, the cost is $20 a day for an adult and $10 for a child. Kenyan citizens should expect to pay KSH 100 each. If you want to take a car, it’s an extra KSH 200 per day or KSH 500 for a larger vehicle. Coaches with more than 24 seats are charged KSH 1,000.

Activities At Arabuko-Sokoke National Park
Feast your eyes on hundreds of species of birds, butterflies, and mammals in this unique national park. Visitors can enjoy the diverse wildlife on a game drive or a mountain bike ride through the park, or simply a guided walk along one of the nature trails with a park ranger (book the day before). Eco-tourism and conservation is also high on the list of priorities at Arabuko-Sokoke, so there’s plenty of opportunities to learn more about the local ecosystem and communities.

Highlights Of Arabuko-Sokoke National Park
Bird and butterfly watching is second to none at Arabuko Sokoke National Park. There are also unusual species of reptiles and amphibians that you won’t find on another safari in Africa.

Where To Stay At Arabuko-Sokoke National Park
There are no places to stay in the reserve itself but the area has good facilities to suit all budgets nearby. Bordering the forest, there are a number of lodges and hotels along the Mombasa-Malindi highway which leads to the park entrance.

If you’re interested in camping, there is a basic public site next to the Kenya Wildlife Service offices near the park entrance and accessible from the main Kilifi-Malindi road.

Getting To Arabuko-Sokoke National Park
Located 110km from Mombasa, the park is accessible by tarmac road from the city along the B8 coastal highway to Malindi. The gate to the park is a slight detour from the main road, about 1 km before Watamu and Gedi.

You can fly via Mombasa Airport and drive up to the coast or take a local flight to Malindi, which is just 20km drive away from the forest. From here, you can also access the park by bicycle (about an hour) or bus.

When To Go  To Arabuko-Sokoke National Park
The humid coastal climate of the forest means it’s often very hot at the park. Visit between August and April for the most comfortable conditions, but you’ll need light clothes and plenty of water at any time of year.