The park is located in Arabuko Sokoke Forest, which lies on the coast of Kenya, North of Mombasa. The forest covers 420sqkm and the park covers 6sqkm. The park was gazetted in 1980s, and continues to be a protected area, both for wildlife and birds. The park’s flora and fauna have been the biggest attractors to the park.
How to access the park
There are two ways or means one can use to gain access in the park and that is, road and air transport.
Road transport, the park lies between Malindi and Kalifi towns. These are accessible by all means. One needs to go through Mombasa town, which is 75km to the park. As for air transport, one needs to land in Malindi and Mombasa airport then proceed with road transport to the park. A 4WD vehicle is highly recommended for the landscape in the park.
Things to take on your trip
It’s advisable for a tourist to be well equipped with what is required and also other items for emergency cases. Generally, a trip to this park, one would need to have camping equipment, long sleeved shirts or garments, long trousers, sunglasses, sunscreens, a hat, light rain coat, water proof backpack, water proof hiking shoes, gardening gloves, a camera, binoculars, drinking water- preferably packed, and other clothes.
When to Visit
The park and the forest experience hot and dry season and wet seasons. The period from March to June register long rains and November to December, short rains are received. The other months of the year are dry and hot. The best time to visit the park is from July-September and January-February which are the dry most of the time.
The dry season is a perfect time for watching wild animals. They are easy to spot during this time, for grass is short, and besides, they gather around rivers for water, thus are easy to track.
Still in the same period trails in the park are easy to pass through, thus favoring nature walk safaris. Even the roads to the park are passable without the rains.
The dry period is a busy season for the park. Also accommodation places are busy and crowded. Therefore tourists are advised to do early booking to get the best out of their trip.
It should be noted however that during dry period clear visions might be affected by haze in the park.
The first wet season (November –December) is the peak period for bird watching. Migratory birds come to the park during this time. Thus, bird watchers should target it.
The best views of the park can be seen during this period. Due to rain, the grass is all green, trees and plants are at their best, with flowers, is such a wonderful scenery.
Wildlife can still be seen in the park during period of short rains. Wildlife in water is best seen during this time.
During this season, it’s a low period in the park, so rates of tickets, and at places of accommodation are generally low compared to the dry season.
The period however can disorganize a lot of tourism activities in the park especially during the long rains. Visitors will be forced to keep indoors. Roads can be impassable and tails in the forest can be slippery and muddy.
Things to do
The park has been a touring ground of all time and there several activities that tourists should engage in to have a wonderful time at the park. The best that you can’t miss are as below.
The park has over 230 species of birds at its disposal. Among these are migratory birds and the rare bird species. With the pair of binoculars that you packed, you will be able to see these flying creatures clearly. These are more seen in huge numbers during the early stages of the wet season. On trees, in grazing grounds, these birds will be visible.
Viewing wildlife is another exciting activity in this park. Guided tours are arranged for tourists, especially during day, in the morning or evening hours for a specified period of time, according to the day’s plan, to explore the whole area in search of wildlife in the area. On these tours tourists not only see wildlife but also adventure the park and see birds and park’s vegetation.
Safaris walks is another wonderful activity in the park. Sometimes nature needs to be appreciated and experienced while on foot. Guided tourists take walks in and around the park for adventure. In the forest there’re trails created to be used when exploring the area. These trails lead to different parts of the forest and he park. While on a walk safari one needs to look out for wildlife, birds and the unique species of plants.
This is also a common activity and worth a try. There tourists who prefer a safari on a bike. Trails for bikers are also present in the park. It also gives an opportunity to a tourist to enjoy and explore the whole area while on a bike. However if someone is to go deep, it’s advisable to have a group and a guide to tag along.
The park has been able to standout, receiving visitors year in a year out for the attractions it possesses that pull tourists like a magnet. Below are the must-see things in the park
The park has a large number of elephants, the likes of savanna elephants, golden rumped elephant strew, bushbucks, water bucks, Ader’s duiker, sokoke bushy tailed mongoose, African buffalos, African civets, primates like baboons, skyes monkeys, vervet monkeys, among others. These can be enjoyed on game drives, walk safaris among others especially in the dry season where they concentrate around water bodies for water.
The 230 species of birds are worth a visit to the park. The likes of sokoke pitit, Amani sunbird, sokoke scops owl, East coast akalat, spotted ground thrush, clerker’s weaver, are among the rarest birds and can only be seen in the this small park. Other birds like crab plover, fisher’s turacos, golden woodpeckers, sparrows, eagles, among others will be at your sight. These are better seen in the wet season.
Arabuko Sosoke Forest Reserve
The nearest adventurous place is this forest. It covers over 420sqkm and is the largest coastal forest in East Africa. The forest is made up miombo woodland, plants and different tree species, green vegetation and it harbors most of the mammals especially monkeys and birds of the park. This huge area is worth a visit and besides, what you will see will be rewarding to you.
If you admire beauty then you will also need to look out for the butterfly species in the forest. Over 263 lie in the park. The sight of these will make you appreciate nature.
The park is one of the smallest places of wildlife conservation and doesn’t have so many places close to it. Close to the park will be found in Watamu, Malindi and Kalifi. However the available places offer accommodation in categories and provide different facilities and activities to tourists.
Villas Watamu Resort
Lies 15km from Arabuko Sokoke forest. It is a wonderful place to enjoy. It lies not so far from other sites in the area like the Ruins of Gedi, the snake farm among others. Has over 14 furnished rooms, has a restaurant, for lunch breakfast, dinner, free Wi-Fi, bar, swimming pool, among others.
Eagle Camp Mida Creek
This is a paradise for birds. It lies 8km from Arabuko Sosoke forest. Caters for visitors 24 hours, the have guest rooms, family, queen beds, double, king size, among others. The have restaurant, bar, outdoor picnic space, among others.
Located at the edge of the forest, along Malindi Garissa highway. Offers spacious affordable accommodation, has a restaurant, bar, and offers exciting activities to visitors.
Merry Crab Cove Beach Resort.
Lies 11km from Arabuko forest, is a relaxing ground from a long nature walk. It has free Wi-Fi, self-contained spacious rooms with king size beds, double beds and a romantic suit. It has a restaurant, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, has a bar, and one enjoys wonderful views of the sea.
Turtle Bay Beach Club
Also located 14km from Arabuko Sokoke forest, has self-contained rooms, with twin beds, double beds, spacious, and with good service. It’s a midrange accommodation. It has a restaurant, bar, swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, among other services.
Luxurious accommodation, offers 24 hours wonderful service. Is located 14km from Arabuko Sosoke forest, offers self- contained rooms, with king size beds, the place is very spacious and one can spend quality me time. It has a bar, restaurant, swimming pool, spa, among others.
The park’s attractions and activities done have satisfied visitors all the time. They have come to understand that the size of the park doesn’t matter but what it has to display is what matters.