Arabuko Sokoke Forest


Arabuko sokoke forestArabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve is a 420 km2 coastal forest in Kenya.

It is the largest remnant of the East African coastal forest ecosystem which once extended from Somalia to Mozambique


Arabuko Sokoke forest has three main forest types: -

These include the mixed forest in the east, on grey sands.

This habitat is relatively dense, tall and undifferentiated, with a diversity of tree species.

Characteristic trees include;

Combretum schumannii

Drypetes reticulata

Afzelia quanzensis

Dialium orientale

Hymenaea verrucosa

Manilkara sansibarensis.

The Brachystegia woodland runs in a strip through the approximate centre of the forest, on white, very infertile soil.

This relatively open habitat is dominated by Brachystegia spiciformis.

In the west, on red Magarini sands, is Cynometra forest and thicket, dominated by Cynometra webberi with Manilkara sulcata.

Oldfieldia somalensis and Brachylaena huillensis, this tree, much in demand for the carving trade, has been almost logged out from much of the forest)

The transition between white and red soil is sudden, and marked by a chain of seasonal ponds.

There are two areas of relatively tall Cynometra forest, with a canopy height of up to 20 m, in the north and the South of this zone.

Arabuko Sokoke Forest

Between these is a lower, scrubbier formation of intermediate Cynometra with a canopy height of 7-8 m.

The dry north-western part of the Arabuko Sokoke forest is covered by a low, dense, and often almost impenetrable Cynometra thicket (2,300 ha), with the canopy no more than 5 m high.


Arabuko Sokoke Forest is rich in wildlife; the forest has 40 recorded mammal species some of which are rare especially among the fauna.

Six taxa of butterflies’ endemic to the East African coast are present,

As well as three rare, near endemic mammals:

Golden-rumped Elephant shrew

Ader's Duiker (found only in Arabuko Sokoke forest and Zanzibar)

and the distinctive Sokoke Bushy-tailed Mongoose.

There is also a population of the African Elephant, and African Golden Cat, rare in Kenya occurs .

Unusual reptiles include the Green Keel-bellied Lizard, and the forest is exceptionally rich in amphibian, including coastal endemics such as Bunty's Dwarf Toad.

                                           Arabuko Sokoke Forest Bird checklist

Arabuko-Sokoke forest has been ranked by Bird Life International as the second most important forest for bird conservation in mainland Africa.

Six globally threatened species, and five out of the seven species in the East African Coastal forests Endemic Bird Area, occur.

Clarke's Weaver, an endemic bird in Kenya is known only from Arabuko-Sokoke and the little-studied Dakatcha woodland.

Sokoke Scops Owl is only known from this forest and one other site in north-east Tanzania.

There are over 270 species of birds recorded in the forest , including 25 of Kenya's 30 African East Coast biome species.

In terms of birdlife the area has the

Southern Banded Snake Eagle

Fischer's Turaco, which are near threatened and residebirding arabuko sokoke forest in the forest,

Sokoke Scops Owl

 Spotted Ground Thrush 

the Sokoke pipit

East Coast Akalat,

Amani Sunbird

Plain-backed Sunbird

Clarke's Weaver 

Ayres’s Hawk Eagle

African Crowned Eagle

African Pitta

Scaly Babbler



There are two wet seasons in Arabuko Sokoke Forest:

April-June (long rains) and November-December (short rains).

The other months will be usually hot and dry.

Annual rainfall ranges from 1,000 mm in the east to 600 mm in the northwest