Gatamaiyu Forest is part of the larger Kikuyu Escarpment Forest which covers an area of 37,620 hectares. Other forest blocks that form Kikuyu Escarpment Forest includes; Kereita, Uplands, Kinale, Kamae, Kieni, Raggia, and Kijabe. Gatamaiyu Forest covers an area of 4,720 ha, of which 75 % is indigenous forest, 8 % is exotic forest, the rest being bamboo, scrublands, and some herbaceous croplands.
Gatamaiyu Forest is one of the Key Biodiversity Area(KBA) in Kenya, with about 138 species of birds recorded in and around the forest, of which 31 are forest specialists and 20 are considered rare.
At least 39 of Kenya’s 67 Afro tropical highlands biome bird species occur in the Gatamaiyu forest.
This makes Gatamaiyu forest a prime birdwatching destination in Kenya
Gatamaiyu Forest restricted-range bird species
As well as a significant number of regionally-threatened bird species including;
African elephants are occasionally encountered at Gatamaiyu Forest where they normally come for mineral salt lick, wandering from the main Aberdares National Park.
Gatamaiyu Forest Mammals
Gatamaiyu forest plays an important role as a catchment area for the many rivers and springs. Most of the rivers and streams such as Gatamaiyu, Bathi, Kiruiru, and Nyanduma start from the forests, typically flowing south-easterly before joining up to form part of the Athi River.
Nature trails in the forest are well maintained and suitable for walking to any age group. Gatamaiyu forest also offers a fantastic location for fishing enthusiasts or fly fishers.
Gatamaiyu River is well stashed with the fine-looking rainbow trout, a popular game fish for fly fishers. The river has good pools, rapids, and fantastic waterfalls that provide a tranquil to fish in peace and quiet.
There are 8 kilometers stretch of the river well stocked with rainbow trout. Enough for everyone to make a catch. The rainbow trout love an unperturbed atmosphere…let your mind waft as you bustle out that engaging tune, the trout will approach you. You must have a license to be allowed to do fishing from the Fishery department
Gatamaiyu Forest Direction
Gatamaiyu forest is 55 kilometers from Nairobi, take the upper Nairobi- Naivasha road, Turn left before Kimende town, at the new Total Filling Station– the forest is 8 km from there. Birding starts at the fishing lodge where you can also camp. They charge an entry fee to access the forest
Birdwatching starts as you exit the highway, be on the lookout for the African Stonechat, perching in bushes next to the road, Augur Buzzard soaring high up in the clear blue sky, and feisty duets of Hunter’s Cisticola on the tea plantations along the road to the forest
Golden-winged Sunbird may be seen on Lion’s flowers, Black Sawwing/Roughwing flying low catching insect and White-eye Slaty Flycatcher perching on the fencing poles