Kenya holiday safari: Kakamega forest
More and more visitors to Kenya are now using air services to the national parks to enable them spend maximum time in the parks as opposed to spending time cruising long road distances to the parks – a good choice when time in the destination is limited and you wish to see many of the country’s attractions. It is therefore evident that the beginning of this week was marked by one of the regional commercial event kicking off and opening doors to another fly-in destination, Kakamega.
Kenya’s rapidly expanding regional airline, and of course, the undoubted ‘region’s first true low-cost, low-fare airline’ Fly540, has spread its wings to Kakamega with the introduction of daily flights from Nairobi. This is great move in opening up Western Kenya to their growing domestic network, while at the same time opening it up more for tourism and business travel.
The Kenya Tourism Board has, in the recent past, created additional circuits in parts of the country less visited by overseas visitors including Western Kenya among others. Western and Nyanza circuits are suitable preferences for any one seeking off the beaten track African safari experience. The added air-link will no doubt lure tour and safari outfitters in Kenya and across East Africa to be more proactive when promoting these clandestine and offering tours and safaris to the opened up regions.
Western Kenya circuit is home to the well-preserved attractions including the famous only remnant equatorial forest in Kenya – Kakamega forest, the Mt. Elgon National park – famous for numerous salt-filled caves collectively know as Kitum – the caves offer one of the most panoramic elephant salt licking sights in Kenya. This is without mentioning Ndeere Island, the great islands of L. Victoria and the must-visit Impala sanctuary.
Kakamega forest is 15km from town and is home to over 300 bird species, 350 species of trees and 27 species of snakes. In addition, it is the habitat of over 400 species of butterflies, reptiles, molluscs and seven primate species. It is worth adding to your kenya safari itinerary.
Ruma and Saiwa swamp national parks offer the only known protected areas for the endangered yet attractive Roan antelope and Sitatunga respectively. In addition to wildlife, western Kenya is home unique shrines and historical monuments, the Kiti Mikayi and Timlich Ohinga forests, the Kapenguria jail where the first President, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta had a stay.
Still on western Kenya safari circuit is Lake Victoria – the world second largest fresh water lake and source of the great River Nile is less that 20 minutes drive from Kisumu city. It also boasts Kogelo village – the paternal home of the US president Barack Obama.
There will be a Fly540 office in Holden Mall near Nakumatt Kakamega town to cover Western Kenya and an office at the Kakamega airstrip. The Fly540 Beech Craft 1900 aircraft will depart from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) each day at 7.00 a.m. The return flights will depart from Kakamega at 8.15 a.m.
Passengers will pay an introductory return fare of Ksh shillings 9,540 plus taxes. Tickets are available from travel agents and the Fly540 offices.
Fly540 commenced operations in November 2006 with a daily flight between Nairobi and Mombasa for local and overseas business and holiday travellers. The airline’s value for money flights won instant popularity and Fly540 now has nine destinations in Kenya with regional services to Bujumbura, Entebbe, Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro, Manyara and Serengeti.