About the Mathews Mountain Forest & the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy
The forest of the Mathews Mountains, covers approx. 900 km sq, stretched over peaks that rise up to over 8000 ft from the surrounding lowlands of 2500 ft. A vast pristine natural forest, that has been described by the BBC as a “biological bonanza” on a “sky island”. Not your traditional gamedriving country, mass tourism has not visited the Mathews Mountain forest, and Kitich Forest Camp has this huge expanse of wonderland to itself.
A refuge for elephant, and of course natural habitat for “melanistic” forest leopard, the forest is not only home to a huge diversity of wildlife, which include rare monkeys, buffalo, lion, bushbuck, forest hog; but is also full of those magical things that are best observed on foot – over 150 species of butterfly, over 350 species of birds, wild forest orchids, and the endemic giant cycad.
In 1995, the local community, facilitated by the Northern Rangeland Trust, established the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy Trust, which encompasses the whole of the Mathews Mountain Range, and environs, covering an area of approx. 2,800 km sq. The Wildlife Conservancy is run by community rangers trained and managed by NRT, with radios, vehicles and security links into the Lewa security network. The conservancy ownership is an elected community committee of 13 trustees, with the mandate to develop local health support, administer education bursaries, resolve grazing conflicts, develop water resources, and preserve the ecosystem and wildlife with an organised network of rangers. Kitich Camp is a key tourism partner of the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy, paying conservancy fees directly to the community and working with the communities at grass root level.
The days are warm, rising to maximum of 30 deg C, but comfortable with minimum humidity, and the evenings are cool. Rainfall is mostly in April and May with an average of 360mm per year.