Mathews Mountains

The Mathews Forest, dubbed a ‘biological bonanza’ by the BBC, the Mathews Mountain Range is one of the great stretches of Kenyan forest wildernesses.

Scientists call this mountain forest a ‘sky island’, which rises up out of the surrounding sea of arid lowlands, to an altitude of 2200 metres. This ancient mountain forest is a stronghold for a wide range of plant and wildlife species, such as Melanistic leopard, also known as the black panther, lion, forest elephant and antelopes, buffalo, the rare De Brazza monkey, Colobus monkey, greater kudu, waterbuck, giant forest hog as well as Africa’s endangered wild dog.

Over 200 bird species have been counted in the area, together with more than 150 species of butterflies, representing more than twice the amount of butterfly species found in the UK. Stretching for 150km, the mountains are covered in a 300km2 dense indigenous forest interspersed with giant cedars and a rare species of ancient cycad, one of the oldest plant types on the planet, endemic to the Mathews forests.

The real attraction of this remote area is its striking beauty and the opportunity to explore the forest on foot in complete privacy as well as to experience unique social interactions with the local Samburu and Ndorobo people.

To the south of the Mathews mountains lie the Sarara Plains, approximately 75,000 hectares, home to the Samburu tribes people, a group of semi-nomadic pastoralists who have for long shown tolerance for the wildlife that co-exists alongside their cattle. Many species of birdlife, the rare Grevy Zebra, as well as elephant herds, big cats, and wild dog habit this area. Leopard sightings are common, and visits to the Samburu “singing wells” are a unique experience.