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Parks & reserves: Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve

Nearby sites

Kipepeo Butterfly Farm

Near the entrance to Gede ruins lies the most important butterfly farm in Kenya, named Kipepeo which means "butterfly" in Swahili. This facility deserves a place of honour among the best practices of sustainable development. Before it started, there was a firm opposition among the locals to the conservation of a forest that reverted no profits to them and hindered the economic development of the region. Per capita income of the farmers was very low and the forest was seriously threatened. It was in 1993 when the East Africa Natural History Society and the National Museums of Kenya joined to launch the Kipepeo project, designed to save the forest, help to the conservation of its rare butterfly species and at the same time promote the rise of the local economy.

The idea was simple and smart. A total of 150 local farmers were trained to rear butterfly larvae feeding them with the native trees' leaves. Kipepeo raises the eggs and gives out the newly hatched larvae to the farmers, who rear the caterpillars and sell back the pupae to Kipepeo. The farm breeds the adult butterflies for export to Europe and America, either as preserved specimens for museum collections or as living insects for other farms or exhibits. The farm's experts have checked the lack of negative impact of this activity on the wild butterflies' populations. Today the farmers have a permanent source of income and support the forest's conservation.

Kipepeo has three houses open to the public. The first one contains the females, which lay their eggs on the leaves of the plants they feed on. The second house hosts the net cages in which the larvae grow. Finally, in the third house the males flap among the visitors.

The farm is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Hell's kitchen was originally a sandstone-rich escarpment, which upon erosion by rains, winds and torrents, was transformed into a canyon with magnificent gorges and chimneys, some of them rising up to 30 m high. Its beautiful colours are best appreciated at sunset.

To reach Hell's Kitchen, the easiest route is to take the B8 northward from Malindi. Soon after crossing the Galana/Sabaki river, the road heads into the town of Mambrui, from which there is a detour to Marafa. At the end of Marafa, turn right and 500 m ahead you will arrive at Hell's Kitchen, called by the natives Nyari, "the place broken by itself".


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Arabuko Sokoke Forest reserve
Arabuko Sokoke FR
    General info
    Nearby sites

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Safari itineraries

Aberdare NP
Amboseli NP
Arabuko Sokoke FR
Arawale NR
Bisanadi NR
Boni NR
Buffalo Springs NR
Dodori NR
Hell's Gate NP
Lake Baringo
Lake Bogoria NR
Lake Elmenteita
Lake Naivasha
Lake Nakuru NP
Masai Mara NR
Meru NP
Mt. Kenya NP
Mt. Longonot NP
Nairobi NP
Samburu NR
Shaba NR
Shimba Hills NR
Tsavo East NP
Tsavo West NP