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Kaptagat Forest

Kaptagat Forest Station is an extension of the larger Cherangany Forest Ecosystem, one of the country’s five (5) water towers. The forest consists of five beats covering a total area of 5,543.56 ha. Kaptagat forest was proclaimed as a forest in 1941 and later under legal notice No 174 of 1964.

 

Geographical Location:

Kaptagat forest is located in Elgeyo Marakwet County, Keiyo South Sub-county in Chepkorio Division. The forest borders Sabor Forest to the North, Penon Forest to the East, Flax Sub-location to the South and Kaptagat Settlement Scheme to the West.

Globally the forest lies within longitude 35○28’30’’ W and 35○32’30’’ E and latitude 0○21’30’’. Kaptagat forest is approximately 20km from Eldoret. The forest can be accessed by Eldoret-Eldama Ravine tarmac road, which crosses the forest from near the junction to Flax trading centre to Chepkorio market.

 

Climate:

Kaptagat forest experiences a cool and wet climate with the annual average rainfall ranging from 1200 to 1700 mm, and the average temperature ranges from 14.8○c to 28○c. The dry season is from January to March and the wet season is from May to July while the short rains normally start from October to December.

 

Drainage:

Kaptagat forest ecosystem is an important water catchment to Lake Victoria feeding River Sosiani which forms part of Lake Victoria watershed. The main streams within the forest ecosystem are namely; Ndoroti, Kipsinende, Naiberi and Kapkei.

 

Biodiversity:

The diverse types of flora found within the Kaptagat forest comprises of indigenous forests, bamboo, exotic plantations, shrubs and other forms of vegetation with a climber commonly known as‘‘Sinendet’’ Periploca linearifolia ranked highly by the community for cultural and medicinal values. Also found include ‘‘Tebengwet’’ Vernonia auriculifera and ‘‘Siryat’’ Rhus natalensis. The Wild Olive ‘Olea Africana’ is the dominant indigenous tree species.

 

Kaptagat forest also boasts a variety of fauna, mainly small mammals, reptiles, birds, insects and amphibians. The forest is a great habitat for hares, porcupines, rock hyrax, spotted eagle owl, sykes and velvet monkey, antelopes, stingless bees and guinea fowls among others.

 

Eco-tourism:

Kaptagat forest has a great diversity of eco-tousim sites which include caves, shrines, nature trails and film making sites. The forest has a potential for agro-tourism with activities such as beekeeping and fish pond-rearing. Cultural sites include; Masorta, Kabarkeon, Kipsao, Kapmatabaru and Chepkermetet among others.

 

Community Forest Association:

The Forest has a Community Forest Association (CFA) called the Kaptagat Community Forest Association (KCFA) who have signed a Participatory Forest Management (2016-2020). This guides the public private partnership between KFS and the Kaptagat forest adjacent community on how best to conserve manage and utilize the forest resource such as water resources in the forest among others.

 

Activities practiced by KCFA include beekeeping.

 

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