Nairobi is fondly known as ‘The Green City In The Sun’ and when you’ve been to Karura Forest it is very hard to disagree with this. Karura Forest is conveniently located within city limits and is a ten-minute drive from the city center. The Forest is the perfect place to get your muscles moving and blood pumping. It is a popular site for walking, cycling, jogging or simply sitting quietly with a book or picnic.
There are enough walking trails with superb sceneries to marvel at. The trails vary from fifteen kilometers, ten kilometers and five kilometers. The Forest also has a biking trail that is 12 kilometers long. The biking trails and walking trails lead you through green forest areas, waterfalls, caves and streams. The trails are clearly marked and color-coded by length.
There are numerous picnic benches within the park where you can sit down and cool off. Also within the reserve are many areas of interest, both historical and ecological. The Central Bank once maintained an incinerator on the property to destroy decommissioned currency during the 1990s, and you can still see the old chimney. The Mau-Mau freedom fighters used the sacred caves on the reserve as hideouts, and Lily Lake is the site of an abandoned quarry.
The reserve is also home to a few archaeological sites, some of which were recently excavated and the findings still being examined. Among these sites, you find a wonderful ecosystem with a variety of bio-net work, flora and fauna, such as a 50-foot waterfall, patches of bamboo, groves of indigenous trees and marshlands inhabited by resident and migratory avi-fauna, such as silvery-cheeked hornbill, ayres hawk-eagle, crested crane, African crowned eagle and many more! Mammals in the reserve include duikers, bushbuck, porcupines, bush pig, genet cat, bush baby, civet baby, honey badger, bush baby and many others.
You may also spot some of the resident reptiles, such as python, green snakes, monitor lizard and butterflies, such as Desmond’s green banded swallowtail and African Queen.All in all, Karura Forest is a gem and definitely a great place to unwind and come closer to nature. After this tour return to the starting point where you will be driven back to your hotel. You can opt for Lunch en-route to your hotel (at an extra charge).