Karura Forest Reserve is located in the northern part of Nairobi city. At 1,041 hectares, it is one of the largest urban gazetted forests in the world. The forest contains nearly all the 605 species of wildlife found in Nairobi including three types of antelope. It is managed by Kenya Forest Service (KFS).
There are numerous attractions: a 20-meter waterfall, prehistoric caves, a lily-strewn lake, bird-rich wetlands and five rocky streams, antelopes and butterflies to watch in pristine forest patches, bamboo groves and grassy glades, 50 kilometers of maintained trails for walking-jogging-biking, an education centre, four picnic areas, two event grounds, a tennis court, an obstacle course and a world-class café. But the main attraction for many is the recovering upland forest ecosystem itself.
Wildlife in Karura Forest:
- Mammals: Include Harvey’s Duiker, Grimm’s Duiker, Bushbucks, Bush pigs, Genet Cats, Civets, Bushbabies, Porcupines, Syke’s Monkeys, Ground Squirrel, Hares, and the Epauletted-bat.
- Reptiles: Include pythons, green snakes and monitor lizards.
- Birds: The forest hosts around 200 species of birds including Ayres Hawk-eagle, the African Crowned Eagle, the Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, the Hartlaub’s Turaco, the Narina Trogon, Owls, Crested Cranes, Sparrows, Doves, Weavers, and Vultures.
- Butterflies: Include the African Queen and Desmond’s Green Banded Swallowtail.
Other important attractions that visitors to Karura Forest enjoy are:
- Mau Mau caves
- Scenic waterfalls and rivers
- Picnic sites
- Marked walking trails
- Small wetlands that are habitats for birds
- The incinerator formerly used by Central Bank of Kenya to burn old currency notes
- The area about which the late Professor Wangari Maathai carried out a campaign against illegal acquisition of forest land.
In Karura Forest, one can undertake the following activities:
- Tree planting
- Bird watching
- Dog walking on a leash
- Gathering in permitted locations for events like education tours, concerts, weddings
- Team building Exhibition
- Dog training
- Sport and fitness
- Horse riding
- Mountain biking
- Tennis at the KFEET grounds