Hi there, hope you have had an exciting week just like the weather here in Nairobi. I must say it’s really bright in the capital. As much as it may seem unlikely, Nairobi is not the concrete jungle that many think it is. Well when I say “Nairobi” here I do not mean the city itself, instead I am speaking about the entire county. Nairobi may be a massive concrete block but in some areas, a lot of effort has been put to ensure that its natural side is kept intact. Located in the Northern part of the county is one of the most important forests in the country and also the county, The Karura Forest. This forest is one of the main water towers for Nairobi county with tributaries of the Nairobi River (which if you ask me doesn’t classify to be a river). It is one of the very few indigenous forests left in Kenya. A lot of memories are held within it since it has been on the spotlight on many activities that have put a permanent mark in the country’s history.
Karura Forest has had a very dramatic history which dates back to the colonial times during the fight for independence. The forest used to be a hideout for the MauMau who attacked the white colonialists then ran to hide in the forest. There are caves deep in the forest that were the places where the MauMau used to hide. Some of these caves if you look carefully look like they were actually crafted out to serve this purpose. These caves which can be visited when you visit the forest tell a great tale of the struggle that the people went through to get free from British oppression.
The forest is also infamous for the great fight to protect it from private estate developers. There was a great saga in the late ’90s as part of the forest was allocated illegally to private developers to put up housing estates and commercial facilities siting the need to expand the city and providing more housing units to meet the housing demand at the time. This brought a major concern especially to environmentalists who saw the great impact the forest has on the environment of the city. A lot of violent protests took place but in the end the forest was safe from destruction. The Late Professor Wangari Maathai who was the head of the Green Belt Movement was the one who pushed on fearlessly to fight the encroachment of the forest. She got awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 because of her undying effort to protect the environment.
The forest now provides a safe natural environment for those who would want to experience its serenity and enjoy the great scenery it has to offer. There are established walking trails that form the Family Trail that was officially opened to the public in May 2009. The forest has a diverse natural aspect with marshlands that provide great views of the amazing tree line. The walk through the forest is breath-taking and also very enjoyable in the company of friends or family. The trails are also used as jogging and cycling tracks for anyone who would want to use. Deep inside the forest there is a roaring, magnificent waterfall that provides such a breathless view. The waterfall gives of a good relaxing feel to anyone who visits it. It is one of the key features of the forest and is really breath taking.
Karura forest is one place that I would recommend to anyone who would want to unwind from the daily hustle of the city and just take time to appreciate nature and enjoy it. The walk through it also provides the much needed exercise that leaves one refreshed later. It also gives the opportunity to bond more with family and friends. It is one place that I highly recommend one to go and spend time with those close to you in our life.
This is a special feature that I have really taken time to work on and I do appreciate the experience it has been and special thanks to Zynzii Oyiera and Rachel Maywood . Hope you enjoy. Peace.