Contact & Comment

Contacts: Friends of Karura Forest Community Forest Association

We would encourage you to become more than just a visitor to Karura. Please help to protect the forest by becoming a ‘Friend’.

Membership & Administrative Enquiries

Lucy Njoka: +254 725 939093 or +254 739 262092

Esther Kagweyi, Accountant: +254 (0) 706 813776, ekagweyi@karurafriends.org

Events & General Enquiries

Lucy Njoka, KFEET Education Officer: +254 725 939093 or +254 739 262092
lnjoka@karurafriends.org

John Chege, Chief Scout: +254 (0) 724 215 423
jchege@karurafriends.org

Peter Njui, Security & Infrastructure: +254 722 846264

FKF e-mail

rafiki@karurafriends.org

Maps

The New Revised Karura Forest Map is now out, showing all tracks, junctions and main forest features. Only 500/=, at main gates, K.F.E.E.T. Centre or administrative office at Triad House, 83 Muthaiga Road, Old Muthaiga.

An illustrated list of main bird species is available F.O.C.

Opening hours: 06:00 AM to 18:00 PM

 

Friends of Karura Forest
Community Forest Association
PO Box 63402-00619
83 Triad House
Limuru Road
Muthaiga, Nairobi
General Enquiries: +254 (0) 722 891 654
rafiki@karurafriends.org

29 comments

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  1. Lesley Stern

    I joined as a friends of the Karura Forest last August and at the same time purchased an annual pass. I recieved 1 email when I first joined and recieved nothing since. As my membership and pass are up for renewal soon, I must say I would consider only purchasing the annual pass and not bothering to renew my membership as there is nothing to be gained from being a member. I have not even has anything to encourage me to rejoin. I am sure I can not be the only person to whom this has happened.
    Your comments would be appreciated.

    1. admin

      We’re very sorry that you haven’t had our monthly newsletter since you joined, We’ve just checked with our (volunteer) admin, and it seems that your email was transliterated incorrectly off your application form (your ‘@’ came out as ‘e’ — clearly an error!) Anyway, we have corrected your contact, so with the newsletter and updates on the website, we hope you will have access to all the info you need. FKF is comprised of a minuscule staff of young Kenyan professionals plus a number of professional volunteers, and we are trying our best to keep up to speed. As your membership fees go in their entirety to support the forest, we do hope you’ll continue to participate and enjoy the forest with friends and family. Thanks for your support!

      1. Steve

        How can you get away with charging residents double the price that Kenyans would be charged and better still holiday makers (non residents are charged 6 times more)? This is blatant discrimination and not the way to encourage visitors… In the UK all parks and museums are
        free to all and even if there was a charge it would be the same price for adults regardless of where they hail from.

        1. Admin

          Good question. Unfortunately, the current efforts to secure and organise Karura receive no financial support from the government, apart, of course, from the day-to-day presence of the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) ranger corps, the Chief Forester and his deputy. All of the improvements you enjoy today — the security fence, the FKF Scouts, parking space at the gates, infrastructure at the caves and falls, signage, etc. etc. — are there because of the efforts of the FKF Community Forest Association and Corporate Social Responsibility donations from local businesses and individuals. Free access, at least for the foreseeable future, is not an option: the recurrent costs of keeping Karura safe and secure have to be met somehow. As to the disparity in entrance fees: arising from joint management discussions with KFS, we are obliged to follow a fee scaling similar to the other natural resource parastatal, the Kenya Wildlife Service.

  2. Nina

    I visited my family in Nairobi over Christmas and had the most wonderful afternoon in Karura Forest. I want to compliment you on your efforts to restore and maintain the forest and I think you are doing a wonderful job, as it is so important to preserve these wonderful natural habitats. I have one question — as we were walking around there were many seed heads like white cotton wool that were falling on the ground from a shrub or tree, and my daughter-in-law told me that this ‘cotton wool’ is everywhere in great abundance. I think it came from a shrub, and I picked some up off the ground and have brought it back with me to England and would like to grow it, but I cannot find its name (Latin or common). I have looked up all of the shrubs and trees that you list on your website, but none of them produce seed heads like this. Can you give me its name?

    1. Admin

      Thanks for your comments and pleased you enjoyed your visit to Karura. We’re pretty sure that you were seeing the ‘packing’ from the seed pods of Bombax ceiba, the ‘kapok’ or ‘silk cotton tree’. It’s an exotic member of the Malvaceae family that originates in various forms from India to Indonesia. Other members of the genus are found in South America, called ‘palo boracho’ (drunken branch). Many gardens surrounding the Karura have Bombaxes, and the season just past when the cottony fluff from the pods floats around the neighbourhoods, sometimes so thick that it can clog swimming pool pumps. The trunk and branches are protected with formidable thick thorns; the wood is soft and quite useless. It has large pink and white flowers, which accounts for its popularity as an ornamental. We think it would have a rough time growing in the UK outside of a tropical house.

      1. Nina

        Thanks you so much for the information, and I’ve had loads of fun looking this plant up. I might try and grow it as a greenhouse specimen — and even try to Bonsai it, as I know that I don’t have room for it to get very big. It will be a little bit of Kenya growing in England (although well protected from the frosts) if I’m successful. I look forward to my next visit to Kenya and visiting Karura Forest again in future and thanks again for such a quick and informative reply.

        1. Admin

          Hi, Nina, just to be clear… Bombax is not indigenous to the Karura: it’s an exotic ornamental. So you’ll really be having a little bit of the Indian subcontinent growing in the UK. Maybe on your next visit you can slip a few Croton or Vepris fruits into you pocket. Best.

          1. Nina

            Thanks for the extra information! Interesting about the Croton as we grow that as a houseplant in the UK (it obviously wouldn’t survive outdoors here). I help to run a website devoted to a wide variety of plants and their suitability as food for tortoises (many people keep tortoises in the UK, but of course they are not native to this country), and we have an entry for Croton:
            http://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/site/plants_19.asp?mode=main&catID=648 , but not one for Vepris — yet. I can see that my pockets will hold some little treasures by the end of my next visit!

  3. Nina

    Hi again! I was just wondering if it would be possible for you to identify a caterpillar that I saw in the forest over Christmas? I took a photo of it and have been trying to look it up but without success. Is there a way I can send you the photo of it? It is quite amazing looking with a small black head and very long thick white hairs, like a Lion’s mane.
    Thanks you,
    Nina

    1. Admin

      Hi, Nina. By all means send me the image. I’m collecting odds and ends, including a few images of butterfly and moth larvae, to take to the National Museums of Kenya for id’ing. Meanwhile, you might try scanning Google Images to see if you can find any beast similar to yours. Or perhaps submit your image to http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/identify. Good luck and let us know how you get on. Harvey. hcroze@karurafriends.org

      1. Nina

        Hi Harvey and many thanks! I’ll send you the image, but I’ll also contact the butterflies and moths site and will let you know what they say. It was quite a splendid looking caterpillar and it would be nice to know which butterfly or moth that it will eventually become.

        Best wishes,
        Nina

  4. Lorna Solopian

    I just saw the pictures of the visit you made to my former school, Karura Forest PrImary School and wanted to say, THANK YOU for the good work and God bless you!

    1. Admin

      Hi, Loma, thanks for the note and the good wishes. Come back for a visit one day, or visit us on Facebook.

    2. Carl Khaoya

      hi lorna..remember some1 by the name carl from starehe?

  5. adit

    Hello! we had our annual school cross country in Karura forest and we enjoyed.I’m proud that Dr. Maathai had done so much for eco-conservation and inspired people like us young generation. I’m doing project on environment conservation in which i’m making wood free,plastic free,eco-friendly pencil out of newspaper wastage and had dedicated my project to great visionary Professor Maaathai.

  6. Cynara Vetch

    Hi All,

    I run in Karura in the mornings and I have seen rubbish spilling out from a collection of buildings to the right of the path along the river. I have been told this is the rangers camp. There are piles of rubbish already filling up the compound and now it is breaking through the hedge into the forest. I have told the rangers at the gate innumerable times about this but nothing has changed.

    I believe this is because it may be difficult to get collection services to pick up from in the forest. I would recommend setting up a recycling scheme for the rangers in the compound that they could benefit from financially is this something that Karura trust would be interested in?

    Best Wishes,
    Cynara Vetch

    1. Admin

      Hi, Cynara, Thanks for your comment. Yes, we are aware of the rubbish there (outside the Kenya Forest Service Inspectors’ dwellings, as it happens) and elsewhere along the FKS HQ perimeter. We have taken up the issue with KFS and have been assured it will be addressed. KFS in fact has an incinerator within the HQ compound that doesn’t seem to be much used. Re-cycling would, of course, be the ideal solution, but frankly FKF has too much on its plate at the moment to try to sort out KFS HQ compound management issues as well as everything else it is doing. In the forest proper, FKF, as we are sure you have seen, has organised rubbish bins which the FKF Scouts empty regularly (along with other carelessly dropped taka-taka they find along the trails). The rubbish is then stacked in bags at the main gate from whence every week Bins Ltd, as a CSR contribution to Karura, collects and carts away to the authorised city dumping sites. We now have an offer from Nakumat Ltd for support of infrastructure and servicing to piggy-back on its recycling programme. We’re getting there…

  7. Seamus

    TakaKenya ltd. do recycle and pass Karura regularly, they have proper garbage trucks. They may be interested in help for some marketing.

    1. Admin

      Good idea. We shall talk to them. Thanks.

  8. Jen

    Hi, just wondering if there are any dog walking groups? Would be a nice way to meet new friends:-)

    1. Admin

      Hi, Jen. No formal ones at the moment. Amy Rapp (+254 733 255 406) has organised a couple of very useful and quite fun dog behaviour training sessions for owners and dogs in the past. You might wish to contact her to see if she has some ideas. Let us know.

  9. Dr Juzar Hooker

    There is serious noise pollution that emanates from Westhouse Hotel, sister hotel to Tribe, adjacent to one end of Karura Forest – noisy parties with loud music. We are immediate neighbours to Westhouse . Yesterday night was bad (Westhouse music stopped 11.45 pm, noise continued to 12.30 am, clearing noise till at least 2 am), with loud music and speeches, while trying to settle a sick child, and get some sleep ourselves. I am sure you will agree this is a common problem affecting many Kenyans and city residents, causing untold angst. Yesterday, we were told the Westhouse function had a NEMA license! The music was thundering, causing vibrations in our homes. This is unacceptable, unfair, environmentally unfriendly, ecologically unsound, illegal, immoral, inhuman, and a contravention of common courtesy and common sense, as well as being far from good neighbourliness. Noisy functions here simply should not be allowed – the residences are simply too close, the acoustics too poor, the noise too much. Kindly let us all take urgent and visible action to prevent this happening again.

    1. Admin

      All of us are deeply concerned about noise and other pollution in and around the forest. Unfortunately, the disturbance you report is outside of the forest’s jurisdiction. It sounds like a worthwhile campaign for your residents’ association.

  10. cynthia muthama

    Karura forest is a peaceful serenity that i can always rest my mind and soul after a long week.my saturdays are never complete without the natural beauty in it

    1. Admin

      Cynthia, so glad you are finding Karura restorative for body and soul. May you continue to come and visit in peace.

  11. Paul T. Kelly, AAK RIBA

    Harvey Croze: Your map looks great. They never have them for sale at the gate. Why not sell them on line? Also, why not include contours? Paul

    1. Admin

      Thanks, Paul, pleased you like our map. We shall try to ensure that there are always maps on hand at the gates. There have been a couple of comments lately. Selling online would be possible, of course, but we have already had to degrade the quality of the ones you can see on the website: folks were downloading and then copying and distributing to avoid buying them. But, let’s see if we can find a plug-in that would allow secure downloads and payments for a future version of the website. Contours, we felt, might clutter an already busy map, which is why we opted for a subtle hillshade. Perhaps it’s too subtle to be of use. Again, we shall think about it for the next map version. BTW, we hope to have better, more up-to-date large maps on display at the gate within a few days.

  12. Mungai Alex

    hello there? I WOULD LIKE TO VISIT KARURA tomorrow 20..09.2014. what are the charges for two people and do I need a guide to take us round? if so what are the charges?

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