The Karura Forest Reserve is an urban upland forest on the outskirts of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. This remarkable geographical location and natural resource is one of the largest gazetted forests in the world fully within a city limits. It covers an area of about 1,000 ha (2,500 ac) and today is a a shining example of how country-based corporate social responsibility and individual philanthropy can serve to secure and protect a country’s natural resources.
The forest offers eco-friendly opportunities for Kenyans and visitors to enjoy a leafy green respite from the hustle and bustle of the city to walk, to jog, or simply to sit quietly and experience the serenity of nature in all its diversity.
Previously, the forest made headlines for all the wrong reasons, primarily because of crime and land-grabbing. In 2009, the Kenya Forest Service (KFS is a parastatal body within Kenya’s Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife) — in partnership with the Friends of Karura Community Forest Association — embarked on an aggressive programme to secure Nairobi’s key natural resource.
With all Karura’s vast and vibrant beauty only a few kilometers from the heart of the city, it remains for Kenyans and visitors to lend their support by visiting the forest!
The Kenya Forest Service and the Friends of Karura Forest invite you to take a walk in the woods and help protect the forest for future generations…
Historical Sites & Areas of Special Interest
The forest has:
- a 50-foot waterfall,
- archaeological sites (recently excavated, artifacts being analyzed),
- an old chimney incinerator – used by the Central Bank for the burning of decommissioned currency up until the mid-1990′s,
- an abandoned stone quarry pond, now called Lily Lake,
- caves which are considered to be sacred by many and steeped in Kenyan history (they were formerly used by the Mau-Mau freedom fighters as hideouts during the struggle for Independence),
- patches of bamboo,
- marshlands that attract bird life including winter migrants from Europe and Asia,
- serene groves of secondary and primary indigenous trees.
The forest is also where Professor Wangari Maathai (late leader of the Green Belt Movement and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate) carried out a much publicised campaign for saving the forest from developers who tried to grab large portions of the north of the central section of the forest. The forest became a symbol of the fight against land grabbing in Kenya.