Encompassing 1,063 hectares in the northern part of Nairobi city, Karura Forest Reserve boasts the most extensive natural preserve in Kenya’s capital.
The stunning scenery in Nairobi combines a diverse range of activities for first-timer and regular visitors, from cycling, bird watching, and obstacle course.
Below are the sixteen (16) most exciting activities to experience in the Karura Forest Reserve.
1. 2 – 4 Hours Walking Safaris
With over 50km of easy-to-complete trekking trials, walking safaris at Karura Forest Reserve makes great sense while spotting more than 605 wildlife species.
The main objective of trekking in the Karura hiking trails is to avoid deviating from the already chosen track.
The 2 to 4 hours walk on Muram graveled footpaths start at Limuru road gate, while the adventurers cover their desired distance and then send the trek at Limuru road gate.
How to go on trekking in the Karura forest
First, trekkers begin at the gate on Limuru road and follow the marked path.
There is a need to memorize the map and milestones while trekking to avoid wandering.
The Karura forest in Kenya has popular destinations where trekkers can rest, namely; waterfalls, caves, and beehives.
Items to take along on walking safari
Since the trails in Karura forest is a bit hillier, it’s advisable to walk with comfortable walking shoes and water.
2. Cycling or Biking Trails
Karura Forest Reserve has 12 kilometers bike trail for bike riding lovers in the northern section of the forest.
The cycling trails heal the soul and provide an eco-friendly, unique environment with an unforgettable experience.
Natural trees and the diversity of uphill and downhill trails in the forest make athletes indulge in bike riding at the park.
Bike hire at Karura forest
The bike hiring in Karura forest is available in KFEET off ICRAF road and Sharks off Kiambu road.
The KFEET is reachable through Limuru Road (Gate A) or Gate D (off ICRAF road), while Sharks is a rental point in Gate C off Kiambu road.
Charges for cycling in Karura forest
The riding charge in Karura forest is KSh500 per two hours, and cyclists must use the designated path for bike riding.
Standard biking etiquette in Karura
Since it’s hard for cyclists to hear the ding of a bike bell, trail bikers are to shout track right/left or come through for an alert.
The shouting of bikers indicates he is approaching a jogger or that the biker intends to overtake on the right or left.
3. Bird Watching
Karura Forest Reserve offers a prime view of the crowds of colorful and breathtaking forest birds during the two-hour walking tour.
Bird watching in Karura Forest Reserve, a place filled with nature and less noise, is one of the best experiences on the reserve.
Notably, birders should visit the forest with binoculars during the morning bird-watching session at 7 am and the afternoon at 2:00 pm.
Bird Species in Karura Forest Reserve
Though they are over 200 bird species in the forest, the species on sight include grey cuckoo, singing cisticola, augur buzzard, African goshawk, Narina trogon, etc.
4. Dog Walking Tour
Dog walking is another appealing activity in the Karura forest with vaccinated and registered dogs.
The dogs entering the forest are issued a dog tag card, leashed steadily, and must stay off areas marked “dogs off-leash.”
Karura forest is an excellent location for taking either a long or short walk using the meander paths.
Dog Guidelines at Karura Forest
Every dog in Karura Forest Reserve bears a bandana color code, determining how people behave while taking a dog walking tour.
It is imperative to color-code the dog you’re taking along to this forest reserve as different colors signify the following:
- Red color: Indicates that the dog is reactive; therefore, visitors should keep a reasonable distance.
- Green: Tells visitors that it’s a friendly dog.
- Blue: Signifies friendly dog, but the owner wants no greetings.
- Purple: Shows that the is fearful or timid, so visitors should keep a distance.
Things to know before entering the forest with a dog
- All dogs must have current vaccinations
- All dogs must be on-leash in the car parks.
- All dogs must be on straps, except in areas marked off-leash.
- Dogs must be under control when owners meet visitors.
- When meeting visitors uncomfortable with dogs, try and leash the dog.
- Always keep the dogs on the designative tracks.
- Always use a twig to remove the poos of your dog.
5. Fitness Courses
Karura Forest is another exciting venue that presents a sports ground for different activities by bringing a ball.
With your ball in your hands, visitors can use the grounds for a basketball court, tennis court, and makeshift football pitch.
The forest reserve guarantees a fully populated match within a few minutes of bringing out the ball.
Cost of the sports ground
The sports ground with its convenient facilities cost adults 200 Ksh and children below 14 years 100 Ksh per hour.
6. Guided Training
The guided training is another activity in the Karura forest that helps visitors experience a better interpretation of the resources.
Based on the popular demand of visitors, the introduced guided tour gives an in-depth analysis of the Karuma forest features in a pleasing pattern.
Aspects the guided tour can engage visitors on
The forest-trained guides will engage and handle the interests of visitors on bird watching, history, vegetation sampling, culture, flora, fauna, etc.
Jogging in Karura forest is one of the activities in the reserve offer offered with its ample space and sports pavilion site.
Jogging through the forest for some hours removes the city buzz with the reserve’s walkways and fresh air.
Things joggers are bound to experience when jogging.
Karura forest is a place for an idyllic morning jog where joggers can run through the forest, under treetops, streams, waterfalls, and fields of local flora.
Tree-planting in the Karura forest is another activity in the forest reserve that indirectly contributes to the environment over time.
The tree planting is usually voluntarily by the visitor during the short rains, and it connects nature and humanity.
The tree-planting activity shows how social responsibility and individual philanthropy secure natural resources.
How to plant trees in the Karura forest
Use locally sourced seeds of different native species.
Prepare the land by removing invasive species.
Plant seedlings in the rainy season
Pull out developing invasive weeds.
Trim and water seedlings
9. Viewing the Lovely Land Presentation
Just sitting quietly and experiencing the serenity of nature in all forms is another activity in Karura forest visitors should not overlook.
Individuals can sit in the forest reserve’s calm, quiet, serene, and peaceful environment and have perfect meditation sessions.
Visitors sitting and capturing the serenity of the forest will honestly feel like sitting there all day.
Horse riding is one of the activities visitors behold in the Karura forest reserve available at nearby stables.
The Karura forest reserve is a place for horse riding or equestrian, mainly for recreational purposes rather than competition.
Cost of horse riding in Karura forest
The price of non-exclusive horse riding for adults in Karura forest reserve is 800 Ksh, and that of children is 400 Ksh.
11. Photo Shooting
Photo shooting in the Karura forest is another eye-catching activity in the reserve as the spot has many breathtaking views.
Photos captured in the forest reserve are usually creative, unique, communicate, and serve as a piece for future reference.
In Karura Forest, visitors enjoy the sound of the birds, the smell of the forest, and the peace of nature while the photographer captures real-life moments.
Reason people photo-shoot in the forest
The forest has eye-catching backgrounds.
It offers a variety of locations.
It has unlimited space.
Photo shooting in the forest reserve is safe.
12. Tennis Game
Another activity in the peaceful urban forest is a tennis game from 7 am to 5:00 pm every day.
In the Karura forest reserve, visitors are allowed daily to use the tennis court at the KFEET Center with instructions.
If you would love to play tennis at Karura Forest Reserve, note the following;
- Only single games are allowed.
- Bookings should be made on a penultimate day to avoid inconveniences.
- Visitors should wear proper tennis shoes on courts two and three.
- Charges for the use of the court are per hour.
- Apart from the one-hour game, extra time on the court attracts additional fees.
Cost of the tennis game
The tennis court charges adults 200 KES per hour, while children below 14 pay 100 KES per hour.
13. Forest Drives
Forest drives in the Karura forest are activities visitors can engage in while enjoying the unspoiled nature.
The forest drives in Karura reserve is an unusual activity that takes visitors to sparkling spots, hence the desire to visit repeatedly.
14. Obstacle Course
Another activity visitors experience in the Karura forest reserve is an obstacle course near the KFEET Center.
The obstacle course with a brilliant atmosphere includes tree climbing, army crawl facilities, and monkey bars.
Importance of obstacle course to visitors
The obstacle course, also called the rope course, helps solve problems and maneuver over or through obstacles.
Most visitors go to Karura forest reserve for numerous activities, and movie/film shooting is no exception.
Though the Karura forest reserve is an excellent spot for filming sessions, the filming right is Kshs 40,000 per day.
16. Team Building
Team building is one, if not the main activity that takes many visitors and vacationers to the Karura forest reserve.
Gathering in a fraction of the forest reserve can be for several events like charity fundraising or promotional events.
Events in the Karura forest
· Educational tours
· Sport & fitness
Access Points to Karura Forest Reserve
- Gate A – It’s the central access point situated off Limuru Road adjacent to the Belgian Embassy.
- Gate B is a service gate limited to the forest’s official use.
- Gate C, also known as the Shark’s Gate. One can also utilize it by the public to access Kiambu Road.
- Gate D: A pedestrian entrance at the end of the ICRAF access lane.
- Gate E is also off Limuru road and is a pedestrian entrance.
- Gate F is the key entrance to the Sigiria section. It is at the end of Thigiri Lane off Thigiri Ridge Road.
There are several tourists spots in the Karura Forest Reserve, drawing adventurers from far and wide all year round. Among them includes;
- 15-meter Waterfall
- Sacred Caves
- Bamboo Plantations
- Archaeological sites whose artifacts are currently under study
- A Stone quarry pond deserted ages ago now termed the Lily Lake.
- An old chimney incinerator formerly owned by Kenya Central Bank
- Marshlands that attract birds migrating from Asia and Europe
- Originally existing and planted indigenous trees.
If you now have a plan to visit Karura Forest Reserve, located in northern Nairobi city, Kenya, pay good attention to the precautions below;
• Wait for the wildlife to move off the tracks before passing.
• Don’t feed wild animals.
• Don’t start fires in the Karura forest
• Do not take away animals or animal products
• Don’t mark or deface stones, tree stems, and other features.
• Avoid noise that causes a nuisance to other visitors and wildlife.
• Take away with you all the litter that you brought.
• Observe designated paths and tracks when walking.
Essential Things to Take along While Visiting Karura Forest Reserve
The visitor should take the following while going to this forest reserve to explore any of the activities listed above;
- Drinking water
- A pair of binoculars
- A camera
- Guide books, and
- Proper walking shoes.
Surrounded by large spruce trees, Karura Forest Reserve, is a picturesque nature reserve stretching 3.2 miles north of Nairobi, offering adventurers a perfect destination for various activities.
Its trails help to reduce the risk of loss.
We have provided tourists with a list of activities to explore and, of course, some essential guidelines.