The Karura experience
Many Nairobians don’t know this; it is probably Nairobi’s best kept secret.
With its main entrance located off Limuru road, Karura forest is one of the city’s safest and most tranquil recreational spots.
And here’s the best part — it doesn’t dent your pocket. For about Sh 100 per person, you have access to the vast Karura forest for as long as you wish.
It is quite difficult to describe the Karura experience so I am going to make it easy for all of us. I like to think of Karura forest as an onion with different layers that cannot be discovered all at once.
And this, to me, is the beauty of Karura; there’s always something new and unconventional to do in these 1,041 hectares of floral and faunal splendour.
Spoilt for choice
My advice would be to start with a simple nature walk. You can choose a one of several trails that have been clearly earmarked to guide you through the forest.
You can opt for the short, five kilometre trail or — if you are a daredevil — delve deep into the forest and take the 15km trail.
On my first few visits I took simple, leisurely walks to master the trails and familiarise myself with shortcuts, which came in handy.
The walks, as you will pleasantly find out, are punctuated with several scenic sights, my favourite being the butterfly lake.
I was pleasantly surprised to find waterfalls and caves strategically hidden in the nature trails.
Of course, in the process of familiarising yourself with the nature trail, you can choose to jog or run, but if those activities are too pedestrian for you, bring along a bike and ready yourself for an exhilarating cycling experience.
You can also choose to enjoy a picnic there on days when you don’t feel like the regular weekend nyama choma and beer.
You have hectares upon hectares of space not only to picnic, but also for your young ones to carry their bikes and games and knock themselves out under your watch.
If you are part of a team and would like a refreshing, fair-priced team building session close to town, look no further.
On the several occasions I have gone to Karura, I have met groups walking, hiking and cycling in the forest. I have also met various ambassadors, expatriates and regular Kenyans; great networking opportunities.
Now, the question on your minds: ‘What’s the catch?”
Actually, there is no catch here. If you are thinking in terms of insecurity, forget it. Karura has evolved, and security is optimal, with security guards all over the forest.
One last thing: I need to warn you about the mud. When it rains, Karura gets really muddy, therefore vist in good weather or you’ll get your trainers all messy.