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 are one of the largest gazetted forests in the world fully within 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…

8 Reviews for The Karura Forest Reserve


201 Reviews

Great melo Hiking and Biking Trails

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5/ 5

Karura Forest is an excellent place to go if you want to hike in nature for the day. It’s easy to forget that you are anywhere near Nairobi. It takes a bit of time to get to from the other side of town but lovely if you like nature hikes. Easy to get to by a matatu or taxi, a great watering hole at the River Cafe, excellent walks amongst the trees and wildlife. A spectacular waterfall awaits you and flows away past caves and wildlife. We saw Syke’s Monkeys monkeys high up in the tree canopies, Harvey’s Duiker, Grimm’s Duiker, Desmonds Green banded swallowtail butterflies. The rangers are very helpful with directions and the map and signposts are easy to follow. Our visit was just after heavy rain and therefore the steps down to the waterfall and caves were very slippery under foot. Beautiful flora and if you are lucky you can catch a glimpse of the animals I have mentioned above on your walk. Well… worth a visit but remember to wear good walking shoes, especially in the rainy season. I love this green haven in the middle of a super busy and incredibly congested town. they have 5 km – 10 km and 15 km trails and you can mix and match to extend the trails as much as you’d like. The map is worth purchasing and it’s well detailed. Karura Forest is an excellent place to go for any of the following: 1) trail jogging; 2) Cycling; 3) Dog walking; 4) Hiking; 5) Exploring the caves and waterfalls; and 6) Enjoying a cappuccino or cocktail at River cafe. Although quite muddy, we enjoyed our walk. Would highly recommend it as an escape from the city in a safe and beautiful setting particularly if a business trip means a weekend stay in the city.

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208 Reviews

Stunning nature to have fun with friends and make unforgettable memories.

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4.67/ 5

It is the best spot for those who love nature, like bird watching, forest walking, and herbal medicinal plants. I visited the place with a group of friends. We spent about an hour looking for amazing birds. Still, we managed to spot different species like Singing Cisticola, African Goshawk, African Eagle, Augur Buzzard, Grey Cuckoo, and Long Crested Eagle, to mention but a few. It’s also a fantastic place for Jogging, Team building, Sports and fitness Biking, etc. If you are hungry, there is a Café located inside Karura Forest. It is accessed from Limuru road and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Our afternoon was excellent with a well-trained guide who told us more about plants and animals like monkeys and birds. It was a perfect time to be there, not too hot and not raining. Karura forest is a charming place to relax and enjoy the sun. With some great people doing bar activities near the Lilly lake as they watch interesting Waterbird species, e.g., the White-backed Duck. For tourists who arrive in Nairobi earlier, you can visit and relax in this green forest before you head to noisy Nairobi city.

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zamzam hussein

60 Reviews

Bike ride in the forest

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3.83/ 5

Karura Forest in Nairobi is one of the most sort after location by the city dwellers for bird watching, picnics, hiking and biking. Weather it is a family outing, a date or team building, Karura Forest has something for everyone. A cab from Nairobi City Center costs 320/= I was there over the weekend with my elder brother. We decided to try out biking. We leave close by so we just took a stroll to the entrance. It was on a Thursday afternoon. We got there and there were only a few cars parked. On Saturdays and Sundays, it is usually packed with families having picnics and all. We pain 500/= per person for 2 bikes for 2 hours. The place offers other services like picnics costs 150/= per head, walks cost 100/= per person, a tour with a tour guide costs 300/= per head. So my brother decided we do the 10km instead of the shorter 5km. At first I was super pumped but let me tell you, 3 km in, I had to rest for 15 minutes to catch my breath. The catch is, the first few kilometers is down hill through the forest. Then you pass where river Nairobi passes though and from there its an upwards climb. It was so exciting cycling through nature and listening to the birds and the water rushing plus we took some cool photos. But the ride back was the most exhausting thing I have done in my life. If you choose to go, make sure you carry water and that you are kinda fit. I enjoyed the whole experience.

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hazel luvuno

90 Reviews

Picnic in the Forest.

4.5/ 5

Karura Forest is an urban forest within Nairobi city and sit on 2570 acres of forested area. Its a beautiful place for nature walk, picnics, bird watching and cycling. It is an ideal location for unwinding during weekends with the family. There are five gates with which you can enter the forest depending on which one you are closer to. An uber from Nairobi City Center costs 320/=. My visit to Karura Forest was through a class picnic.

We organized as a class to visit Karura Forest on a Saturday. Our group consisted of about 30 people and so we were able to take the school bus to the location. We arrive at the entrance within 15 minutes and this was at around 11am. The entrance fee was 300/= per head since we wanted a general tour which consists of a two-hour tour within the forest capturing different features and activities, combining introductions to wildlife, vegetation, birding with the help of a tour guide. For the other activities you get charged 100/= for walk, 150/= for picnics and 500/= for renting a bike for 2 hours.

We got out of the bus and started out exploration. The place is so beautiful. We got to see some tributaries of river Nairobi which pass through the forest, indigenous trees and a lot of birds. I had such a good time with my classmates. Its almost certain that we’ll be back there sooner rather than later. This is the place for nature lovers like me. It is so serene and all you can hear is wind in the trees.

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Wendy N

60 Reviews

I fall in love with the green lustrous vibe every time.

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4/ 5

This is a nice little forest in the outskirts of Nairobi. This place is an absolute picnic location. If you want somewhere to just get a little intimate with your friends or your family as you enjoy nature then this is the place for you. The place is very bushy and a wide span of area is covered in forest so I wouldn’t advice you to go alone. Even when going jogging get a partner or two . We drove from CBD to karura and it took us only twenty minutes. It was around 1:00pm and their was no traffic. At the entrance we paid 100/= per person and something we didn’t know was we needed to pay picnic charges because of carrying food. We set up a nice little picnic and had so much fun. Besides having a picnic you can do so many other things at karura such as; walking, jogging, hiking and bicycle riding along the beautiful nature trails. They also have really great waterfalls with water that’s cool and refreshing. Like I said always ensure you walk with a partner. It’s very easy to get lost here but at least incase you do you’ll be together with someone. I got lost twice and I have to admit having a partner to get lost with was a little too humourous. Two adult brains but we still couldn’t find the way. We had to cling to a group of people who looked like they knew what was happening until we discovered they also didn’t have a clue.Which again was very humourous(we were basically the joke). Otherwise the experience was lovely ; in lovelier environs definitely recommend.

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Ron S

60 Reviews

The Lungs of Nairobi

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4.83/ 5

Being the only natural forest within the city, Karura Forest is one of the few places where you can get fresh air in Nairobi. So, I decided to go there with a few friends to jog and explore the forest. The main Karura Forest entrance is located along Limuru Road next to the Belgian Embassy. It’s a 5Km drive from the Nairobi CBD. There is another entrance along Kiambu Road (Shark Gate) 6Km from the CBD. The entry fee for citizens is KSh100 for adults and KSh50 for children, for residents its KSh200 for adults and Ksh100 for children and for non-residents its KSh600 for adults and KSh300 for children. If you are a citizen make sure you carry an Identity card and for residents, proof of residency is required. We entered the forest through the Kiambu road entrance. The forest guards were very friendly and helpful and told us about each trail so we could choose the right one for us. We chose the longest trail since we wanted a challenge, and to maximize on our visit. The forest is huge and beautiful, with a lot of scenic locations along the trail. The air is fresh making the forest perfect for jogging. However, when taking the longest trail during the rainy season, I suggest wearing boots, since the trail got really muddy. My favourite site along the trail was the Mau Mau caves. While there, we got a history lesson from a tour guide about the significance of the caves during the struggle for independence. This made our exploration of the cave and the surrounding areas even more interesting. Farther down the trail we got to the waterfalls which were really beautiful, and the perfect place to rest up before we continued down the trail. By the time we were done we were so tired and we could barely walk. We did more walking than jogging but it’s the thought that counts?. I highly recommend Karura Forest and I’ll be heading back soon.

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Angel Ngugi

85 Reviews

A breath of fresh air in serenity

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5/ 5

Karura forest is located in Kiambu town, about forty minutes from Nairobi CBD. The forest is lush green and vast, occupying a large area of Kiambu County. I lovue that one can access a haven like Karura, not too far from the city. The forest caters for numerous activities such as picnics, bicycle-riding, bird-watching and running. Karura is a favourite for locals who want to enjoyed the serene environment of the forest, walk their dogs or workout. I arrived at Karura on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I accessed the entry on Kiambu road via public transport. The gate to the forest is about 50 meters from the road. There are gardeners who sell a variety of plants by the roadside near the forest making it a place where people come to shop for house plants or garden plants. I walked up to the entryway and enquired about the charges. It cost about 3$ to access the picnic site and 2.5$ to hire a bicycle. I paid and was issued with a receipt which I was advised to keep until I left Karura. I was them permitted to enter. If you have a car, there is a safe parking lot where you can leave it and then walk in. As I walked through the forest, I noticed a lot of people walking their dogs, which was lovely because I’m definitely a dog person. The forest has tall trees creating a canopy, therefore sheltering one from the harshness of the sun’s rays. I walked for about an hour before I reached the picnic site, which had some swings nearby, lavatories and a football pitch. I was already tired by this time and was ready to leave. However, I had the pleasure of enjoying a peaceful stroll to think and recharge for the week ahead. The picnic site is great with tables to accomodate groups of if you’d prefer to not sit on the grass. The forest is peaceful and the paths are well defined so it’s not easy to get lost. Watch out for snakes though!

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Lynne Olonje

83 Reviews

A nice simple indulging activity.

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4.17/ 5

Karura is a thick forest located in the outskirts of Nairobi,just a few minutes drive from the central business district . It’s quite large and it’s full of a dense leafy and green population of trees. It’s open from 6am to 6pm and the entry charges are usually only 200kshs.A very budget friend plan.You can choose to either go alone or with a couple of friends but either way I think the venue is perfect. If you go with a group of friends you can get to do a couple of activities together. You can jog,go bicycle riding,take a walk ,hike or even decide to just stay put somewhere and have a nice cosy picnic. I feel like the ambiance is so serene and so tranquil:just perfect if you need to spend some time alone in nature. Inside Karura ,there’s a very nice waterfall. You can actually get in there and enjoy the feeling of having the cold water rush through your body.There are also many marked trails and caves around. Frequently,I see so many monkeys up and about. I go to Karura every few months,anytime I want to explore the outdoors and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Most times I’ve gone with friends .One instance we just rode the bicycles .On the other we had a picnic in the middle of the thicket.Both times I’d definitely recommend.

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