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Apr 4, 2015 5 Min Read

Fun on a Forest Trail

Once a month, Kijani members and volunteers in Nairobi come together for a “Fun Day”. In February, the Karura forest was the destination. It is an urban forest located just north of central Nairobi. The forest was gazzetted (meaning placed under the control of the government) in 1932 and is managed by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) in conjunction with the Friends of Karura Forest.

As we made our way there, we were greeted with crispy clean fresh air, a sign that we were in the vicinity of a functioning forest ecosystem. The quiet lush green suburbs surrounding the forest was a different environment for most of us. The whistling of trees and the singing of birds served as an indication of the rich flora and fauna that we were soon to encounter. The rangers stationed at the gate gave us some warm welcoming remarks and some directions, and we were soon on our way to explore the scenic attractions that the forest had to offer!

The rolling fresh waters of the Karura forest
The rolling fresh waters of the Karura forest

Our first stop was at the Lily Lake, a small swamp with muddy water, a few floating water lilies and some dried papyrus. The papyrus are a sign that the lake wasn’t doing well, maybe due to the harsh weather conditions that have persisted in the last few months. But we still managed to capture some pictures to appreciate the scenery. The next stop was the picnic site which seemed like a common attraction. We found a spot and shared snacks while telling stories and laughing our hearts out! The amenities available provided the perfect way to relax, get our hearts pumping, and bond with one another. The swings, see-saws, football playing ground and jumping rope brought out the children in us; we felt like kids running around playing and laughing. Truly age is but a number!

Taking a break along the forest trail at Lily Lake
Taking a break along the forest trail at Lily Lake

We continued with our walk through the forest, making our way to the waterfalls along the Sykes monkey trail. Although we were not lucky enough to see any monkeys, we got to the waterfalls. Some of the crew decided it was a nice idea to dip their feet into the stream charging the waterfalls. As the cold water ran through our feet it was the most relaxing feeling after walking for four kilometers and yes, it felt like paradise! The waterfalls were a sight to behold and as they cascaded down some of us took the opportunity to clean up after the long dusty road. The day was almost over. Feeling the need to explore a little more, we made our way down the Mau Mau caves, appreciating some dominant tree species that lead up to the caves.

The Karura forest is an indigenous forest ecosystem. This evergreen tree is known as "Mukinyei"
The Karura forest is an indigenous forest ecosystem. This evergreen tree is known as "Mukinyei"

To say the day was fun is an underestimate. At the end of the day one gets to acknowledge and appreciate the fact that forests really are the canopies of sustainability. They offer more than just ecosystem services, they offer a serene relaxing environment for having fun and getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It is the reason why conservationists, led by Late Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai, carried out a much publicized campaign for saving the forest.

We’re looking forward to more fun and adventures. If you’re in Nairobi, join us on our next Kijani Fun Day!

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  1. nice article informative and embracing the beauty of the english language..kudos!

    • dan
    • Apr 6, 2015
    • Reply
  2. Irene this is awesome, thank you! Next Fun Day Mt. Kilimanjaro! :)

    Daniel Omondi
    • Daniel Omondi
    • Apr 4, 2015
    • Reply