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The 5 Remarkable Nature & Green Spaces in Nairobi

It’s time to look at the tranquil green spaces, eye watering landscapes and everything mother nature offers; all serene and away from the bustling noises from the busy Nairobi city life.

Immersing yourself here allows you to recollect your thoughts and relax as it is just a new peaceful environment. Its just you and the voices in your head with birds chirping in the background and an occasional rustle of wind.

You can do a series of activities in these places from hiking, bike riding, picnicking, or just sitting there and taking it all in.

1. Karura Forest

Karura Forest packs it all in, there is alot going on here. The place is vast and normally packed especially in the weekends, but be sure you will find a place where no one else is around as the area is so extensive.

Mini waterfalls at Karura Forest
Mini Waterfalls at Karura Forest

The visitors of Karura Forest come for a myriad of activities, you will be even asked at the gate what you are there for; could be just a walk, walking your dog, for a picnic, ground event, bird watching or bike riding.

There is no wildlife here, just different species of trees and flora at large, a mini lake, caves and a stream with a mini waterfall.

If you have a dog it is supposed to be on a leash until a dedicated extensive area where you can get the leash off. There are bikes you can rent inside and cycle across the forest trail or the open fields available.

  • Kenyan Citizens: KSh 100 for adults and Ksh 50 for children
  • Kenyan Residents: KSh 200 for adults and KSh 100 for children
  • Tourists: KSh 600 for adults and KSh 300 for children

For zip lining charges, there is no zip lining in Karura; so maybe visit Ngong where the charge is KSh 1,000 for two slides.

Bike renting is KSh 500 for a 2 hour session.

The picnic area requires an additional KSh 150 to enter the section.

Karura Forest trail opens at 6am and closes at 7pm.

Please note that disposable plasticware and containers are not allowed and you will have to leave them at the gate soda bottles and bottled water are not an exception either. Reusable water bottles and snack packets are however allowed.

Karura Forest is gazetted and managed by Kenya Forest Service.

Check Karura Forest Website

2. Ngong Hills

Ngong hills is not a green space primarily, it is more of a landscape place. It is the ideal sweet spot for outdoor activities like camping and hiking. The place is also notably packed with a number of wind turbines giving the area a unique look.

Just like Karura Forest, Ngong Hills Recreational Park is managed by Kenya Forest Service

Ngong Hills Trail
Ngong Hills Trail

Activities you can partake in Ngong Hills include:

  • Nature walks
  • Cycling in the trails
  • Horse riding
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Archery
  • Zip lining

If you want an hiking spot, Ngong is the ultimate location for that.

  • Entry fee for non residents are $ 5 adults and $ 1 for children
  • Entry fee for residents are KSh 480 for adults and KSh 160 for children

3. Nairobi Arboretum

Nairobi Arboretum just like any arboretum is all about greenery, it is dense then there are occasional open spaces where you can chill and set up your picnics. It serves as an educational center first, conservation home for a myriad of tree species, and then a relaxing and events spot finally

Nairobi Nature Arboretum

It is in the neighborhood of Kilimani just 3kms from the city center and just next to the State House, was established in 1907 and it was gazetted in 1932; currently managed and run by the Kenya Forest Service.

The place has jogging trails and will be your place to go especially if you reside in the Kilimani area.

The educational aspect is evident since most of the tree species have a fact sheet attached to them including their scientific name and a brief botanical information on the species. The Arboretum has mostly indigenous species and a few exotic ones to the region. All tree species are over 350 types.

The Arboretum also homes all these trees especially the endangered species while promoting the campaign why we should preserve the different species and the importance they pack in the ecosystem and the society generally.

As mentioned, the entire place is not all dense with trees but there are spaced out open sections that get actual sunlight. These mini fields are ideal for relaxing on the benches or throwing picnics either in the sun or on the tree edges where there is sun.

Bring in your picnic basket and enjoy this environment! Note that alcohol is forbidden here.

The Nairobi Arboretum packs many trees, so it is obvious it is home to a number of wildlife, especially birds and monkeys. So the arboretum is a sweet bird watching scene in Nairobi if you fancy that; then get your pair of binoculars to see the 100 plus bird species!

Entrance fee is just under KSh 100 for adults and under KSh 50 for children. Each camera will be charged KSh 1,000 for photography and 3,000 for videography.

The arboretum is open all days of the year from 6:00 am to 6:15 pm.

Read Full Guide to Arboretum: Your Ultimate Guide to Nairobi Arboretum

Check Nairobi Arboretum Website

4. Paradise Lost

Paradise lost is a park away from the busy Nairobi, it is in Kiambu making a good getaway from the city and an excellent day trip choice.

Paradise Lost Gardens

The property is nicely landscaped packing nature into it. Unlike most public parks, Paradise lost is well maintained; very clean and very green thought the year regardless of the season. For the best park experience i Nairobi, i would recommenced Paradise Lost.

A series of activities you can get done here include;

  • Picnicking
  • Rock observation
  • Cave visits
  • Boat riding
  • Camel & Horse back-riding
  • Archery
  • Zip lining
  • Bike Riding
  • Fishing
  • Camping
  • Coffee Farm Tour
  • Waterfall viewing

The entrance fee is on the higher side actually the highest of all the places in this list, KSh 500 per an adult and KSh 300 per child.

Be aware of up charges for every activity you want to do or places to visit, as the entrance fee is not all inclusive. A visit to the caves is an additional charge for instance.

It is okay for supercharges on active activities like boat riding. If you bring your car along you will need to pay for it’s entry as well, which is not all that nice

Paradise lost opens daily from 8:00am to 10:00pm

Check Paradise Gardens Website

5. The Oloolua Nature Trail

The Oloolua Trail is located in the neighborhood of Karen, about 20 kilometers from the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD). It is also in close proximity to the Blixen Museum and Giraffe Centre.

The nature trail offers various attractions, including caves, waterfalls, bird watching, hiking trails and camping arrangements. To avoid overcrowding, it’s recommended to visit the Oloolua Trail on weekdays rather than weekends so that you can get the best experience

The site also provides picnic facilities, including benches, water, and toilet facilities nearby.

The normal gate entry charges to Oloolua is as follows

  • Kenyan Citizens: KSh 200 for adults, KSh 100 for children.
  • Kenyan Residents: KSh 400 for adults, KSh 200 for children.
  • Tourists: KSh 600 for adults, KSh 300 for children.

If you plan to camp at the Oloolua Trail, you are required to bring your own camping gear, including tents and food, and pay separate camping fee for that which is KSh 2,000 for adult citizens, and 3,500 for adult non-residents.

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