14 Must Visit Green Spaces in Nairobi
The environment is an integral part of our lives, we sometimes become oblivious of our surroundings and what makes it everything balance. Green spaces and urban open spaces are ideal recreational places that can help you relax and escape from the daily hustle and bustle of everyday life. We consider the following our top 14 Green Spaces in Nairobi:
Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park was East Africa’s and Kenya’s first ever National park. The park is an ideal green space; its not only the jewel of Nairobi being the only city with a national park but also a crown of Kenya’s conservation activities. The park boasts of over 80 species of mammals, 500 species of plants, 400 species of birds, and 40 species of reptiles and amphibians. The park was gazetted as a national park in 1946 was previously used as grazing grounds of Maasai and Somali herdsmen and later as a training ground for the King’s African Rifles and firing range. Interesting sites and attractions at the national park include: the ivory burning site where the former president Daniel Arap Moi set alight 12 tons of stockpiled ivory in 1989 in a bid to demonstrate Kenya’s commitment towards illegal ivory trade.
The impala observation point is a stone-built shed that offers panoramic views of the park and offers picnic sites to visitors. The kingfisher picnic site offers an ideal site for bush breakfast, picnic lunch or sundowner. Groups of hippos and nile crocodiles can be seen wallowing at the hippo pool. Enroute to the pool, the nature trail offers birdwatching and wildlife tracking opportunities along the path, one must be guided by an armed ranger. The park boast of having a thriving rhino sanctuary and has a growing number of black rhinos in Kenya.
Karura Forest Reserve
Karura Forest Reserve is one of the largest gazetted forests in the world located within a city, covering an area of 1041 hectares. In 1932, Karura became a forest reserve when the colonial government set it aside as a source of fuelwood for the Ugandan railway. Three quarters of the forest was felled and replanted with exotic species.
The forest is a birdwatchers haven as it offers a blend of forest, grassland and waterbirds; naturalists can enjoy and study insects and plants and the benefits that they offer the society. Interesting attractions at Karura include: a chimney used to burn old currency notes and coins; the area is now used as a resting point as visitors walk through the forest. A 20 metre waterfall, an old quarry lake covered with waterlilies, grassy glades and marshes; cycling tracks for adventure seekers, mau mau caves used during the struggle for independence in Kenya.
The park is sandwiched between Limuru Road, Forest Road and the Parklands surburbs, city park is the heart and lungs of Nairobi’s Central Business District. Previously known as the Nairobi Forest Reserve and the Municipal Forest; City Park acquired its present name in 1923 and offers a scenic and perfect retreat for Nairobians day to day hustle and bustle. Kibagare sream flows through the lower part of the park.
The park is also of significance cultural heritage as it is the resting place of Joseph Murumbi who served as Vice President of Kenya and Pio Gama Pinto a human rights activist. The Goan, Jewish and World War One Memorial Cemeteries are other historical sites found within the park. The city park bandstand is an iconic feature today that was used for live performances by brass bands and dancing troupes from India. The park offers ideal picnic sites for groups and family outings, nature lovers for birdwatching, nature walks, the mtego wa panya maze. You can also grab a bite at the Bowling Green Restaurant.
Tucked away off State House road, the Nairobi Arboretum is a beautiful masterpiece that has a stunning collection of trees, ranging from exotic to indigenous. Occupying 30.4 hectares, the arboretum was established in 1907 by Mr. Battiscombe, the Deputy Chief Conservator of Forests; it was later gazetted as a Forest Reserve in 1932.
It has more than 350 indigenous and exotic tree species, more than a 100 resident and migrant bird species, numerous vervet and syke’s monkeys can be spotted hoping and playing from one tree to another tree; a multitude of insects, reptiles and small mammals can also be spotted during nature walks.
The arboretum is a place where lungs can be filled with fresh and clean air whilst you enjoy the tranquility of nature and the lovely bird sounds or the hard to detect Cicadas; while strolling, jogging and praying you will pass through an abundance of trees and other plants.
The Arboretum also provides an extremely popular venue for a variety of events such as weddings, concerts, team building, corporate parties; while lovebirds can enjoy spending romantic moments in its secluded spots.
Ngong Road Forest Sanctuary
One of the few remaining natural sites in Nairobi, the Ngong Road Forest extends from the Dagoretti suburbs in the west to the Kibera Estate to the east. The forest is an ideal spot for birdwatchers with a known breeding site for the African-crowned eagle, one of Africa’s largest eagle.
You can also see other forest birds like the Narina Trogon and here the bubbly Hartlaub’s Turacco guiding you as you transverse the different sections of the park.
Located in the leafy suburbs of Karen, the Ololua Forest was established by the National Museums of Kenya that also works with the Institute of Primate Research; within which it is situated. The Mbagathi River runs through the Ololua Forest which is a haven for indigenous trees and shrubs.
The Crown-Eagle hide is a key attraction that offers a bird’s eye-view of a part of the forest, here you might catch a glimpse of a few birds. Inside the cave you might catch a glimpse of the different bats species and wildlife that reside here.
The waterfall is also a key attraction where you might spot wagtails, dragon and damselflies awaiting an opportunity for a quick snack. The nature trail is ideal for visitors keen on learning more about the forest’s tree species and for joggers it offers challenging tracks to run and exercise. The forest offers peace and tranquility to visitors and nature lovers and amazing picnic stops for groups.
Located adjacent the Central Business District, Uhuru Park is a recreational park that is one of the lungs of the towns. The park was opened in 1969 by the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. The park has an assembly ground that is popularly used for religious and political meetings. There is also a man-made lake that offers boat rides and ideal romantic sites for couples.
In 1989, the last Wangari Maathai, the Green Belt Movement and other followers held a protest to stop the construction of a 60-storey business complex. Uhuru Park continues to attract Kenyans for all walks of lives for different events and recreational activities.
Uhuru Gardens is located along Lang’ata Road, bordering Carnivore Restaurant, Wilson Airport and the northern bypass. The gardens was declared a National Monument in 1966 because of its historical importance. The inaugural ceremony for Kenya’s first president, President Jomo Kenyatta was conducted at this park on 12 December 1963 when Kenya gained its independence. There are two monuments at the site; one is a commemorative monument of freedom fighters raising the Kenyan flag and the other is a triumphal column that supports a pair of clasped hands and a dove of peace. There is also a Mugumo tree that symbolizes the spot where the Union Jack (British flag) was brought down and Kenya’s national flag was first hoisted. The garden is famous as a recreational park for families and friends and also for hosting music concerts, corporate launches and so much more.
Located with Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD), Jeevanjee Gardens was donated to Nairobi residents in 1906 by Alibhai Mullah Jeevanjee, who was a Karachi – born entrepreneur in Kenya. In 1898, Jeevanjee of Karachi (1856-1936) got the contract for building the Kenya-Uganda Railway and sailed to the Mombasa from Punjab with his workforce of 350men.
He not only donated the land, but benches and some within the town; but also erected a statue of Queen Victoria. This 5 acres park is adorned with beautiful trees and offers shade and recreational grounds for Kenyans of all walks of life. The park has a shop, public toilets, and offers grounds for meetings by Nairobi residents. The park is an ideal picnic spot and is commonly used by students as a meeting venue.
Nairobi Botanical Gardens at Nairobi Museum Grounds
Located within the grounds of the National Museum of Kenya’s, the Nairobi Botanical Garden is about one and a half kilometers from the Nairobi CBD. The garden is a collection of thematic displays of different live plant species and their habitats. The garden enhances outdoor learning on different indigenous and exotic plant species and the landscaping offers amazing sceneries for photography. The garden’s benches are used by visitors to relax; enjoy the beauty and fresh air and birds chirping from one flower to the next.
Located in the lush leafy suburbs of Karen, the giraffe centre is Africa’s pride of international celebrity. Since its founders, Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville, rescued a baby giraffe named Daisy from a heavily poached area of western Kenya in 1974, their home has become a must visit amongst wildlife lovers. The giraffe centre has an educational centre that focuses on environmental conservation but also a forest that has nature trail that not only offers birdwatching but also tree identification opportunities. As you meander through the trails you will enjoy breath-taking views of Ngong Hills.
August 7th Memorial Park
The Memorial park is located within the Nairobi CBD, where the former American Embassy stood. The park has a visitors centre that hosts the Peace Memorial Museum that was created to tell the stories of those who lost their lives and those who survived following the bombing. The park has conference facilities and meeting rooms that are modern, spacious and comfortable for groups looking for an ideal meeting spot. The park has green lush beautiful and serene gardens where visitors relax, and remember the day the embassy was bombed on 7th August 1998 and surrounding buildings affected.
John Michuki Memorial Park
Located along Nairobi River from the former Globe Roundabout to Kipande Road, the John Michuki Memorial Park was establish through private-public partnerships to provide a tranquil environment for friends and families to spend leisure time. The park was named after John Michuki who was a Minister for Environment to celebrate his contribution towards the restoration of the Nairobi River and environment. The beautification process involved removal of tonnes of garbage, landscaping and tree planting. The park now has floodlights, designated footpaths, footbridges and public toilets.
14. Langata Botanical Garden
Located about 20 kilometers from the Nairobi CBD, along Langata South Road off Langata Road; Langata Botanical Garden offers tranquility and environmental eduction to its visitors. The garden has over 200 species of indigenous trees, amazing scenery and big lush green lawns and a lagoon with large variety of fish. The gardens lawns are secluded and offer grounds for hire, teambuilding and wedding ceremonies and reception.
Do you know of a Green Space in Nairobi that has not been featured? We would love to here from you. Drop us a line today. Contact us for day trips to Nairobi’s Green Spaces via firstname.lastname@example.org or Call 0717 110803.