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anyone visited Karura Forest Nairobi

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Maryland
posts: 67
reviews: 28
anyone visited Karura Forest Nairobi

I've got a free day in Nairobi before emarking on a two week Kenya/Ugnada safari trip. Already have Sheldrick one afternoon. Looking for an outdoors 'absorb the beauty of Nairobi' experience. Is Karura a reasonable option?

What have others felt to be the best way to spend a day before safari. I would think a visit to Nairobi Game Park or animal orphan santuary would dilute the experience after leaving Nairobi.

UK
Destination Expert
for Malindi, Ukunda, Kenya
posts: 4,292
reviews: 4
1. Re: anyone visited Karura Forest Nairobi

Karura is wonderful - no big wildife, but a safe and enchanting place to experience Nairobi's highland forests as they were 100 years ago (well, discounting the gum tree area!). Very close to Village Market (shopping and entertainent centre) too.

Richard

Nairobi, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Nairobi, Kenya
posts: 2,663
reviews: 3
2. Re: anyone visited Karura Forest Nairobi

I think it's worth going to the Karura Forest.

The focal point of the forest are the waterfalls & caves. It's best accessed from the main entrance on Limuru Rd just after the Belgian Embassy.

To the waterfalls, it's apprx 2 hrs walk from the entrance.

There's a car park there too.

Here's some pics:

jambonairobi.co.ke/activities/…

UK
Destination Expert
for Malindi, Ukunda, Kenya
posts: 4,292
reviews: 4
3. Re: anyone visited Karura Forest Nairobi

Certainly not 2hrs. You could do it easily in 30 minutes.

Richard

Maryland
posts: 67
reviews: 28
4. Re: anyone visited Karura Forest Nairobi

Thanks guys. Do you have a better hike in the area you'd suggest?

Nairobi, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Nairobi, Kenya
posts: 2,663
reviews: 3
5. Re: anyone visited Karura Forest Nairobi

Richard - Just curious, did you run like Kipchoge Keino ?

UK
Destination Expert
for Malindi, Ukunda, Kenya
posts: 4,292
reviews: 4
6. Re: anyone visited Karura Forest Nairobi

Just walking at normal speed. It's about 2.5km:

friendsofkarura.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/…

gdrvasc: a better hike in what sense? You could make an 8–10km walk easily enough and spend several hours in the Karura forest, with breaks, if you wanted. Also check out the smaller Ngong Road forest and Oloolua forest.

Richard

Nairobi, Kenya
posts: 3,771
reviews: 3
7. Re: anyone visited Karura Forest Nairobi

"Also check out the smaller Ngong Road forest and Oloolua forest."

Please don't check these out unless you want to be mugged and/or murdered. They are very, very dangerous. None of us locals - white or black - will venture into them - or even drive through them on the bypass. Karura is much, much safer; fenced and guarded. Neither Ngong Rd nor Ololua Forest are. Stick with Karura and enjoy your hike.

Edited: 12:36 pm, November 25, 2012
UK
Destination Expert
for Malindi, Ukunda, Kenya
posts: 4,292
reviews: 4
8. Re: anyone visited Karura Forest Nairobi

Are you sure FL? When were you last in either of these forests?

I visited Ngong Road forest a year ago, and the place has been transformed. They have rangers, riding trails… I was escorted round, had a good chat with Simon Nganga the project coordinator at the HQ office by the seedling nursery, and was not given any grounds for worrying about being there. Quite the opposite, he was delighted that someone was writing about it. There was a brilliant crowned eagle nest and wonderful butterflies, aardvark burrows, various small antelope.

ngongforest.org/index.php/…forest-fun-run

I drove into Oloolua on my own earlier this year. Had a chat at the gate, no problem. It's a beautiful forest.

http://www.primateresearch.org/

But…please give a few more details about the risks as you see them. After all, your description of what might happen is roughly what you'd be told by a large proportion of the population in Europe or the US if you told them you were thinking of even visiting Kenya. And it matters a lot to me in my work that I'm not giving people unsafe advice.

Richard

Nairobi, Kenya
posts: 3,771
reviews: 3
9. Re: anyone visited Karura Forest Nairobi

Yes, I'm sure Richard. They're right on my doorstep - walking distance - and they're absolutely notorious. It's not a question of risks "as I see them". The two forests are very, very dangerous, there are constant robberies, muggings and carjackings in there - fact. When we take our horses in to exercise them, we make sure that there are at least four of us on any given ride. My own syce (groom) was attacked in Ngong Forest just three months ago - whilst on my horse - for his mobile phone and anything else they could take from him. Naively, he thought he would be fine going in there alone during morning hours (8am) as there were plenty of people about. He was wrong, and he ended up in hospital. We only found out what had happened when the horses turned up at home, riderless. Speak to the local police about what goes on in these forests. Ask them for their weekly reports - if they're willing to provide them to you, as a journalist (they usually won't). Karura, in comparison, is an absolute haven and I love my (albeit infrequent) walks over there with my dogs.

I understand you need to get your facts right but your constant questioning of my knowledge, as a local and as someone who works in private security and so *sees* everything that goes on here, on a daily basis, is getting rather tiresome. I don't post it for kicks or for the good of my health. I post this stuff because I don't want visitors to my country being put in dangerous and, sometimes, life-threatening situations. Nairobi is, in general, a pretty unsecure place. A dear friend of ours was robbed and carjacked just this last Friday as she stood, at lunchtime, loading her car, in Lavington Green shopping centre. This will never make the press. But people need to know, so that they can be aware of what is going on around them. Unawareness is the number one killer here. Not scaremongering, just the truth.

Edited: 2:32 am, November 28, 2012
UK
Destination Expert
for Malindi, Ukunda, Kenya
posts: 4,292
reviews: 4
10. Re: anyone visited Karura Forest Nairobi

Thanks for clarifying FL that you do in fact still visit the Ngong Road Forest, and I'm very sorry to hear about your syce's experience, which must have been terrifying, and I guess I'm surprised you've been back at all after that.

I'm sorry also to hear about your friend at Lavington Green. Surely the car park is gated there, isn't it?

FL, I don't think you and I are going to reach a consensus about these two forests (incidentally, I don't see how Ngong Road Forest and Oloolua Forest can both be on your doorstep since the entrance gates are 8km apart - you have been to Oloolua?), but I think it's helpful for TA users to see the spread of opinion. You're in the security business, which depends on a certain level of perceived risks to survive, and I'm in travel, which depends on people putting those risks to one side, so it's fair to say we are both probably biased to some degree. As for questioning the knowledge of posters on TA, I think you should expect to be challenged if you use social media - I certainly expect it, and I think it's a good thing.

Anyway, I'll drop an email to Simon at the Ngong Road Forest and see if I can get any mores instances of attacks from him - going accompanied with one of their rangers is obviously a good idea, but if it's as insecure as you say, then the various family fun runs, bike rides etc that they hold there would be a bit odd…

Richard