Karura Forest birding
Karura Forest has an area of 1 063.0 hectares, making it largest of three main gazetted forest in Nairobi. The others are Ngong Forest and Oloolua Forest. The centrally located Nairobi Arboretum is much smaller
The forest has well marked and maintained nature trails
The forest is cut by Thigirie, Getathuru, Ruaka and Karura Rivers, all tributaries of the larger Nairobi River.
Wildlife in Karura forest include Monkey species (including recently re-introduced black and white Colobus Monkeys), bush baby, bushbuck, bush pig, porcupine, duikers, genet, Suni African civet
More than 200 bird species have been recorded in the forest
Bird species includes ; Singing Cisticola, African Goshawk, African Crowned Eagle, Augur Buzzard, Grey Cuckoo, Brown chested Alethe, Narina Trogon, Long Crested Eagle, White backed Duck, Malachite Kingfisher, Hartlaub’s Turaco, White headed Barbet, Slender billed Greenbul, African Black Duck, African Emerald Cuckoo, Yellow -rumped Tinkerbird, Paradise Flycatcher, Grey crowned Cranes (a breeding pair), Spot- flank Barbet, Recently a Red –chested Flufftail has been heard at the wetland next to KFEET. The sightings of birds that used to be seen 10 years ago has been attributed to the planting of indigenous trees in patches that had exotic species,
Karura forest has:
- a 15-metre waterfall,
- 50 km of nature trails for walking, running and biking
- archaeological sites (recently excavated, artifacts being analyzed),
- an old chimney incinerator – used by the Central Bank for the burning of decommissioned currency up until the mid-1990′s,
- an abandoned stone quarry pond, now called Lily Lake, which host some interesting water bird species
- caves which are considered to be sacred by many and steeped in Kenyan history (they were formerly used by the Mau-Mau freedom fighters as hideouts during the struggle for Independence),
- patches of bamboo,
- marshlands that attract bird life including winter migrants from Europe and Asia,
- serene groves of secondary and primary indigenous trees.
Karura forest is also where Professor Wangari Maathai (late leader of the Green Belt Movement and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate) carried out a much publicized campaign for saving the forest from developers who tried to grab large portions of the north of the central section of the forest. The forest became a symbol of the fight against land grabbing in Kenya.