Karura Forest Activities and Charges in 2024

Karura Forest is among the best tourist destinations in the Nairobi area. It is a gazetted forest reserve under the management of the Kenya Forest Service and Friends of Karura Community Forest Association. 

Karura Forest is where you should go when the pressures of city life overwhelm you. Everything about Karura is spectacular, including its tall indigenous trees, waterfall, river, nature trails, and picnic sites. Karura Forest is 400 hectares big, making it one of the largest urban-based forests in the world. 

It is a place you should visit at least once in your lifetime. Luckily, you can read this comprehensive guide as I discuss crucial details about Karura Forest before you visit. I’ll be highlighting the Karura Forest activities and charges and other things. 

The Best Karura Forest Activities

Karura Forest is quiet and beautiful. Like any other forest in Kenya, Karura is an established ecosystem supporting wild animals, birds, and indigenous plants. Guests can do several different activities once they arrive in Karura Forest, including: 

Hiking on the Trails

Karura Forest attracts hikers in droves with its categorized walking and jogging trails. The beginner, intermediate, and expert hikers can choose a hiking trail based on their skill levels. Since the trails vary in length, you can opt for the shortest if you are a beginner. 

The well-maintained and marked hiking trails meander around the bushes, allowing you to explore the thick forest on foot. Popular hiking trails in Karura Forest include:

  • Discovery Trail – The Discovery Trail is five kilometers long. It passes through the middle of the forest, enabling you to view various plants and animals.
  • Bamboo Trail – A section of the Karura Forest has bamboo vegetation. The forest management has made an intermediate-level trail that takes you through the bamboo forest. The peace and beauty of this hiking trail are enough to refresh your stressed-out mind.
  • Lake Trail – Karura Forest has a manmade lake. You can choose this trail if you are not fit enough to cover a long distance by foot. Most of those who choose the Lake Trail do a leisurely walk to take the time to capture the splendor of this path. 
  • Riverside Trail – The forest reserve has a stream called the Karura River. It can vary in size based on the season. The Riverside Trail is among the most scenic and serene trails in Karura Forest.
  • Mau Mau Caves Trail – If you love the pre-independence history of Kenya, select the Mau Mau Caves Trail. This trail ends at the Mau Mau Caves site. These caves can remind you how the Mau Mau fighters struggled to chase the colonizers away. 

The Karura Forest management team keeps updating these hiking trails. Thus, you might find new ones during your upcoming tour of the Karura Forest.

Find Out: Affordable Picnic Sites In Nairobi For Ultimate Fun And Pleasure 

Cycling Bicycles

Bike riding at Karura forest

Are you a passionate cyclist? If yes, Karura Forest is one of the top destinations for cyclists. You can ride your bike to this place or hire one at the main gate. Transversing this forest reserve with a bike is more thrilling than cycling on the busy highways of Nairobi. 

Besides feeling safer, you can follow marked trails and experiment with different terrains. 

Similarly, you can choose a cycling trail that suits your skill level best, ranging from beginner to the most advanced. 

The Karura Forest management team expects you to wear safety gear and avoid navigating away from the cycling trails.

Karura bike riding costs Ksh. 500 for two hours.

Also Read: Breathtaking Waterfalls In Kenya 

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is another fascinating way to explore the Karura Forest. If you cannot cycle or walk, the next best option is a horseback ride. The management offers trained horse guides to show you around while keeping you safe. Again, you can ride a horse based on your skill level. 

Watching Birds and Primates

Karura Forest is a shelter for more than two hundred bird species. If you desire to watch birds without traveling to Masai Mara or other distant wildlife parks, go to Karura Forest.  It is easy to spot these birds when walking, cycling, or riding on a horse’s back. 

You can also sit on one of the benches placed along the trails and watch the beautiful birds.

Karura is a perfect home for primates. Most trails allow you to see various primate species, including the Colubus monkey, vervet monkey, and Sykes monkey. 

Holding Picnics

Few things are as exciting as sharing a meal with your loved ones in the middle of a forest. Karura Forest allows you to hold a picnic like that with your family, lover, or friends. The management has designated different picnicking sites, including the: 

  • Butterfly Picnic Site– This picnic site is a lovely garden with colorful butterflies. The Butterfly picnic area is enchanting to guests who truly want to connect with nature. 
  • Waterfall – One of the most popular features in Karura Forest is the waterfall. Many visitors do not want to leave the place without viewing the Karura Forest waterfall. Holding a family picnic on this site can give you enough time to admire the waterfall. 
  • Bamboo – Karura Forest offers a hiking trail that leads to the Bamboo forest area. This area is a designated picnic site for visitors who would like to lie down and enjoy the picturesque scenery. 
  • Lake – If you desire to have a picnic by the lakeside, choose Karura Forest. It has a Lake picnic area and a unique trail leading to this place. This scenic lake and its stunning surroundings create just the perfect ambiance for your picnic. 

Visitors are free to carry their meals and drinks or purchase food items from the facility’s snack bar. 

Capture Photographs

Our Karura Forest activities and charges guide also include photography. If you come across an interesting subject when cycling, walking, or riding a horse, slow down and capture a snap. This photograph will forever remind you of your Karura Forest tour experiences. 

Some of the interesting things to shoot are the manmade lake, Mau Mau caves, waterfall, animals, birds, and plants.

Carryout a Research Study

Karura Forest is among the best-protected forests in Kenya. Its unspoiled ecosystems enable education researchers to collect the most accurate data about animals and plants. The Education Center within the facility welcomes students and members of society to learn how to conserve the environment and live sustainably. 

Interested people can attend workshops and participate in guided tours for wildlife conservation, forest ecology, etc. Its education programs are interactive and engaging enough for young students. 

Furthermore, the Education Center has a section that displays information materials about the affluent biodiversity of Karura Forest. It raises awareness about water conservation, waste control, renewable energy options, and a lot more. This Education Center is a great place for researchers and young school students.

Explore the Sculpture Garden

Karura Forest has diverse attractions, including a garden with different sculptures and artifacts. If you love handmade art items, ensure you visit this garden before you leave the reserve. You can purchase a souvenir as a way to promote and recognize the creative local artists. 

Besides viewing sculptures, you can enjoy the beauty and tranquil atmosphere of this garden. 

Karura Forest Entry Charges and Other Fees

Learning about the Karura Forest Activities and their charges in advance can prevent confusion during your trip. Karura Forest welcomes adult and children guests. The table below discloses various entry fees charged at the entrance points: 

Citizenship CategoryEntry Charges for Kids and Adults
Kenyan CitizenAdults – 100
Kids – 50
ResidentAdult – 200
Kids – 100
Non-residentAdult – 600
Kids – 300
Karura forest entry charges

Kids pay half the price of their guardians no matter their citizenship. As you can see on the table, these are affordable entry fees even for foreigners.

Other fees in Karura Forest

  • Parking Fees – Note that the Karura Forest  Service management team charges some Parking fees based on the type of car you are driving. If you have a 4-wheel-drive auto with five doors, you will pay KES 100. 12-seater minivans attract a parking fee of KES 200. A minibus with fourteen to thirty-two seats incurs a parking fee of KES 300. Lastly, those who arrive in Karura Forest on a bus with thirty-two or more seats meet a parking fee of KES 500. 
  • Picnic Fees and Bike Hire Charges – Picnic grounds in Karura Forest are not for free. If your picnic group entails only adults, each member will pay a picnic fee of KES 150. If you come with children who are twelve years old or younger, each will pay KES 100.

How to Travel to Karura Forest

If this is your first time to tour Karura Forest, you need to know how to get there from Nairobi CBD. Karura Forest has two main gates, including: 

  • Gate D – This is along the Limuru Road
  • Gate C – It is on Kiambu Road, near the Sharks Palace 

If you want to get to Karura Forest by Matatu and enter through Gate D, choose vehicle numbers 116, 107, 106, or 11B. Alight the Matatu near the Belgian Embassy. To travel to Karura via the Kiambu Road, choose Matatu numbers 116, 120, 100, or 121.

If you fear navigating the forest alone, buy some maps at the main entrances at KES 200.  

On the other hand, you can hire a tour guide at KES 300. They will only take you around the forest for two hours. 

If you feel confident enough to explore the Karura Forest alone, follow the trail markings to avoid getting lost. Ensure you arrive any time from 6 am and exit before 6 pm. The Karura Forest is open throughout the week, including during public holidays. 

If you want more privacy, visit during weekdays because the reserve has fewer visitors. To gather more information about Karura Forest before visiting, contact the Friends of Karura Forest on 0728 501 333.