Activity: Mugoiri old Girls Karura Hike
Date: 13th April 2019
Charges: Ksh 300 (The extra Ksh 50 goes back to the school development kitty)
High school was an amazing phase. It was a discovery of proving to my primary Kiswahili teacher that indeed I was good at Kiswahili and also showing to my father that business studies math was a piece of cake- not Mathematics. “How can you be scoring so high in business paper two getting all the math right but fail in Mathematics terribly? Are they not the same thing?” Those were two different things. One was real, the other was fake. My leadership skills were sharpened here plus I never knew I had a commanding voice till I became the commander to the Rangers Unit. Today, am not here to reminisce about high school but talk about how our Alumni Association decided to go hike Karura forest.
Am a firm believer in giving back especially to people, societies or institutions that molded you into who you are today. Our high school association gives back through sponsoring needy students in the school, taking part in school developments, mentoring and motivating students. More so, we hold functions to interact with other alumni with the aim of networking and socializing.
Karura forest has so many entry gates but on this day we were to use the Limuru road gate that is 15-30minutes drive from Nairobi CBD. If using public means, the gate can be accessed by boarding matatus heading to Ruaka/Banana. These can be found at Koja or Odeon bus stage at the CBD while the fare is Ksh 50. If using private means (and this is where I don’t usually talk about private in my blog cause I own no car and I might end up giving complicated data. This car lover hustler will buy then we shall know all routes) Kiambu road, Parkland’s road and Limuru road will do. All you need to know is that this entry point is just after the Belgium Embassy; the road has so many embassies so be very keen not to miss the signage.
Been a forest in the urban area it was once prone to land grabbing but we give credit to the late Wangari Maathai who fought by crook and hook to restore the forest. Sitting on 2,570 acres of land, Karura provides adrenaline junkies with cycling, hiking, picnic, jogging and walking activities. And yes you can bring your dog for a walk. Bikes can be hired here for Ksh 500 per 1 hour while the entry fee to the forest is Ksh 250 per head that is if you want to access the Amani picnic area. Car parking is also charged and no need to worry as the forest has so many parking areas. One thing you need to know is that reusable water bottles are the norm since plastic bottles are not allowed. Keeping the environment clean. Maps can be bought at the gate in case you want to explore the forest further but there signs all over to keep you alert.
Blue, yellow and red colors are dominant here telling wander lusters where to turn to keep them on track. I discovered red is for those using bikes which is about 10km while blue covers a distance of 10km and yellow been the shortest is 5km. Forest fires been a common factor, the forest has erected fire warning posters in form of charts with low, medium and high represented with an arrow that changes in every part of the forest. Some places are high prone while others are low or medium.
Samsung benches provide relaxing sitting bays as you explore and there are toilets too just before you get to the waterfalls. I say this because in most forests I have been, you just have to hold your shit together till you get back to the entry gate or let nature take its course. Amazing features inside this magical land are waterfalls, mau mau caves that have now become home to bats- barred from entry to not disturb them, bamboo trees, plant species, tree seedling garden, wildlife, lily and butterfly lakes, tennis pitch, bar, restaurant and the Amani garden picnic area. It is at the Lily lake where animals quench their thirst and I think it was named so cause of the many lilies floating on the lake. On the other hand, Amani garden is a memorial garden dedicated to the lives of those lost during the Westgate mall attack on 21st September 2013.
The girls’ squad started their hike a little bit late (11am) waiting for the late comers and ended up covering 15km (we were to do 5km but the energy in us couldn’t allow our Saturday to be wasted by a mere 5km!). We took our time, had our picnic snacks at Amani and left the park at around 4pm.