Karura Forest: The Best Place In Nairobi For An Outdoor Workout

Imani Jaoko

Do you enjoy working out? Actually, that’s a trick question, only five people in the world actually enjoy working out; the rest of us just want to eat pizza later. Let’s be honest, working out is not the easiest thing to do. But did you know there are ways to make a workout more enjoyable? Yes, you read that right – workouts can be enjoyable.

A Waterfall at Karura Forest

Studies show that working out outdoors leads to greater enjoyment and satisfaction, and get this – you’re more likely to repeat the activity at a later date.
And really, if you think about it, working out in the great outdoors with the chirping birds and fresh breeze is so much more inspiring than working out in your living room or near the sweaty guy at the gym.
If you live in Nairobi or are passing that way, then there’s great news for you – exercising outdoors is a viable option.

A Section of the Biking Trail At Karura Forest

Karura Forest is conveniently located within city limits and is a ten-minute drive from the city center. The Forest is the perfect place to get your muscles moving and blood pumping. It is a popular site for runners, joggers and everyone who started their fitness regime a week ago. There are enough walking trails to satisfy all kinds of fitness needs. The trails available are 15 kilometers, ten kilometers and five kilometers.
The Forest also has a biking trail that is 12 kilometers long. Be warned, however, that the hills are steep and you may lose all feeling in your legs. Of course, if you are Lance Armstrong reading this – go right ahead!
The biking trails and walking trails lead you through green forest areas, waterfalls, caves and streams. The trails are clearly marked and color-coded by length.

A section of the walking trail at Karura Forest

The Forest also has an outdoor work out space that is fit (get it?) for yoga, pilates and personal training in the wild. There is even an obstacle course for the little kid inside you.
Once you’re done with your work out, there are picnic benches where you can sit down and cool off.
All in all, Karura Forest is a gem and definitely an easy way to give your workout a boost. The forest also organizes activities such as fitness days; all you have to do is check their calendar to see when one is coming up.

Karura Forest

For those of you who don’t care for working out, but somehow made it through this article so far, the good news is that the forest is generally a great place to hang out – workout or no workout. There are great picnic sites and you can leisurely tour the caves and waterfalls.
The forest is safe and there are forest guides and scouts who patrol on a regular basis. They can even give you a ride in the patrol car back to the start of the trail – that is, if you look like you’re about to pass out.

A Waterfall at Karura Forest

The entry charges are relatively low. A one-day ticket for both the walking and biking trails costs roughly one dollar. There are also bikes for hire and these costs roughly five dollars per hour.
For history buffs and environmentalists, it may be interesting to note that the forest was made popular by the late Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan Environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and was one of her flagship projects. She fought to conserve the forest and keep it free from the housing developments that threatened to encroach on it. So by visiting the forest and using it, you help keep her legacy alive.
Nairobi is fondly known as ‘The Green City In The Sun’ and when you’ve been to Karura Forest it is very hard to disagree with this. If you’re ever in Nairobi make sure to pass by and give it a try.

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