As parks go in this city, Nairobi City Park stands above most in its rich biodiversity. A recent biodiversity survey of the Park by Friends of Nairobi City Park identified about 988 species of flora and fauna. The forest is indigenous, with a number of tree species that are endemic to Kenya. The Nairobi City Council’s Environment Department is based here, and maintains a large Tree and plant nursery in the Park, with a sale yard where members of the public can buy plants.
This Park was established in 1921 as a zoological garden on a 91 hectare area, and formally declared a public park in 1925. Much like the other green spaces in the city, it was not spared encroachment by land grabbers who, despite all efforts by conservationists to protect it, progressively hived off over a third of its area over the years. A ray of sunshine finally broke through the clouds hanging over this Park when the government, through a legal Notice appearing in Kenya Gazette Supplement No.59 dated 4th September 2009, declared the remaining 60 hectares of Nairobi City Park as a protected area.
Tucked away on a portion of the Park is a public cemetery. This is the burial place of Pio Gama Pinto, a Journalist and Politician who actively participated in Kenya’s struggle for independence, only to be assassinated in 1965, barely two years after Independence. Adjacent to this cemetery is Murumbi Peace Memorial Park, where Joseph Murumbi, Kenya’s second vice President, and his wife Sheila were buried. The Murumbis’ legendary love for art and culture inspired a number of African artists to create the magnificent sculpture garden that is the Murumbi Memorial Park. Sadly, the grounds are neglected and overgrown with weeds, perhaps a testament to our indifference to our national heroes and the roles they played in our country’s history.
The nature trails in Nairobi City Park are a favourite with nature lovers, who come to get away from the city’s noise and congestion. Runners too love to jog on the Park’s trails.
The open spaces in the Park get a lot of picnic lovers on weekends who often bring enough food to share with the troops of Sykes Monkeys milling around this area. Some hawkers like to set up shop in this area, armed with snacks and other items of interest to visitors.
There is a bar and restaurant near the Nairobi City Council’s offices, providing a more conventional fare in this natural setting.
Not to be missed is the magnificent sculpture garden whose pieces include the Bird of Peace by Elkana Ongesa, at the Murumbi Memorial Park.
The Park is situated in the Parklands area of Nairobi, and bounded by Limuru Rd to the west, Forest Rd to the south, Muranga Rd to the east, and the upmarket Muthaiga Estate to the north.
Matatu numbers 100, 44, 45 on Muranga Rd
The Park is open for free to the public. There is a charge for use of the toilet facilities in the Park.
For more information on the Park, you can visit the following websites
Other Recreation Parks
- Oloolua Nature Trail
- Nairobi Arboretum
- Central Park
- Uhuru Gardens
- Jeevanjee Gardens
- Uhuru Park
- Paradise Lost
- Ngong Hills