Kenya

Karura Forest – Nature Trails, Orange Waterfalls, and Cafe | Nairobi, Kenya

A lovely little surprise in the middle of the city, Karura Forest is a gem of Nairobi. With over 50 kilometers of walking, biking, and nature trails, this is one of the best places to visit for a taste of nature while still staying in the city.

Karura Forest Nairobi Kenya

Karura Forest is the type of place you keep going back to time and again. Between my two trips to Kenya, I’ve visited there at least four times. There are so many walking trails, biking options, benches to take a rest, picnic areas, and even a quaint café.

Walking Karura Forest

Karura Forest Nairobi Kenya

There are multiple different walking, running, and biking routes in Karura Forest, most of them clearly written on different signs throughout the park. If entering with a car, just a short walk from the parking lot, past the River Cafe, you’ll come to the entrance to the trails. All throughout the trails, you’re given the option to walk towards multiple different tourist attractions.

There are caves where the Mau Mau (freedom fighters against the colonial power) hid from the colonial troops, a Butterfly Lake, waterfalls, and more. Most of the paths are lined with many many trees which are often spattered with monkeys or small deer. Each time that I visited there were also countless exotic butterflies everywhere, usually bright blue, but also yellow and white.

The paths are dirt, but clean and well kept. There are benches all throughout the multiple different trails, so there’s always a place to rest. In total there are over 50 kilometers of trails throughout the forest!

Karura Forest Nairobi Kenya

Waterfalls at Karura Forest

Karura Forest Nairobi Kenya

About 3-4 kilometers from the trail entrance, you can walk to one of the most famous attractions- the orange waterfall. Technically the waterfall is only orange during the rainy season where Kenya’s dark red soil dyes it a vibrant orange. However, I visited during the rainy AND dry seasons and it was a bright orange both times. Personally I think its beautiful and unique. I’ve never seen an orange waterfall before!

Karura Forest Nairobi Kenya

In contrast with the dark, almost black soil, and the bright green trees, it was truly stunning. It reminded me of orange sherbet, pools and flowing streams of orange sherbet!

River Cafe at Karura

One of my absolute favorite places in Nairobi and one of my favorite cafes ever is the River Cafe at Karura Forest. Not only is the food quite tasty (although a bit expensive), but the environment is unmatched. The cafe is built right in the middle of the forest and your view while dining is amazing. It’s the perfect spot to read a book, relax after exercising. or enjoy a coffee.

River Cafe Karura Forest Nairobi Kenya

Tips

  • Cost– As in just about every place it Kenya, there is a fee to enter. Per Kenyan tradition, there are also different fees for citizens, residents, and tourists (the tourist fee being the highest of course). The tourist fee is 600Ksh (~$6) per person. The resident fee is 200KSh (~2) and the citizen fee is 100Ksh (~$1). There are also additional fees for entrance with a car, usage of the picnic areas, bike rentals, and more. Here is a list of costs and fees for different activities at Karura.
  • How to Get There – Karura is pretty easy to get to from most areas of Nairobi. If you are staying in the more international area, where most of the embassies and the UN are located, it is just a few minutes drive away. Uber is the easiest way to get around Nairobi and the driver can take you right to the entrance.
  • Muddy-Kenya, especially Nairobi, receives a lot of rainfall. This means that the dirt paths at Karura are almost always muddy. Although you can walk on the dirt path just with sandals, sneakers or boots may be best, especially after lots of rain.
  • Safety– Karura Forest is a very safe area. Almost 15 years ago, it was known to be a very unsafe area, but after amazing initiatives it is now one of the safest areas of Nairobi. There is an electric fence around the forest to ensure only those permitted to enter are within. The only wild animals you’ll likely see will be monkeys, so also no need to be concerned in regards to wild animals.
  • Hours– Karura Forest is open from 6:00-18:00 every day of the week.
Karura Forest Nairobi Kenya

For more information or tips and tricks for visiting Kenya, check out our Kenya page!

Lots of Love and Safe Travels,

Danielle and Brooke, Colorful Sisters

Join the discussion

  1. 100 Country Trek

    Are you there now ? Love to return when things get back to the norm.

  2. Divya

    Wow.. Thank you for showing us a glimpse of Nairobi❤️

  3. cornfedcontessa

    Thanks for the follow!

  4. Soni Cool😎

    What a post dear… Marvellous clicks…❤️

    • Colorful Sisters

      Thank you so much! It’s such a fun, peaceful place to explore!

  5. Angela F. Claugher

    This is so beautiful! I really hope I can visit one day. Your blog is amazing! ⚘

    • Colorful Sisters

      Thank you so much Angela, let us know how it is after you go 🙂

  6. equinoxio21

    Asante sana. Enjoy Kenya. (I lived there part of my childhood. A magical place. Kwaheri sassa.

    • Colorful Sisters

      Wow so amazing! Where did you live in Kenya? I’ve been lucky enough to travel around fairly extensively here! Asante sana 🙂

      • equinoxio21

        We lived in Nairobi for 3 years in the late 60’s. Right after Independence. Of course we traveled extensively in Kenya, and all of East Africa. it is one the most beautiful places on earth. Like I said, enjoy every minute of it. Cheers

      • Colorful Sisters

        So fun! It really is an amazing place. Enjoyed most of my travels here! I haven’t been to other areas in East Africa… But maybe next trip!

      • equinoxio21

        Tanzania is really next door. A trip to Serengeti is just a few hours’d rove from Nairobi. And well worth it.

      • Colorful Sisters

        Yesss my boyfriend and I wanted to take a trip there on the weekend but because of covid it’s unfortunately not so simple anymore 😭

      • equinoxio21

        Oh. Mbaya sana. 😉 Africa seems to have “handled” the covid situation well, and I imagine the economy is so dependent on tourism that it must have taken a serious blow. But then crossing borders must hard right now. Can you go to Amboseli or Tsavo without major hassle?

      • Colorful Sisters

        Yesss it is a bummer but within the country travel is open and easy! We managed to travel to Tigoni and Laikipia county recently. Tsavo is a bit farther but maybe if we have some extra time! I’ve only ever passed through on the train from Mombassa!

      • equinoxio21

        I didn’t know Tigoni. I assume Laikipia is the Aberdares of Mount Kenya? Nakuru or lake Hannington (they call it differently now) are not far. And Tsavo is only a few hours drive.
        The train is still there? And still as crazy? Quite an experience… Cheers.

      • Colorful Sisters

        Tigoni is just outside of nairobi. Around 30 minutes drive and it’s known for tea plantations. Very beautiful region. And yes Nakuru and Naivasha aren’t too far.. Have already visited!
        There is a new train built a few years back that’s only about 5 hours to Mombassa…not crazy at all anymore!

      • equinoxio21

        ‘Looked up the map for Tigoni. Close by indeed.
        A new train? Well, we once took the old train for the night. Quite a journey. The restaurant car had mismatched cuttlery, silver forks and knives bearing HM’s arms mixec with Korean ware. I think the travellers stole the spoons. We had a compartment for ourselves, but people were sleeping in the corridors… And the train stopped a few times because elephants were blocking the way. 😉

      • Colorful Sisters

        Wow that really sounds like quite the experience!!! Quite the adventure. Now it’s just a pretty average train hahaha except that you pass through Tsave so often can see elephants and giraffes and zebras, but they don’t interfere with the tracks!

  7. Bulldog Ben

    I enjoyed this write up. Although I know it’s unlikely I’d ever have an opportunity to visit Karura, your descriptions and photos just might be the next-best thing. Happy to be following now.

    • Colorful Sisters

      I’m happy you enjoyed!! And you never know, maybe one day you’ll be able to visit!!

  8. homefreehippies

    Wow! Looks lovely. Would love to visit one day.

    • Colorful Sisters

      I hope you can! It’s a lovely place 🙂 Especially the cafe!

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