Nairobi City Park, A Nature Lovers Haven & Monkey’s Paradise.

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In my recent visit to Kenya, a friend recommended that I visit the city park, thanks to him.  The Nairobi City Park is basically a park in appearance. Once you find yourself inside you will find something completely different. Lots of people will take lunch time breaks there and slumber for a few minutes thanks to the cool tropical climate that Nairobi sits in.

The park is 2 to 3 kilometers from the central business district thus offering noise free place to relax and enjoy Mother Nature. In the yester years on Nairobi the area was only well known to the Asian community who live in the parklands area, but of late the ordinary Kenyans and foreign tourists have started to flock the park promoting fruits trader to set up a fresh fruits market to serve to flock visiting the place. I watched in joy as one prepared a fresh fruits salad for me.  Curators have numerously fought for the few shop around as visitors will always grab souvenirs before they leave the park, be it a small personalized necklace for a dating couple or a wall painting for the tourist, all are available. There is a bar and restaurant near the NCC offices, providing a more conventional fare in this natural setting, for the few who love in dining and clubbing in nature at times.City Park 2

As parks go in The City Under The Sun, 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.

Established way back 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 declared the remaining 60 hectares of Nairobi City Park a protected area.

City Park 3Tucked 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, neglected, 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, while 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 operate in this area, armed with bottled water, snacks and other items of interest to visitors.

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Nairobi City Park is full of wild monkeys by the hundreds roaming around. This is the perfect place for an adventurous tourist. It is advised that you go deeper with someone that knows the area. It’s the most nature like harmonised park in the city. Also, it is good to take many bananas, peanuts, or corn off the cob (the best), to feed the monkeys. This is an experience to remember, and lastly don’t forget your camera.

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