Every child remembers their first bike. I got mine when I was around 10 years old after I got acceptable grades in school. It was a lime-green Chinese model with black pedals and a black leather seat. It wasn’t the coolest bike out there but I loved it all the same. I went everywhere with it; to the shops, to my friend’s place, crusing down the street in my 2 wheeler :D… I couldn’t bear to part with it. I fell one too many times on it and run into so many trees! Ha! Memories
It was not until I was 13 that I outgrew the bike and had to give it away. The next time I rode a bike was 6 years later on a trip with my family to Eagle’s Inn in Naivasha of which I was terrified at the time and spent circa 30 minutes on it. Finally 2 years later, I couldn’t pass the opportunity to go Bike Riding in Karura Forest.
Karura is a well-known forest located in Kiambu and extends to Nairobi. Locals come for nature trails, morning or evening runs, picnics, to view the mini waterfall and the caves (they are actually niches on hard rocks) and bike rides. There is also a restaurant located in the area that has gorgeous views of the forest.
In order to acquire the bikes, one ought to pay 500ksh to have the bike for 2 hours. If you exceed the 2 hour limit, you will pay an additional 500ksh for it! They are very harsh on that. The caretaker of the bikes helps you choose the appropriate bike for you guided by your height and your sex. Yes, Gender. I didn’t know there were different designs for men and women!
You are also given a bike trail that you can follow. But life is too short to follow mapped out routes!
Riding off track is a good and bad idea. It is a good idea in that you get to fully experience Karura but a bad idea in that you will encounter steep slopes and rocky terrain that you need to be pro in order to maneuver. My friends and I learnt this the hard way after 2 of us were thrown off our bikes and one was severely injured. But she is a trooper and carried on with the trail.
Tall trees give the forest a mysterious feel with blades of light piercing through the dark canopy of leaves. The silence of it all is addictive in the sense that you never want to leave it. It is amazing to think that none of it would have existed anymore if it wasn’t for the late Nobel Laureate, Wangari Maathai. Housing projects were to be set up and take up a large chunk of the forest, but superwoman herself with her team of conservationists flew in to save the day.
We set our bikes aside to explore by foot.Tributaries of Nairobi River, Thigirie, Getathuru, Rui Ruaka and Karura , cut across the forest. A waterfall is formed by one of the tributaries. It is definitely a highlight in Karura.
The ‘caves’ are also an attraction in Karura. I call them “caves” as they are more of niches in hard rock. Some are deep and others aren’t. But they are still an interesting sight.
Within two hours we were able to explore Karura and get the bikes back on time. However if you want to solely explore the forest, I would highly recommend walking as you will not be in a hurry or exhausted climbing up hill by bike.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Citizen entry – 100ksh
Resident – 200ksh
Non-Resident – 600ksh
Car Entry – 100ksh
Bike Riding – 500 for 2 hours
Time: 06:00AM to 18:00PM
For more information please visit: www.friendsofkarura.org
Bike Riding in Karura is exciting and mega fun! But do not forget to stop for a minute and appreciate your surroundings.
Have a lovely week 🙂
Have you been to Karura? What was your experience? I would love to know in the comments down below:)