Oloolua Nature Trail

Oloolua Nature Trail Karen Road Nairobi Kenya
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Oloolua Nature Trail is a great place to hike during your stay in Nairobi. Spend about three to four hours in a serene forest in the outskirts of the city.

Hiking in the City

Walk on narrow footpaths, bend under vines and push through branches of indigenous trees for a day of fun exploring Oloolua Nature Trail in Nairobi. Located about 20km from the city centre, this forest has the atmosphere, beauty and serenity needed to forget the hustles of city life. Oloolua Forest houses the Institute of Primate Research, and the nature trail is within the forest.

This attraction is among the few indigenous forests in the country.  Children, couples, individuals and groups can have a great time exploring the three main sites here that are the waterfall, swamp and cave.

The trail starts right from the entrance, after clearing with the security desk.  There are all kinds of visitors from children to groups of hikers and other visitors just looking for a great place to jog or walk their pets. Nevertheless, the place is not crowded. You might only come across one group along the path, at the waterfall or at the picnic site. There is room for everyone.

It offers a wild adventure through thick undergrowth and trees with the sun’s rays dancing through the branches.  You also walk into sun-baked clearings with little to no trees.   There are no signs here. The best you get is a sign directing you to the residential area or the picnic site. For the rest of the hike, you are on your own.  Take a snap shot of the map stuck to the wall of the main gate office or else, you will walk around in circles. But getting lost is the fun of it, isn’t it?

Finding the papyrus swamp feels like one of the forest’s gifts to you for not getting lost.  Spend a few minutes listening to the sounds of the bush, enjoying the tranquility.  Proceed through dense vegetation and a maze of vines to find River Mbagathi as it meanders through the forest. At times, you will literary crawl through vines almost walking on fours.

Further on, you find an over 30km long cave.  Creep into the bat infested dark alley to take amazing photos of this attraction. Allegedly, it housed the Mau Mau fighters during Kenya’s struggle for independence.  You need a flashlight to trace the outline of this cave.

You will walk down wooden steps to get to the picnic site overlooking River Mbagathi. The trees offer a shade and a spacious area to play, relax or have lunch ahead. Later, clamber up another set of steps on the other side and hike through a steep slope to get to the waterfall.  The view of the waterfall, from the forest is splendid. Water descends about 20 feet from the forest into the river meandering though the attraction. It is a sight to behold!

In addition, Oloolua Nature Trail has picnic grounds with a long drop toilet and water supply.  Groups bring tents and cooking facilities. This attraction is accessible from other attractions in the area such as the Giraffe Centre, Karen Blixen Camp and Kazuri Beads.  Public transport is available from the city centre.

Map of Oloolua Nature Trail

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