Nairobi Arboretum

Nairobi Arboretum occupies 30.4 hectares and is situated 3 km from the city centre. It was established in 1907 by Mr. Battiscombe, Deputy Conservator of forests mainly as a site for exotic tree species trials. This was because foresters in Kenya had become concerned that indigenous trees that the railway relied on were getting depleted faster than they could regenerate. To add to the tree species, Mr. H.M. Gardner (Chief Conservators of Forests) also collect indigenous shrubs and trees that were introduced there each year in spite of drought and diseases. Arboretum Forest Station was gazetted as protected Forest Reserves in 1932 and is managed by Kenya Forest Service (KFS). 


Nairobi Arboretum now hosts over 300 species of exotic and indigenous tree species. The arboretum also has over 100 species of migrant and resident bird species in addition to Sykes and Vervet monkeys. 


Wildlife in Nairobi Arboretum

Mammals: Monkeys – Vervet Monkeys or Black- faced guenon (Cercopithecus aethiops), Sykes or Blue Monkey (Cercopithecus mitis), Kenya Mole rat (Tachyoryctes ibeanus), four- toed hedgehog (Erinaceus albiventris), greater galago, fruit bats, mongooses and squirrels

Reptiles: Jackson’s three- horned chameleon (Chamaeleo jacksoni), High-casqued chameleon (Chamaeleo hoehneli), striped skink (Mabuya striata)

Birds: African paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis), White-eyed slaty flycatcher (Melaenornis fischeri), Common bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus), Malachite kingfisher (Alcedo cristata), African pied wagtail (Motacilla aguimp), Common fiscal (Lanius collaris), Black kite (Milvus migrans), Pied crow (Corvus albus), Hadada ibis (Bostrychia hagedash), Bronze mannikin (Lonchura cucullata), Bronze sunbird (Nectarina kilimensis), Baglafecht weaver (Ploceus baglafecht), Speckled mousebird (Colius striatus), Silvery- cheeked hornbill (Bycanistes brevis)

Butterflies: Green- banded swallowtail (Papilio phorcas), Mother-of-pearl (Salamis’ parhassus), African emigrant (Catopsilia florella), Green- veined, White-barred, Black-bordered and Blue spotted charaxes, Diadem (Hypolimnas missipus)


Plants in Nairobi Arboretum

Indigenous trees: Croton megalocarpus, Brachylaena huillensis, Podocarpus falcatus, Markhamia lutea, Vepris simplicifolia, African Olive, Schebera alata, Craibia brownie, Erythrina abyssinica, Trichilia emetic, Gardenia ternifolia, Millettia dura, Adansonia digitata, Encephalartos hildebrandtii, Tamarindus indica, Monodora myristica, Spathodea campanulata, Canthium keniense, Premna maxima, Croton alienus, Catha edulis, Zanthoxylum gillettii, Brachylaena huillensis, Prunus Africana, East African yellow-wood, Newtonia buchananii, Vitex keniensis, Khaya anthotheca, Sweitenia mahogoni

Exotic trees: Araucaria columnaris, Araucaria cunninghamii, Araucaria bidwillii, Lagunaria pattersonii, Brachychiton acerifolium, Senna brewsteri, Castanospermum austral, Melaleuca styphelioides, Eucalyptus callitris, Grevillea , Casaurina, Eucalyptus paniculata, Eucalyptus maculate, Jacaranda mimosfolia, Tipuana tipu Schizolobium parahybum, Phytolacca dioica,Tabebuia chrysantha (yellow poui), Erythrina corallodendron, Erythrina velutina, Eucalyptus deglupta(Mindanao gum), Eriobotrya japonica, Ficus elastic, Ligustrum ovalifolium, Ficus benjamina, Ficus religiosa, Cupressus cashmeriana, Acrocarpus franxinifolius, Bauhinia purpurea, Bauhinia petersiana, Schotia brachypetala, Erythrina lysistemon, Peltophorum africanum, Bolusanthus speciosus( African tree wisteria), Strelitzia Nicolai, Strelitzia regina(Birds of paradise), Ravenala madagascariensis (Traveller’s palm), Pinus patula (Mexican weeping pine), Phoenix reclinata (Wild date palm), Phoenix canariensis (Canary palms)


Other areas of special interests

•Picnic sites

•Marked walking trails 

•Bird watching


Activities available

•Learning about trees


•Bird Watching

•Butterfly watching



•Corporate events


•Team Building


•Religious activities

There are special areas available for hire for special events and group activities


Getting there and around

Public Transport: board matatu no.48 Kileleshwa route from Odeon matatu terminus and alight at Shell. Walk to the pedestrian gate which is about 100 metres from shell.

From CBD, one can chose to walk via Nairobi university way then to state house road up to the Arboretum main entry. It’s approximately 3 kilometres.


By private transport: Take the arboretum drive or University way and use the road next to Compuera academy, next to state house Gate C.  Follow the road then take the next right turn to Arboretum main enrty.

Taxi hire from town would be approximately 500 Kenyan shillings.

There is a guidebook available for purchase at 600 Kenyan shillings to help one get around the forest citing key areas too.

Visiting hours

Entry tickets can be purchased at the point of entry between 6:00 am and 6:30 pm. 


Entry fees:
Forest conservation fee is charged at the point of entry. For current rates, enquire from the contacts given here. 


What to wear and carry

Comfortable walking shoes or trainers, drinking water, binoculars, camera and wildlife books especially for birds and butterflies.

Important things to remember when visiting Arboretum forest:

• Enjoy yourself; in addition to seeing, pause and listen regularly. 

• Stop to allow wildlife to move off the tracks before you pass. 

• Do not feed wild animals.

• Do not start fires in the forest. 

• Do not take away animals, animal products, plants or plant parts. 

• Do not mark or deface tree stems, stones and other features. 

• Avoid unnecessary noise as it disturbs both wildlife and other visitors. 

• Take all the litter that you brought away with you. 

• Keep to the designated tracks and paths when walking and always be sure of where you are headed to or coming from as orientation in forests can be difficult.

• Single use plastic bottles not allowed. 


For more information contact


The Forest Manager

Arboretum forest station

Mobile: +254755838999


Sykes Monkey.



 Terpsiphone viridis.



Papilio phorcas.



Chamaeleo jacksoni.



Birds Watching.




Grounds for hire.



School children Education trip.



Prayer centre.



Picnic Site.



Hiking path.


Forest Products

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