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The bold step

It was a cold wet morning, raining all night and part of the morning. I arrived at Nairobi City Park at 8.35am and I was being optimistic that some friends will show up for the nature walk. Amazingly the air was clean and fresh though the clouds were still grey and drizzling.

20 minutes later more friends who braved the rain and cold on this Saturday morning joined me. No birds were heard at this time, no butterflies in sight either. I could see some black kites patched up a tree all drenched.

There was a quorum for our walk to start, its great how things change. Within a short time, the grey clouds cleared giving way to a clear sky. The sun was finally freed and there we spotted an African palm swift, speckled moosebird, streaky seed eater among many others. We spotted about 20 different bird species on this morning and several butterflies in City Park.

The interesting part is that we got to learn hilarious jokes associated with naming of plant species; it went like…. Oh! You want to know, keep reading our blogs and join our walk on 6th February 2010 at Nairobi City Park.

We welcome your comments, views and suggestions. For information on how to join FoCP, contact us on [email protected]

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More friends for the Park

We ( Friends of City Park- FoCP) wish to welcome City Park’s new furry friends Otto, Yomann and Coco; the three had an opportunity to enjoy the December 2009 Nature walk with us, and can surely tell how magnificent this park is.

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Coco (held in the arms)

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Otto and Yomann (In the background)

You too can be a part of this. Become a friend today; for more information on how to join, your views, comments or queries, please contact us on: [email protected].

We will be glad to read from you. Please share City Park information with as many people as you can. We rely on your help to make all aware that the Park still exists.

Nature Walk

5th December 2009 was the day for the Nature walk at Nairobi City Park. After the previous evening rain, the sky was clear and the bright sun casting its rays upon the ground. Whatever it was, the day just felt alive.

Despite the low turnout since most friends had began their holidays, we had a good time, learning about interesting facts on trees and other plants, even spotted migrant birds, and generally enjoying the morning walk.

Some brain teasers…..

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Why is this so………

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And alot more.

Age however was not a limiting factor; the children too participated and had there share of fun and partially got lost in the hedge maze ( Mtego wa panya)

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By the end of the 2 ¾ hours walk believe me it was all smiles.

If you are in Nairobi on 9th January 2010 and would like to join the friends for a walk ( From 9am- Noon), please get in touch with us on [email protected].

After the experience you will find no reason of not joining FoCP as a friend.

Oh no, City Park not a waste Park!

A recent visit to Nairobi City Park revealed that people are dumping wastes of all kind in the park.. This can be attributed to inadequate waste bins and lack of proper waste management. If no proper and urgent interventions are taken, then City Park will be a litter Park and that would scare away people who would love to visit and have a nice time in the park. It will also choke growing vegetation and end up affecting the ecological systems of the park.

Waste dumped in one of the areas inside the Park

Do you know of any cost effective solution that can be put in place to check this environmental polution?

Please share with us your experiences. You can also help us by donating to buy litter bins for this unique park as a short term intervention. A healthy environment also means a healthy people.

Contact Friends of City Park at [email protected]

Experience Nairobi City Park on 14th November 2009

The rare white Jacarada tree invites you to see it at Nairobi City Park on 14th November 2009 while enjoying our guided nature walk. The walk starts at 9.00 to noon and we shall meet at Bowling Green Restaurant car park before we start the walk. Remember if you miss it this time, you have to wait this time next year.

The rare white Jacaranda tree. It is found no where else in Nairobi but only in Nairobi City Park .

and to have fun

Pupils from Waldorf School enjoying themselves

while watching among others

Vervet monkey with a young one

See you then.

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Waldorf School’s walk in the Park

A walk to the park today with pupils from Waldorf School was fun. First the kids were excited because of the monkeys and they wanted to feed them and touch them too. Then they got fascinated by the sight of the rare White Jacaranda, the only one in the entire of City Park and which some of them had not seen before. The tree itself looked like it had been covered with ice because it was in its full bloom of white flowers and the ground round the tree was all white as well.

Round the forest the pupils also had a chance to see the fig trees and some parasitic plants including the Lianas which in this case their root system provides nice swinging ropes and all the kids were hesitant to leave the climber alone. Even the dominant Sykes monkeys who fancy these roots were carried away by the excitement of the kids and came to have fun together as well.

The pupils were good in paying attention and eager to learn.

And the White Jacaranda was in its full bloom as well

There was fun to the kids as they played with the root system of the Lianas, a plant climber.

And fun it was

And,

Did you ever know that the fig tree fruits are flowers as well as fruits? Did you also know that the Fig Wasps live, feeds and breeds in these fig fruits? And that the wasps help in pollinating the figs? Well, I learnt it today and thought it would be wise to share this with you. Everything that is around us in terms of living and non-living things has its amazing and important role to play in nature. If we all understood this, we would never want to destroy nature and if we had to use it, we would use it sustainably and equally.

A weekend Day Out in City Park

This was one of my free days and it happens to be Saturday the 17th October. I look around the house and there is nothing much to do in the afternoon. So I request my family to accompany me to City Park- a real nice cool place to be.

As we were having a walk across the open area, you can just imagine one of the guys to welcome my family was none else but a group of Sykes! The children are exited. The kids run towards them. You could imagine the scene as it was unfolding in front of my wife and me. A game between the kids and the Sykes was on. Kids running after the Sykes and the Sykes doing the same. The communication between the two parties none could comprehend but maybe the two parties. When the kids were tired, we went and sat on one of the benches and do you know our companions-the Sykes! They just sat on top of our benches where they could share some goodies with the kids. It was a perfect harmony between human and nature. On this day there was a good number of visitors in the park and believe it the park’s entry is absolutely free.

The place is marvellous with people of different cultural grounds meeting and talking at each other as if they knew each other a long time ago.

City Park is one of the places where I would recommend for families to visit, relax and have story telling sessions that fits perfectly with most of stories that describes forests and animals in harmony with humans.

As a recreation space what I find missing are children swings and slides that the kids could use when tired of playing around. May be, you who is out there and had a chance to read this can help in contributing to buy these kids facilities.

Your contribution for City Park improvement ensures the perpetuity of the park for generation to come

Friends Nature Walk

The day is 10th October 2009. The Friends of Nairobi City Park had scheduled a guided nature walk in City Park. By 9.30 a.m, 32 people had assembled in the designated meeting point. The skies were clear and the day temparatures were just right for the walk not forgetting that during the previous night there was a heavy rain downpour.

The birds we saw were quite a number despite the dry weather that Nairobi had been experiencing lately. Among the birds sighted were the Narina Trogon- a rare bird to see, Hadada Ibis, Silverly-cheeked Hornbill, Black-backed Puffback, Grey-backed Cameroptera, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler and the most common bird of prey the Black Kite.

As we walked along, we came across various biodiversity whose significance were explained by the naturalists present.

Well, even kids too had fun of another kind!

We shall keep you posted on other events that are comming up.

You can contact us at [email protected]

The Nairobi City Park maze is coming back to live!!

The Maze

During my recent visit to Nairobi City Park, I was overjoyed to find that the City Council of Nairobi are rehabilitating the once popular but neglected maze

The maze was popularly known as mtego wa panya in Kiswahili( rougly translated as a “rat trap”) used to be a popular destination for kids and adults alike before the early 1990’s. Most of people who are aged over 30 years have fond memories the maze. When we were young, we used to visit the place and you could imagine how scared we were when we find ourselves “lost” in the maze. But there used to be a guard(s) placed strategically in a watch tower who would guide you on your way in or out. The guard(s) used to be our best friends because they would bail us out. You could hear Children (our age mates) shouting they are lost.

I remember in school, us kids used to tell stories of how our parents are tough in making their way to the centre of the maze and the way out. But one question I used to ask myself: if the parents were that tough, how come then were they seeking the assistance of the guards?. It was better to ask yourself the question than spoiling the story telling session. To every child, the parent or guardian could never be wrong!

Fun

The fun was to find your way to the centre within the shortest time possible. To get to the centre one could use many trails but only one could lead to the centre. The challenge of getting out of the maze was if you could memorize the trail you took without getting lost. Neither could you jump over to the next trail if you are lost. It was a quite a challenge.

The once popular Maze under rehabilitation by the City Council of Nairobi. The challenge was to get into the centre and finding your way out. It is expected to be fully functional within some few months. The hedge is used to mark out the trails and not to cross over.

Sadly in the early 1990’s something went wrong and the maintainance of the maze was no longer a priority of the authorities responsible for maintaining it leading to its neglect and overgrown hedge.

But now, seeing the City Council of Nairobi is rehabilitating the maze, I could feel those years I was a kid coming back with memories of my class 5 primary school teacher telling us how tough he is in finding his way in and out of the maze but fortunately for us he was the first to be lost when we visited the maze! You could imagine the look on his face when one of the daring pupils asked him why we are lost yet he is tough! Well these are just some of the memories of fun we had and hopefully my kids ( and yours too) will enjoy as much as much as we did but I wont get lost again!!

Feeding the monkeys in City Park- not always good!

The Sykes and Vervet monkeys at City Park are a joy to watch. Every time you visit the park, you will always find them happily jumping up and down the trees and on the open grounds waiting for people to feed them, always curious what they may be carrying for them. To me this is a very worrying trend. People should always be cautious when feeding the monkeys and other wildlife at large in protected areas.

You should remember that what you feed might not necessarily be good for the wildlife. Your food may include spices, food additives and preservatives that the animals may find palatable but may have negative effect on their health. When you condition them to be reliant on human for feeding, you are depriving them of their natural instincts for fetch food by themselves. In case they don’t get food from you for a period of time, their conditioned instinct (you may be the culprit) will force them to raid for food in the neighbouring market and homesteads and thereby exposing them to likely injuries from attacks by the owners and sometimes this attacks can be fatal. (Can you can imagine if they stray out of the City Park forest and they become hungry? or snatching food from your kids?)

The most likely cause of this behaviour by people in the park is due to lack of recreational facilities that could keep both the kids and their guardians busy.

Sykes in Nairobi City Park forest

So instead of feeding the monkeys you can support by donating to improve the infrastructure in the park. Feeding the monkeys should be done only during special circumstances

We need your Support!

Help save our Nairobi City Park monkeys!

If you support to improve the infrastructure, you assist the monkeys too-including our Sykes, to lead a normal life and you also improve their health to live a little longer.

You can contact us at [email protected]