An arboretum is a place holding living collection of plants for the purposes of scientific research, conservation, display and education (Wyse Jackson 1999). Nairobi Arboretum is 30 hectares of wooded landscape, an oasis close to the heart of the city situated about3 km from city centre and adjacent to the State House. It is one of Nairobi's few remaining green spaces with shaded walkways, picnic lawns and jogging trails.
The Arboretum was established in 1907 by Mr. Batiscombe, then Deputy Conservator of Forests, to try out introduced forestry trees for Kenya. It was gazetted as a national reserve in 1932 and in 1996 a title deed issued by Commissioner of land designating it as a public owned reserve. For more on the Arboretum history click here.
Management and facilities
The Arboretum is under the management of the Forestry Department (FD). It was managed effectively for many decades but from the 1970s until the early 1990s management levels declined due to increasingly inadequate government funding.
The Arboretum has few permanent structures. It holds over 350 species of indigenous and exotic plants. The diverse vegetation is also home to over 100 species of birds, a population of Sykes and Vervet monkeys, many butterflies and other small wildlife.
School children visiting the Nairobi Arboretum
Long term Vision
The long term vision of the Nairobi Arboretum is of a revitalised, environmentally friendly, public amenity that:
Offers a beautiful, peaceful and safe place to visit.
Maintains both infrastructure and the living collection to high standard
Has additional facilities to sustainably support substantial visitor numbers from both Kenya and other countries.
Has an adequate complement of staff skilled in a variety of fields to meet wide range of functions and opportunities
Provides effective programme of environmental education and awareness, for schools, colleges and general public.
Has clear agreed development plan of the future
Has sound financial base, including solid Government funding and the capability to raise a significant contribution to the running income generating activities.