TOPOGRAPHY, HYDROLOGY. FLORA AND FAUNA
The landscape of the Ngong Road Forest is gently rolling with regular shallow valleys, the deeper of which reveal volcanic tuffs and basaltic lava. Its soils are perfect for dense tree growth interspersed with glades where seasonal grasses thrive after the rains.
The main headwaters of the Ngong River (also known as the Motonie River) lie within the forest, which also forms part of the upper catchment area for the Athi and Kiserian rivers.
The Ngong Road Forest is home to a bustling community of animals, reptiles and amphibians. Animals known to be living in the forest include: duikers, bush bucks, bush pigs, genets, civets, bush babies, porcupines, sykes monkeys, squirrels, hares, epauletted fruit bats and clawless otters, hyenas, dik diks, leopards, olive baboons, mongooses, aardvarks and warthogs.
The reptile population is made up of cobras, pythons, green snakes, adders, Kenya striped skaapsters, South African rock pythons, striped skink lizards, jackson’s three horned chameleons and leopard tortoises. They are joined by a variety of amphibians including, Kenya puddle frogs, savanna ridged frogs, Senegal bubbling kassinas and mottled shovel-nosed frogs.
Birdwatchers have spotted 113 different bird species within the forest; these include the African Harrier Hawk as well as crows, ducks, owls, sparrows, doves, weavers, vultures, starlings, hoopoes, honey guides, trogons and narina trogons. The forest is also home to a pair of Crowned Eagles.
Following a survey and mapping of the Ngong Road Forest to establish the range of its flora and fauna, the programme of environmental rehabilitation will split into two main branches of activity.
The first branch will see the enrichment of the forest with new planting in areas of the forest where chronic deforestation has taken place. Tree species will be selected on the basis of their usefulness not only to the ecosystem but on their potential economic use for surrounding communities – for example, plants with medicinal qualities, all of which are indigenous.
The second branch will be to wrestle control over decaying and invasive species; this includes harvesting of very old exotic plantations by Kenya Forest Service and replacing them with indigenous species in order to support the natural biodiversity of the original forest.
To help further replenish the forest, there is also an urgent need to remove the invasive weeds, Lantana Camara and Mauritius thorn that are ravaging the old forest species and taking up space of potential indigenous species.
There is a role here for local communities, including schoolchildren, who can help with removal and replanting activities while learning about the many and varied ecosystems of the forest.
Indigenous trees - 260 Hectares
Species highlights: Loeseneriella Africana, Clausena Anisata, Croton Aethiopica, Ficus Thonningii and the seriously endangered Brachylaena Huillensis (Muhugu)
Forest Plantations - 638.4 Hectares
Species highlights: Eucalyptus, Cyprus and Pine
Indigenous Habitats and Grasslands - 504 Hectares
Species highlights: African Green Heart (Warbugia Ugadensis) – popularly used for its medicinal properties
Birds, primates, reptiles and more...
AFRICAN CROWNED EAGLE
African Crowned Eagles:- I have been working with this wonderful species that is arguably the top eagle of Africa. This is their story and how they are adapting to urban life in Nairobi" Washington Wachira
Duiker live in the forest, and sadly they have been targetted by poachers
Sykes’ monkeys were named after English naturalist Colonel William Henry Sykes,they are also known as the white-throated monkey or Samango monkey. They love forest canopies to help shield them from the sun and predators; and they do not often reach the ground because they love the shade of the tall trees. The trees are safe for them
If Karura Forest is one of Nairobi’s green lungs, Ngong Road Forest is the other. And while in the early days of its history, Nairobi was commonly referred to as, ‘The Green City in the Sun’, today it would be difficult to recognise that name in what has become an increasingly polluted capital city.