Tucked away in the bustling streets of Nairobi is a nice, serene, public park. At first glance, it may not look that different from most urban parks in the world but you’ll soon come across its unique inhabitants—hundreds of Sykes’ monkeys that call this place home.
The park is maintained by a group of volunteers called Friends of City Park and there are several donation boxes located throughout the area. In addition, the park is located very close to a local street market where you can purchase nuts, corn, seeds, and fruits for the monkeys to enjoy.
The City Park Botanic Gardens inside the park are a safe haven for endemic plant species that are threatened in their natural habitats. Of the nearly 600 plant species in the park, there are some 110 that are considered high conservation priority, 16 of which are endemic species. Seven occur in the wild only in Kenya, and nine are regional endemics, found only in East Africa. These endangered plants include Aloe ballyi, a tall-growing succulent known as “Tree Aloe,” and Borassus aethiopum, a large palm that grows to around 25 meters (82 feet) in height. A plant nursery in the park nurtures saplings that are distributed in the Nairobi area as well as farther afield.
Near the center of the park you can find the Murumbi Peace Memorial Garden. Opened in March 2009, this memorial honors Joseph Murumbi, a Kenyan politician who served as the country’s second Vice President.