The history of Uhuru Park, the most popular recreational park in Nairobi, is a rich tapestry of strife and celebration in Kenya. The sight of soldiers resplendent in colorful uniforms and marching to music beautifully performed by a military band, is as common as the violent disruption of political protests in this Park. This was the scene of protests lead by Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai against a planned construction on the Park of a 62-story headquarters for former President Moi’s ruling political party KANU in 1989. It is home to the freedom corner where Wangari Maathai in 1991 led a group of women in demanding the release of their sons detained by the former President Moi’s regime for political reasons. This is also where Archbishop Maurice Otunga led a group of Catholics in burning a heap of condoms in 1996. But mostly, it is the main assembly point for celebrating national holidays, for political rallies during election periods, and for prayer meetings by various religious organizations.
The expansive lawns, shade trees, and well tended gardens in Uhuru Park make this one of the most attractive green spaces in the city, drawing throngs of city residents on weekends and public holidays. This in turn has made it a favorite with charismatic preachers looking to bag a few souls, and make a living from tending to their spiritual needs.
Boat riding on the artificial lake in the Park is another popular pastime. Several foot bridges adorn the Park, as they provide eye-catching links to an artificial island in the Lake.
For Picnic lovers, Uhuru Park provides the ideal setting, with the option of buying snacks from food vendors dotting various corners of the Park’s walkways.
The Park also features some monuments, with the most prominent one built during former President Moi’s rule, a fountain celebrating his regime’s mantra of love, peace and unity. And if you would like to take home with you memories of your visit to the Park, you’ll find a swarm of professional photographers ready to provide you with this service.
The Park is situated on Uhuru Highway, across from Nairobi InterContinental Hotel. It is bounded by Kenyatta Avenue to the North, Community area to the West, and Haile Selassie Avenue to the South. Its central location in Nairobi’s central business district makes it easily accessible to residents from all corners of the city.
The Park is open for free to the public. The Nairobi City County, however, charges for boat rides, and for the use of toilet facilities in the Park.