By: JAMES MURIMI
Travelling on the road from Kombani turn-off to the sleepy Kwale Town, one snakes through numerous crop fields punctuated with lush vegetation on both sides.
Soaring above the rest of the vegetation are strikingly evergreen coconut trees seductively swaying in the winds blowing across the land from the not-so-distant Indian Ocean.
But the icing on the cake of this picturesque scenery is the town’s forested leisure park, which many find irresistibly inviting.
Baraza Park, as it is known, is dotted with old indigenous trees of prodigious sizes that endow the town, strategically located on the fringes of the renowned Shimba Hills National Reserve.
It is an oasis of cool temperatures in the midst of sweltering coastal heat.
This gem beckons and welcomes visitors to the town with its infinite charm, which signifies the vast tourism potential in Kwale County.
Though the coastal town pales in significance compared to Nairobi, there is one thing the two have in common — they are gifted with a premier wildlife sanctuary right at their doorsteps.
While the city boasts of the Nairobi National Park, Kwale has the reserve, which is only a stone’s throw away.
Kudos to the local community for fervently preserving the park, which must really be one of Kenya’s few remaining green spaces in urban areas where unfettered greed has seen every open space gobbled up by grabbers.
The endurance of this rare urban forest is attributed to the hard work of conservationists led by local elders, who jealously protect it against destruction.
Many marvel at the tranquillity and splendour found at the park, which has been the venue of national day celebrations and other important occasions.
The park hosts different species of indigenous trees of exceptional sizes, diverse shapes and colours, turning it into the town’s natural arboretum.
It is home to several species of birds, reptiles, insects and some small mammals — notably the playful monkeys.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION