Aberdares National Park
Aberdares National Park is located about 100 km north from Nairobi and stretches over a wide variety of terrains because it covers altitudes from about 2,100 m to 4,300 m above sea level. Established in May 1950, the Aberdare National Park covers an area of 766 square kilometers and forms part of the Aberdare Mountain Range. The park contains a wide range of landscapes – from the mountain peaks that rise to 4,300 m above sea level (Ol donyo lesatima), the Kinangop peak (3906m) and, to their deep, v-shaped valleys intersected by streams, rivers, and waterfalls. Moorland, bamboo forests and rain forests are found at lower altitudes. The park is a perfect location for topography enthusiasts and for viewing Kenya’s animals and birds. Animals here include the leopard, elephant, wild dogs, giant forest hog, bushbuck, mountain reedbuck, waterbuck, cape buffalo, suni, side-striped jackal, eland, duiker, colobus monkey and Sykes monkeys. The rare sightings includes the African golden cat and the Bongo. The park also has quite a large number of black rhinos. You can also indulge in walking, picnics, fishing in the rivers and camping in the moorlands. This park has over 250 bird species, including the endangered Aberdare cisticola, Jackson’s francolins among others.
The topography ranges from high moorland, hills and peaks to indigenous forest, ravines, streams and waterfalls. Due to its high altitude, the park is very rainy and misty, with roads that become impassable during the wet season. Although Aberdare is close to the equator, the altitude governs the climate. It is cooler than the lower plains and coastal areas, and very misty and rainy year-round.
The Kenya Wildlife Service and Rhino Ark, a charity dedicated to the protection of the area and its wildlife, run Aberdare National Park. Aberdare is home to the second largest herd of endangered black rhinos.
Two of Kenya’s best safari lodges are located in Aberdare National Park that is the Treetops and the Ark. Both provide excellent game viewing at night over the watering hole.
The rich, red volcanic soil provides excellent growing conditions for the indigenous forest, and lies in stark contrast to both the forest and the mountain’s rugged and beautiful peaks.
Besides wildlife viewing,bird watching is also good here, with over 250 species of birds recorded in Aberdare National Park.
Trout fishing in the ice-cold Guru Karuru and Chania Rivers is another popular activity.
You can also enjoy the views of Lesatima and Kinangop peaks or hike through the moorland and visit the magnificent waterfalls.