Aberdare National Park overview
Aberdare national park is a gem located within a protected area of the Aberdare Mountain Range which serves as the third highest range of mountains in Kenya. It is found within the central area of Kenya and its summit is just over 4000m high. The park is located about 150km from Nairobi and stretches over a terrain that covers an altitude ranging from 6,600ft to 13000ft. Its size covers over 766 square kilometers and was established in 1950. The area is popularly known for its salient forests, variety of landscapes and prolific game. It also boasts of moorlands, plains and abundant tree cover that are specific to the Aberdare ranges. Forest that is found here is home to a number of fauna which are freely located within the area and the large amount of vegetation gives them the much needed cover. For a relaxed safari with a visit into the hinterlands, Aberdare national park provides a wonderful experience that is both unforgettable.
How to Get To Aberdare National Park
It is possible to get to the park by Road and by Air.
By Road: The Park is located 150km from Nairobi via Naro Moru on the Eastern side of the country. The road leading to there is all tarmac and as such the drive is smooth and easy. There is a specific road which crosses the park via the lower slopes of the ranges leading up to the Moorlands while the other road that can be utilized from Naivasha which is located on the Western side.
By Air: This may prove as a simpler way to travel because it cuts on time, but can be costly. The nearest airstrip to the park is Mweiga Airstrip that is located on the opposite side of the park headquarters along the Nyeri-Nyahururu road near Sasini Estate Farm.
What to see in Aberdare National Park
Aberdare National Park is home to a great number of wildlife that would serve to interest any traveler. Ranging from the herds of elephants and buffalos, which move silently within the cover of the thick vegetation and undergrowth to the playful colobus monkeys swinging from tree to tree. Other forms of wildlife found within this protected area include lions, side-striped jackal, eland, duiker, olive baboon, East African Wild dog, bushbuck, waterbuck, Cape buffalo, mountain reedbuck among others.
Rarer sightings that can be made here include those of the African golden cat and the bongo. The area is also home to great number of the black rhino population, and a couple of serval cats that occupy the higher moorland regions. Kenya is a country that is home to over 1100 bird species and Aberdare is considered one of the hotspots for bid watching. Some of the avian life found here includes; the endangered Aberdare cisticola, sparrowhawk, African fish eagle, sunbirds, plovers and Jackson’s spur fowl. One endemic species found here is the Jackson’s francolin that is prevalent within the park. There’s much to choose from in terms of attractions and the animals aren’t the only mind-blowing aspects found within the area.
The Karuru Waterfalls offer a scenic view of plunging waters that sprays those close by with sprinkles of fresh water. It exists at three stages with the first step being at 117M, the second step at 26M and the third step at 130M bringing the complete total to 273M. There is also the Chania Waterfalls and other small ones within the area. The viewing spot offers such a dramatic and others say romantic ambience for your pleasure.
The beauty of the park is further increased by the ridges and river valleys which offer mountain photographers with opportunity like no other. Visitors can engage in trout fishing and picnics in the rivers and camping in the Moorlands as well.
The forest is known to come alive in the night-time and if you have a chance to stay at one of the Tree Hotels found within Aberdare National Parks you will have the opportunity to unobtrusively observe game for a long period of time from the comfort of your unique safari lodge. Elephant herds surround the waterholes during the night before fading away back to their abodes within the forest. If one is lucky you shall see some of the elusive rhinos or baboons appear at the waterholes as well and it is truly a spectacular sight.
There is an array of accommodation options both within the park and outside in the adjoining vicinity. The two ‘Tree Lodges’ are the most sought after because of the vantage point that they offer when it comes to game watching. The costs of the hotels vary depending on the season.
Park rules/code of conduct
- Respect the privacy of the wildlife, this is their habitat.
- Beware of the animals, they are wild and can be unpredictable.
- Don’t crowd the animals or make sudden noises or movements.
- Don’t feed the animals, it upsets their diet and leads to human dependence.
- Keep quiet, noise disturbs the wildlife and may antagonize your fellow visitors.
- Stay in your vehicle at all times, except at designated picnic or walking areas.
- Keep below the maximum speed limit (40 kph/25 mph).
- Never drive off-road, this severely damages the habitat.
- When viewing wildlife keep to a minimum distance of 20 meters and pull to the side of the road so as to allow others to pass.
- Leave no litter and never leave fires unattended or discard burning objects.
- Respect the cultural heritage of Kenya, never take pictures of the local people or their habitat without asking their permission, respect the cultural traditions of Kenya and always dress with decorum.
- Stay over or leave before dusk, visitors must vacate the Park between 6.00 p.m. – 6.00 a.m. unless they are camping overnight. Night game driving is not allowed.