Aberdare national park
Aberdare national park is situated in central Kenya with in the Aberdare mountain rangers which are the third highest mountain ranges in Kenya and located about 100 km north of Nairobi the capital of the country, this park covers an area of 767 square km (296 sq mi). unlike other National parks of Kenya that are occupied with Savannah Vegetation, this park has rainforest, moorland, bamboo on the lower slopes and the mountain ranges consist of deep gorges intersected by streams, rivers and gushing waterfalls these feature rank it among Kenya’s best safari destinations.
The park derives its name Aberdare National Park form the president of the Royal Geographic society called Lard Aberdare though the locals the live around the slopes of Aberdare rangers where is aberdare national park located, refer to the mountain as” Nyandarua” meaning “the drying hide” in Kikuyu language which describes how the mountain’s outlooks from a far distance.
Aberdare National Park is enclosed in an electric fence to protect the neighbors of the park from wildlife attack and also to protect the wildlife from poachers. This National Park is one of the scenic forest parks gifted with a variety of wildlife species, different bird species and among other tourist attractions. The park’s open moorland and steep ravines are home to the elephants, black rhinos, leopards, spotted hyenas, buffaloes, olive baboons, white and black colobus monkeys, warthogs, bush babies and so many aberdare national park animals. The rarely sighted species include bongo, golden cats, serval cat, giant forest hog, blue duiker, African civet cat, African wild cats. The bird species include Jackson’s francolin, sparrow hawks, goshawks, eagles, sunbirds and plovers. Every sector of the park has its unique tourist attractions to offer that’s to say the western sector which has a forest, Aberdare slopes making the favorite spot for hikers and climbers well as the northern sector of the park has variety of lodges which offer a vintage point of view to spot wildlife species in the park. The park is governed and managed by Kenya Wildlife Services.
History of Aberdare national park
Aberdare National Park was found in 1950 and the main reason for its establishment was to protect and conserve the Aberdare mountains and the wildlife around it. The National park got history of the death of the king of England, in the famous Treetops hotel is where Queen Elizabeth II of England was given the unfortunate news of the death of his father the King. This hotel gives a very breath-taking view of the wildlife in the park as they come to the salt lick to take water at this point animals like elands, elephants, buffaloes which you view from your comfortable zone in the hotel platform.
ATTRACTIONS IN ABERDARE NATIONAL PARK
Aberdare Mountain Ranges
The Aberdare mountains are the most famous tourist attraction in the park that attract most of the visitor who come to the park. The solitary volcanic range that make the Eastern boarder of the East African Rift Valley are 169 km long ranking it as one of the top destinations for hikers in Kenya. The mountains include mountain peaks like santima which is the highest at a height of 4000 m, mount Kinangop (3906 m) second highest and lies on the southern end, followed by Chebuswa range (3364 m), mount Table (3791 m), Martini hill (3698 m), Elephant (3590 m) which is the shortest and easiest for unexperienced hikers. The ranges boast for its wildlife species, primates and bird species though the mountain ranges are also significant the local Kikuyu people.
Aberdare national park is home to variety of species over 2000 elephants call the park home as they roam around its wonderful land scape, primates like baboons, white and black colobus monkeys, this park has the second largest huge population of black Rhinos in the country, buffaloes, antelopes, lions, uncommon species like bong, African wildcat, hyenas, blue duiker, African civet cat, African golden cats, bush pigs, jackals, waterbucks animals in Aberdare national park. These wildlife species boast the park and ranks among the best tourist destinations in Kenya.
Aberdare national park birds
Aberdare National Park is an amazing birder’s [paradise a very great destinations for bird lover because the park nests over 259 different recorded bird species including the endangered Aberdare cisticola, the distinctive Hartlaub’s turaco, Jackson’s spurfowl, African goshawk, African fish eagle, sunbirds, plovers, Bronzy sun bird, the rare Scarlet-tufted Malachite sun bird, African yellow warbler, African green pigeon, African Paradise flycatcher, Ayres’s hawk-eagle, Bar-tailed trogon, Cinnamon-chested bee-eater to mention but a few.
Aberdare national park waterfalls boasts for it many waterfalls with very beautiful scenic views like the greatest of all the Karuru fall is the tallest and largest in Kenya which pours its waters in three magnificent stages the first one being at 117 m, followed by 226 m and the last one pouring at 130 m all together making the falls pour to be 273 m below the viewing point, Other waterfalls to visit include Chania waterfalls, Thomas/Nyahururu waterfalls, Kereita cave with water falls, Queens caves, Magura Waterfalls and many others, these falls are also surrounded by flora.
The Kikuyu people are found around the Aberdare National Park and the natives of the area, they display a unique and authentic culture, you will be in position to unveil this culture on your visit. The Kikuyu natives named the Aberdare mountains Nyandarua meaning drying hide in their local language because of the different seen here, the Kikuyu also believe that these mountains are the residence of their god called Ngai you will be in position to acquire this information from the locals on you culture encounter through story tell and more information will be told.
This fence as been added to the attraction, it covers the whole park, this 400km electric fence completed on 28th August, 2009.this fence prevents human/wildlife conflicts and protects the whole Aberdare ecosystem.
ABERDARE NATIONAL PARKACTIVITIES
Things to do in Aberdare national park
Aberdare national park game drive
The park offers game viewing in the game drive both morning and evening game drives, these drives give you high chances to spot the wild life in the Park, most animals like hunt and graze during this time of the day, when the sun come out animals tend to hide away from its light hence making it hard for them to be tracked during the day. On these drives you will be guaranteed to spot Aberdare’s wildlife like the African big 5 species, variety of wildcats, unique and uncommon species among others.
Aberdare is considered as a birder’s haven by bird lover because it is home to over 250 recorded bird species, there is a number of bird species to spot in the park, this activity can be added to either game drive, hiking or nature walks. Birding in the park is favorable all year round though the migrating bird species can be spotted in months of November to April.
A visit at Aberdare is considered empty with out hiking, the park is home to the famous Aberdare mountain ranges making it the best destinations for hikers with ideal rugged and hilly landscapes ideal for trekking. You can hike the mountains or opt for a hike to the waterfalls in the park.
Travelers can engage in picnics and camping in the moorlands, campers are required to carry their camping equipment’s like tents, the park only provides a safe camping site, clean water and bathrooms.
The moorlands which consist of icy crystal-clear streams in the wild valleys and slope is where Trout fishing is carried out in rivers like Guru, Karuru and Chania being the frequent river it can be accessed from Matubio gate.
This activity offers gives you an adventure at the foothills of the Aberdare ranges, encounter with flora and some wildlife on a horseback in the park, this activity is very rewarding and worth a try.
Visiting the Kikuyu
Get a glimpse into the rich culture and tradition of the Kikuyu people on a visit to their Village located just at the base of the Outspan Hotel. You will enjoy storytelling, local music, dance and drama, you will experience hoe they prepare their local meals and have a taste if at all interested, visiting these local is breath taking and a very enjoyable adventure. The walk will be guided by those that know them best. Experience the Agikuyu custom in the hamlet which was created exclusively for visitors to learn about the indigenous nation’s culture.
Accommodation in Aberdare national park
Accommodations shouldn’t be among your worries because the park has a number of hotels, lodges and camping sites ranging from luxury, mid-range and budget some of which include
Treetops Hotel Aberdare
Rhino Watch Safari Lodge
The ark lodge Aberdare national park Kenya
This hotel was built in an Ark like shape, it is near the floodlit water hole and salt lick which is the drinking point for a number of wildlife species. On the Ark’s balconies and lodges, you will be in position to spot wildlife enjoying at the water hole.
Chaka Ranch Tented Camp
Chaka ranch tented camp give tourists a luxury lodging experience, it is located in Kiganjo, Nyeri Country, it is nested in natural setting and magnificent gardens between Aberdare National Park and Mount Kenya with 12 luxury tents in an exclusive and personal setting.
Tafaria Castle and Cunty Lodge
Tafaria Castle and Cunty Lodge gives you a clear view of mountain Kenya, the Aberdare ranges and Laikipia plains because it sits on a high altitude. Local and foreign food is all served at the lodge.
OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS INCLUDE
Treetops Hotel Aberdare (where Queen Elizabeth got the information of the death of his father), Rhino Watch Safari Lodge, west wood hotel, Aberdare country club, fishing lodge guest house and so many others.
Best time to visit Aberdare National park
The park is open all year round and welcomes visitors at any time, however the park is in a mountainous area and also has thick vegetation cover hence likely to ran any time this hinders game viewing, hiking and nature walks. The rain season is between the months of March -May and October to November this period favors birders because is a perfect time for bird sighting but the roads in the park become muddy and difficult to drive in to the National Park. The dry seasons are between the months of January to February and June to September this season is perfect for all the activities in the park hence the best time to visit the park is between the dry seasons.
Location of aberdare national park and how to get to Aberdare national park
By road you will pass through Nairobi via Nyeri and Naro Moru which is 99m (160 km) and tarmacked, this road with lead you to the eastern part of the park.
By flight; from Wilson Airport to Nanyuki airstrip, Nyeri airstrip, Mweiga airstrip in the Aberdare National Park