Aberdare National Park
Aberdare National Park is a remarkable Kenya safari destination famous for Kenya mountain climbing safaris and spectacular scenery, Aberdare is located in the central region of Kenya, East if the East African Rift Valley. The park covers an area of 766 square kilometers forming part of the Aberdare Mountain range, Aberdare mountain range is one of the highlight tourist attractions in Aberdare national park creating the beautiful scenery in the park.
The park was established in May 1950 in the intentions of protecting the Aberdare Mountains and the wildlife living in the park, the area where the park is found is believed to be one of the homes of the Kikuyu gods “Ngai” and the area was originally known as Nyandarua translating as the drying hide because of its distinctive folds of its silhoutte. Aberdare national park and the Aberdare ranges get their name from Lord Aberdare, the President of the Royal Geographical society by Joseph Thompson an explorer in 1884.
The park is a mesmerizing destination for Kenya wildlife safari as it is a home to a variety of wildlife safaris including the big Five “elephants, leopards, lions, buffaloes and rhinos”, the park is also a home to the second largest population of the endangered black rhinos in Kenya. Other animals found in Aberdare national park include hyenas, bushbucks, defassa waterbucks, reedbucks, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, skyes monkeys, bush pig, dik-dik among others. There are also nocturnal animals in Aberdare national park such as serval cat, African wild cat, African civet cat and the blue duiker.
The park is a birder’s paradise hosting over 250 bird species spotted on Kenya birding safaris inhabiting forests and moorlands of the park, birds in the park include Aberdare cisticola, Abyssinian crimsonwing, African goshawk, African green pigeon, African paradise flycatcher, African yellow warbler, Augur buzzard, Ayres’s hawk eagle, Bar-tailed trogon, Bronzy sunbird, Cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Crowned eagle, Doherty’s bush-shrike, Golden-winged sunbird, Hartlaub’s turaco, Hunter’s cisticola, Jackson’s francolin, Montagu’s harrier, Montane white-eye, Moorland chat, Moorland francolin, Mountain buzzard, Moustached green tinkerbird, Narina trogon, Olive ibis, Rufous-chested sparrowhawk, Scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird, Sharpe’s longclaw, Silvery-cheeked hornbill, Tacazze sunbird, Tambourine dove, White-headed wood-hoopoe among others.
Aberdare national park has a scenic landscape comprising of numerous waterfalls such as Karuru waterfalls, Gura falls and Magura falls and many other tourist attractions.
Kenya safari activities to do in Aberdare national park
The park is one of the popular destinations for Kenya mountain climbing safaris, trekking Aberdare ranges is one of the easy treks leading you to the highest ranges of the Aberdares of 160 kilometers long featuring isolated volcanic ranges. The Aberdare ranges locally referred to as Nyandarua is comprised of 6 highest peaks including
- Mount Satima – the highest peak
- Mount Kinangop – the second highest peak at 3,906 meters
- Chebuswa at 3364 meters
- Table Mountain at 3791 meters
- Martini Hill at 3698 meters and
- Elephant at 3590 meters
Trekking Aberdare ranges offers sights of the impressive scenery of the surrounding mountains such as Mount Kenya, Mount Kilimanjaro, Daiga hills and lakes such as Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru. Trekking Aberdare ranges heading to Satima Peak the highest peak takes about 2-3 hours and is best done in the morning hours.
Aberdare is one of the most thrilling destination Kenya wildlife safaris, game viewing is done on game drives offering an opportunity to explore the scenic landscape of Aberdare national park and watch many animals and birds. Game drives in Aberdare include morning game drives, late afternoon game drive or sundowner game drives, on the game drives you will be excited to watch many animals such as black rhinos, leopard, elephants, buffalo, lions, spotted hyenas, bongo antelopes, giant forest hog and many primates such as skyes, Columbus, black faced vervet monkeys among others.
Game drives in Aberdare usually lasts 2-3 hours and is done in 4X4 safari vehicles with experienced safari guides, Kenya wildlife safaris in Aberdare national park are goof throughout the year but they are best done in the period of June – September which are the driest months.
Aberdare national park is a very rewarding destination for Kenya birding safari inhabiting about 250 bird species including forest bird species, endangered species, resident species and resident species. Kenya birding safaris in Aberdare offers a chance to watch many bird species such as Aberdare cisticola, Abyssinian crimsonwing, African goshawk, African green pigeon, African paradise flycatcher, African yellow warbler, Augur buzzard, Ayres’s hawk eagle, Bar-tailed trogon, Bronzy sunbird, Cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Crowned eagle, Doherty’s bush-shrike, Golden-winged sunbird, Hartlaub’s turaco, Hunter’s cisticola, Jackson’s francolin, Montagu’s harrier, Montane white-eye, Moorland chat, Moorland francolin, Mountain buzzard among others. ]
Birding in Aberdare is good throughout the year but it is best from November to April when migrant species are present from Europe and countries of North Africa, this period also coincides with the wet season. In the wet season, the breeding plumage are seen nesting.
Trout fishing is a very exciting Kenya safari activity to do in Aberdare national park, trout fishing is done in the moorlands’ small rivers and River Chania which is the major trout fishing spot in Aberdare national park. Excellent angling in Aberdare national park is offered and brown and rainbow trout is excellent in the cool mountain streams. To participate in Trout fishing in Aberdare national park you are required to get a sport fishing license which is obtained at the park gates.
Where to stay in Aberdare national park
In Aberdare national park there are a number of beautiful and comfortable accommodation establishments ready to offer you an amazing retreat of stay while on your Kenya safari in this scenic park. Accommodations in Aberdare national park are categorized as luxury, midrange and budget.
- Luxury – Treetops Lodge and The Ark
- Midrange – Aberdare cottages and Fishing Lodge
- Budget – Tusk Camp Banda, Sapper Hut and Campsites
How to get to Aberdare national park
Aberdare park situated in the central region of Kenya is a very accessible Kenya wildlife safari destination from most parts of Kenya including Nairobi a popular tourist city, getting to the park is done using road and air means of transport.
By road – The national park is accessed on a tarmac road of 150 kilometers from Nyeri and Naro Moru on the Eastern side, this route crosses through this beautiful park on the lower slopes up to the Moorlands connecting to another route from Naivasha on the western side.
By air – Aberdare is accessed using domestic chartered flights from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport to Mweiga Airstrip situated on the opposite side from the park’s headquarters.