Aberdare National Park Safari : Aberdare National Park is a protected area in the Aberdare Mountain Range in the central Kenya located east of the East African Rift Valley. It covers the higher areas and the Aberdare Salient to the east. Aberdare National Park is located about 100 km North of Nairobi and stretches over awide variety of the terrain at altitudes from 2000 meters (6,600 ft.) to 4000 meters (13,000 ft.). Aberdare national park was established in 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 the landscapes from mountain peaks that rise to 4000 meters (13,000 ft.) above the sea level, to their deep-shaped valleys intersected by the streams, rivers, and the waterfalls. Moorland, bamboo forests and rainforests are found at lower altitude.
Aberdare National Park Safari.
Aberdare national park has got a variety of the wildlife species, in that the park has got the Big 5 animal species that includes the (lion, buffaloes, rhino, leopard and the elephants). Aberdare national park harbors Kenya’s second-largest population of the endangered black rhinos not only that the park is well known for other animal species that includes the East African wild dog, giant forest hog, bushbuck, mountain reedbuck, suni, side-striped jackal, eland, duiker, African Wild cat, African civet cat, blue duiker, olive baboon, black and white colobus monkey and the sykes monkey. Rarer sightings include those of the African golden cat and the bongo.
Specials such as the common eland, serval live in the higher moorlands these can be sighted by the tourists during the wildlife safari in Aberdare National Park. The Salient area of the park is an elephant migration corridor of the dense forests and abundant wildlife, such as bush pigs, dik-dik, bushbuck, reedbuck and many others.
Nocturnal animals, including giant forest hog and large spotted genet, also often visit the waterholes at night, the forest is a home to the very elusive and beautiful bongo antelope. Unfortunately, numbers have decreased over the last decades and sightings are extremely rare.
Aberdare National Park has got over 250 bird species. The bird lovers who visit the park do enjoy observing various bird species including the endangered Aberdare Cisticola, Jackson’s spurfowl, African goshawk, African fish eagle, Montagu’s harrier, Montane white-eye, Moorland chat, Mountain Buzzard, Olive ibis, Silvery-cheeked hornbill, Tacazze sunbird, sunbirds, plovers and many more. Sunbirds are the most predominant species, and perhaps a splash of bright yellow and black amongst the leaves will draw your attention to a golden-winged sunbird.
Vegetation in Aberdare National Park.
Aberdare National Park contains the unusual vegetation types. The steep forested ravines and the open moorland characterize the Aberdare vegetation. There are 778 vegetation and the plant species, subspecies and varieties found in the park, due to the park’s altitude and rainfall. Hardwood trees include camphor, cedar, podo, hagenia and many more. Two interesting ecosystems to be explored by the travelers while on the Aberdare national park safari include a dense rainforest and high, Afro-alpine moorlands that also harbors a variety of birds and animal species.
The Afro-alpine vegetation on the mountain range is divided into a rich alpine and sub-alpine flora, including species of Senecio, Lobelia, Erica, tussock grasses that gives way at around 3,000 meters to bamboo Arundinaria alpine and then montane rainforest (mainly Juniperus procerus-Podocarpus falcatus-Nuxia congesta forest on the western and northwestern slopes, Ocotea forest on the south-east, and mixed Podocarpus latifolius forest on the east and on Kipipiri. Pockets of the Hagenia forest occur in the sheltered patches on the rolling moorland.
Hiking is an exciting activity and the most adventurous activity in Aberdare national park, as there are various mountain peaks in the park which offer hiking safari like the elephant hill hike which stands at 3720 meters above the sea level and is a 26 km hike as you keep observing the Sasamua dam, Ndakaini dam. As well during the hiking safari in Aberdare national park you can hike the Ol Doinyo Mountain which stands at an elevation of 4000 meters above the sea level. Mount Satima which is also known as the mountain of the young bull. The hiking of the Satima peak gives you magnificent views of the rift valley, Mount Kenya, a variety of the wildlife, hiking the Satima peak takes you around 5 hours and needs you to have warm clothes because the higher you go the cooler it becomes.
Aberdare national park is also gifted with the magnificent waterfalls that plunge from cloud shrouded heights to spray filled ravines. The main one is Karuru waterfalls which fall in three steps the first 117M, the second 26M and the third 130M, which makes a total of 273M. Other waterfalls in the park includes the Gura falls which torent from the opposite side of Karuru falls, the enchanting Magura falls which cascade across the yawning mouth of the Queen’s cave, Thomson’s or Nyahururu waterfalls, Kereita cave and waterfall, Chain waterfall, Magura waterfall and Queen’s cave.
These falls give the tourists on their Kenya vacation in Aberdare national park a breathtaking view as they hike through the forest. There is a waterfall lookout which can be reached through the Mutubio West Gate, which is roughly 8km from the lookout, it’s actually a fairly easy 20-minute hike through the forest to view the falls.
Besides all the wildlife in aberdare national park, the park is a great cultural and historical significance that visitors on the Kenya cultural safari would wish to explore that is between Honi campsite and elephant ridge is the site of the hideout of Mau leader Dedan Kimathi, who used these mountains as a base; many of his companions learned the ropes of jungle warfare fighting in Burma in WWII.
Down the Aberdare ranges verdant slopes is a huge Mugumo tree which is simply looking at it you can see that is very old, the Kenyan Mau Mau freedom fighters actually curve crevices in the trunk of this tree and these they are used as an undisclosed post office in which they put messages through agents.
The local community nearest to the park are the Kikuyu people who believe that these ranges are among the homes of their (Ngai) these natives initially named this area Nayanarua (to mean drying hide) because if the numerous distinctive folds here.