Tourist Attractions in Aberdares national park : Aberdares national park is a natural beauty and among the most gifted Kenya safari destinations scenery wish, this scenic park is located in the central region of Kenya and is among the renown destinations for hiking experiences in Kenya.
Aberdares national park is situated in the East of the East African Rift Valley covering an area of 766 square kilometers stretching around the Aberdare mountain ranges.
Aberdare national park encompasses a variety of attractions making your visit worth it, these include
Aberdare national park is a great wildlife destination in Kenya with abundance of wildlife species including the Big Five (elephants, buffaloes, leopards, lions and rhinos) and the second largest population of endangered black rhinos in Kenya.
Other animals found in Aberdares national park include rhinos in Kenya, other animals found in the Aberdare national park include hyenas, bushbucks, defassa waterbucks, reedbucks, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, Sykes monkeys and many more. In the higher moorlands of the Aberdare ranges there are common elands and serval, the salient area of the Aberdare national park is an elephant migration corridor with dense forests inhabiting bush pig, dik-dik, bushbuck, reedbuck and many more. nocturnal animals in Aberdares national park include giant forest hog and large spotted genet.
Aberdare national park is a birder’s paradise and one of the Important Birding Areas in Kenya, the park is a home to about 250 bird species recorded including endemic species to the region that are the striking Hartlaub’s turaco, the indistinct Aberdare cisticola which are found at the higher altitudes of the park.
Other bird species found in Aberdares national park include scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird, 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 and many more.
The Aberdare ranges are the signature feature in Aberdare national park, one of the best hiking sites in Kenya and from which the park gets its name, the Aberdare ranges are 160 kilometers of an isolated volcanic range forming the eastern most of the Great Rift Valley.
The Aberdare ranges lie at the maximum elevation of about 4,000 meters above the sea level and its slopes are heavy forested, Aberdares ranges include
- Amount Santima – the highest peak
- Mount Kinangop – these second highest peak at 3,906 meters and situated on the southern end of the range
- Chebuswa at 3364 meters
- Table Mountain at 3791 meters
- Martini Hill at 3698 meters and
- Elephant at 3590 meters
On the west side of the Aberdare ranges, fall steeply into the Kinangop platea and on the East side they fall more gently from the peak. From the top of the ranges, you are able to see Lake Naivasha and Mau Escarpment.
The Aberdare ranges are heavily forested and dominated by various vegetation covers such as rainforests, dense bamboo forests and moorlands. The vegetation cover inhabits several animal species such as antelopes, monkeys and various bird species.
The Aberdare ranges are culturally significant to the local Kikuyu people, these people refer to the ranges as Nyandarua which means the drying hide due to the distinctive fold of its silhouette
The Aberdare ranges are significant to the local Kikuyu people who refer to the ranges as Nyandarua meaning drying hide due to the distinctive fold of its silhouette thus Tourist Attractions in Aberdares national park.
Aberdare ranges were given their name by the Aberdare by Joseph Thomson in honor of Lord Aberdare in 1884. Lord Aberdare was the president of the Royal Geographic Society and the Royal Historical Society.
Aberdare national park’s landscape is dominated by unusual vegetation cover comprising of several vegetation types such as the steep forested ravines and open moorlands. Aberdare national park comprises of 778 species of vegetation and plant species, the vegetation cover and its types are attributed to the park’s altitude and rainfall. Some of the tree species found in Aberdares national park include hardwood species such as camphor, cedar, podo and hagenia.
The park is also dominated by Afro-alpine moorlands dominating the Aberdares mountain range, this vegetation type is divided into a rich alpine and sub-alpine flora with species such as Senecio, Lobelia, Erica, Helichrysum and tussock grasses giving away to around 3,000 meters to the bamboo Arundinaria alpine and the montane rainforests
Montane rainforests in Aberdares national park consists of species such as Juniperus procerus – podocarpus falcatus – Nuxia congesta forest on the western and the northwestern slopes are dominated by Ocotea forest on the south – East and moxed podocarpus litifolius forest on the east and on Kipiriri. In the rolling moorland there occurs pockets of the Hagenia forest in the sheltered patches thus Tourist Attractions in Aberdares national park.
Aberdare national park comprises of magnificent waterfalls plunging from cloud-shrouded heights and spray in to the beautiful ravines, among the numerous waterfalls there is the beautiful Karuru waterfalls which is the main waterfall in the park. Karuru waterfalls features 3 steps flowing at different levels, these include
- 1st step at 117 meters
- 2nd step at 26 meters and
- 3rd step at 130 meters
Other impressive waterfalls in Aberdares national park include
- Gura falls on the opposite side of Karuru falls
- Magura falls cascading across the mouth of Queen’s cave
Waterfalls in Aberdares national park are reached on a walk of about 8 kilometers via the Mutubio West Gate, the hike is about 20 minutes through the forests.
CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL SITES
Aberdare national park is filled with several great cultural and historical sites making the park a perfect destination to visit for cultural and historical safaris, cultural and historical sites to enjoy in Aberdares national park include
- The hideout of Mau leader Dedan Kimathi
The hideout of Mau leader Dedan Kimathi is a significant historical site in the history and independence struggles of Kenya, the site was used as a hideout Dedan Kimathi a leader of Mau-Mau rebellion during the Kenya independence struggles.
The hideout of Mau leader Dedan Kimathi is situated between Homi campsite and Elephant Ridge and Aberdare ranges. During their stay, Dedan Kimathi and his companions learned to use ropes of jungle welfare fighting in Burma in the Second World War.
- Mugumo (fig) tree
Mugumo (fig) tree in Aberdares national park is a huge tree of cultural significance, this tree is situated down on the slopes of the Aberdare ranges and does a very old tree possess a rich history usually narrated by the locals living in the communities situated adjacent to the park thus Tourist Attractions in Aberdares national park.
During the Mau-Mau rebellion, the tree was used for communication purposes, the Kenyan Mau-Mau fighters who freed used to curve crevices in truck of the tree and they used it as an undisclosed post office where they put messages through agents.
In memory of Dedan Kimathi, this tree was named Kimathi Post Office after him. Aberdares national park is known for its old caves which were used as hideouts for the Mau-Mau fighters during the Guerilla revolution against the British colonists.
- The Kikuyu local community
The Kikuyu local people were the early inhabitants of area presently known as the Aberdares national park, when the area was gazetted as a national park, they were evicted to the areas across the boundaries of the park. The kikuyu believe that the Aberdare ranges are one of the homes of their god Ngai, this area was initially named and called Nyandarua “meaning drying hide” by the locals. And this is due to the numerous distinctive folds in the area.