ABERDARE NATIONAL PARK KENYA
The Aberdare National Park covers the higher areas of the Aberdare Range of central Kenya, and the Aberdare Salient to their east.
This park is located 180 km from Nairobi and stretches over a wide variety of terrains because it covers altitudes from about 7,000 feet to 14,000 feet above sea level. Established in May 1950, the Aberdare National Park covers an area of 767 square kilometers and forms part of the Aberdare Mountain Range. The park contains a wide range of landscapes – from the mountain peaks that rise to 14,000 feet above sea level, to their deep, v-shaped valleys intersected by streams, rivers, and waterfalls. Moorland, bamboo forests and rainforests are found at lower altitudes.
Animals easily observed include the lion, leopard, baboon, black and white Colobus monkey, and sykes monkey. Rarer sightings include those of the golden cat and the bongo – an elusive forest antelope that lives in the bamboo forest. Animals like the eland and spotted and melanistic serval cats can be found higher up in the moorlands. The Aberdare National Park also contains a large population of the black rhino.
Visitors can also indulge in walking, picnics, trout fishing in the rivers and camping in the moorlands. Even the bird viewing is rewarding, with over 250 species of birds in the park, including the Jackson’s Francolin, sparry hawk, goshawks, eagles, sunbirds and plovers. It is a traditional belief of the Kikuyu that the Aberdare Mountain Range, where this park is located, is one of the homes of Ngai, or God.
Visitors to the park can find different types of accommodation according to their taste, ranging from the Treetops tree-house lodge, to the Ark – built in the shape of Noah’s Ark – and three self-help banda sites, eight special campsites and a public campsite in the moorland. There are also five picnic sites. Both Treetops and Ark provide excellent nighttime wildlife viewing. From here, visitors can observe various animals, such as elephant, buffalo, lion and rhino, which get attracted to the waterholes. The park also includes two airstrips – at Mweiga & Nyeri.