Aberdare National Park
Aberdare National Park is a magnificent national park located in the central highlands of Kenya. Covering an area of approximately 766 square kilometres (296 square miles), it is part of the larger Aberdare Mountain Range, which is a volcanic range that stretches for about 160 kilometres (100 miles) in central Kenya.
Aberdare National Park offers a serene and tranquil environment, away from the more popular safari destinations. It provides a unique opportunity to explore Kenya’s mountainous landscapes, spot rare wildlife species, and enjoy the park’s breathtaking waterfalls.
Key Features and Attractions of Aberdare National Park:
Stunning Mountainous Terrain
Aberdare National Park is characterized by its rugged and mountainous landscapes. The park is home to several peaks, including Mount Satima, which is the highest peak in the Aberdare Range, reaching an elevation of about 4,001 meters (13,120 feet) above sea level. The mountain range is covered with dense montane forests, deep valleys, and spectacular waterfalls.
Biodiversity of Aberdare National Park
The park boasts diverse ecosystems due to its varying altitudes. The lower slopes are covered with bamboo and lush rainforests, while the upper slopes consist of moorland and alpine meadows. Aberdare National Park is home to a rich variety of wildlife, including elephants, buffalos, leopards, hyenas, bushbucks, giant forest hogs, and several primate species such as black and white colobus monkeys and Sykes’ monkeys.
Rare and Endangered Species
Aberdare National Park is renowned for its conservation efforts, particularly for protecting rare and endangered species. The park is home to the critically endangered mountain bongo, which is a large forest antelope. It is one of the only places in Kenya where you can spot this elusive and rare species. Other notable species include the Aberdare cisticola, Aberdare mole-shrew, and Aberdare rock frog.
The park features numerous picturesque waterfalls cascading down the mountainsides. The most famous waterfall is Karuru Falls, a stunning spectacle with a sheer drop of about 272 meters (892 feet). Other notable waterfalls in the park include Chania Falls, Gura Falls, and Magura Falls.
Hiking and Nature Trails
Aberdare National Park offers various hiking and nature trails that allow visitors to explore the park’s diverse landscapes and enjoy its natural beauty up close. Some popular trails include the Chania Falls Nature Trail, Karuru Falls Trail, and the hike to the summits of Mount Satima and Mount Kinangop.
Treetop and Game Lodge Accommodation
Within the park, there are unique accommodation options, such as the iconic Treetops Lodge and The Ark Lodge. These lodges are built on stilts and offer a one-of-a-kind experience, providing opportunities to observe wildlife from elevated platforms.