Aberdare National Park

Aberdare National Park is situated in the central part of Kenya, approximately 343 km from Nairobi. The national park is part of the Aberdare mountain range. The park was gazetted as a national park in 1950 mainly to offer refuge to wildlife and the Aberdare mountain range. 

Aberdare National Park

Aberdare national park in Kenya lies between an altitude of 2000metres and 4000metres above the sea level and covers a total land area of 766 square kilometers which is comprised of moorland, bamboo forests, deep V-shaped valleys intersected by rivers, waterfalls, streams, rainforests among others. 

The national park was named after Aberdare mountain range which is an isolated volcanic range that forms the eastern arm of the rift valley that extends up to 100km north-south Nairobi.

Attractions in Aberdare national park

Wildlife: Aberdare national park in Kenya is a home of large concentration of rhinos and other endangered wildlife species which make it an incredible national park in the country. some of the wild animals in the park include buffaloes, elephants, lions, bongo antelopes, bushbucks, bush pigs, warthogs, reedbucks, serval cats, elands, black rhinos, golden cats, stripped jackal, leopards, spotted genet, hyenas, giant forest hogs, black and white colobus monkeys, Sykes monkeys among others. 

Birds: The national park is a home of over 290 bird species including the endemic species which are only found in Kenya hence making the park one of the best birding destinations in Kenya. Bird species in the Aberdare national park include hartlaubs Turaco, rare scarlet tufted malachite, African thrush, crowned hornbill, bar tailed trogon, golden winged sunbird, African yellow warbler, African green pigeon, African goshawk, crowned eagle, moorland francolin, olive ibis, silvery cheeked hornbill, mountain buzzard, Jackson’s francolin among others.

Waterfalls: The national park is a home of magnificent waterfalls including Chania waterfalls, Karuru waterfall which falls in three steps with the first one at 117metres; second one at 26metres and the third one at 130metres which make a total of 273metres, Gura falls, Magura falls and many others.

Activities offered in Aberdare national park

Mountain climbing

Mountain climbing in the national park in Kenya is quite an exciting and adventurous activity that is offered to tourists visiting the national park. There are various mountain peaks in the park which offer hiking safaris for example elephant hill hike which stands at 3720 meters above the sea level and is a 26 km hike. During the elephant hill hike you will be able to view various animals, Sasamua dam and Ndakaini dam. You can also hike Ol Doinyo Satima 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 was named after an explorer joseph Thompson and it’s the highest peak in the Aberdare range. Hiking to Satima peak gives you magnificent views of the rift valley, Mount Kenya, wildlife species among others. Due to its elevation hiking Satima peak needs one to have warm clothes because it gets cold as you hike to the summit which takes about 5 hours round hike trip. There are other mountains like Kinangop which is located in the south and Kipipiri Mountain which is located in the west of the mountainous moorlands. 

Game drives in Aberdare national park

Game drives in the national park in Kenya are the best way for visitors to explore this amazing national park. Game drives in the national park can either be done on a half-day or full day following trails like the salient zone where you will have clear views of animal species such as black rhinos, elephants, buffaloes, spotted hyenas, leopards, black and white colobus monkeys, bushbucks, elands, bongo antelopes, giant forest hogs among others. During the game drive you will also be able to view waterfalls like Karuru which flows into three steps, Magura falls and Chania falls; all of which have spectacular views of scenery, vegetation, mountain streams, and hills among others. 

Trout fishing

Visitors interested in sport fishing activities can pay for trout fishing activities which are offered in Aberdare national park. The national park is one of the best destinations for trout fishing in Kenya.  There are three rivers which offer easy access to fishing including Chania, Gura and Ambone rivers. Trout fishing in the park is done by the help of an experienced guide who will show you how to fish and areas where to fish from. During trout fishing you are required to have fishing gears and a fishing license which can be obtained at the park headquarters.

Bird watching

If you are a bird lover, then Aberdare national park in Kenya is the place to be. The national park is among the listed birding destinations in the country; with over 290 bird species including endemic species that are only found in Kenya and near endemic species which are also found in the neighboring countries. During your bird watching safari in the park, you should look out for bird species like African paradise flycatcher, Aberdare cisticola, African green pigeon, Jackson’s francolin, hunters cisticola, golden winged sunbird, crowned eagle, mountain buzzard, white headed wood hoopoe, silvery cheeked hornbill, Sharpe long claw, rufous chested sparrow hawk, olive ibis, Narnia trogon, tambourine dove, emerald green malachite sunbird, double collared sunbird among others. Bird watching in the national park can either be done during the guided nature walk or the game drive.

Accommodation in Aberdare national park

There are a wide range of accommodation facilities in Aberdare national park. The lodges in the park range from luxury, midrange, budget and they include the Ark, Aberdare Country Club, Treetops Lodge, Aberdare Cottages and Fishing Lodge, Tusk Camp Banda, Campsites, Sapper hut among others.

Best time to visit Aberdare national park

Aberdare national park in Kenya can be visited anytime of the year, although the best time is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February. During this time there is less rainfall in the park therefore access roads to the national park will be passable, hiking trails in the park will be dry and passable compared to the rainy season when the trails are muddy and slippery. During the dry season, there will be short grass in the park which enables you to clearly view the wild animals.

Aberdare National Park
Aberdare National Park

How to get to Aberdare national park

Aberdare national park is located in the central region of Kenya, north of Nairobi city. Visitors can access the national park by both road and air.

Travelling to the Park by road:

When using road transport the national park is located 160 kilometers from Nairobi city which takes about 2 to 3 hours’ drive. Travellers will have to fly to Jomo Kenyatta international airport in Nairobi and then connect by road where by you will drive on a tarmac road and the park has various gates like Shamata or rhino gate which can be accessed when you are coming from Nyahururu and Mutubio gate which can be accessed when coming from Naivasha. 

Travelling to the Park by air:

When using air transport you will book scheduled or chartered flights from Wilson airport which is located in the southern part of Nairobi to Mweiga or Nanyuki airstrips and then connect to the park headquarters by road. There are several domestic airlines that operate flights to the park for example Air Kenya, Safarilink among others. Booking of domestic flights to Aberdare national park can be done through a tour operator.

Conclusion: If you wish to visit Aberdare national park in Kenya, do not hesitate to contact our team of travel experts at Explore Rwanda Tours for the best travel packages and amazing discount offers for your trip to this national park.

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