Picturesque, steep forested ravines and open moorland characterise the Aberdare National Park. The park provides a habitat for elephants, black rhinos, leopards, spotted hyenas, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, buffalos, warthogs and bushbucks among others. Rare sightings include those of the Giant Forest hog, bongo, golden cat, serval cat, African wild cat, African civet cat and the blue duiker. Visitors can indulge in picnics, trout fishing in the rivers and camping in the moorlands. Bird viewing is rewarding, with over 250 species of birds in the park, including the Jackson’s Francolin, Sparrow hawks, goshawks, eagles, sunbirds and plovers.
The Aberdares are the third highest range of mountains in Kenya, reaching a summit of just over 4000m. This massive range is well known for its thick salient forests, and their prolific game.
These high altitude forests are broken by moorlands and plains, and through the abundant tree cover there are sensational views of the Rift Valley and the peak of Mt Kenya.
The forest is a hidden world of wildlife. The thick vegetation provides perfect cover for countless species.
Very large herds of Elephant and Buffalo move almost silently through the undergrowth, while overhead noisome birds and colobus monkeys dominate the canopy.
At night the forest comes alive, the cries of hyrax and the distinctive rasping growl of leopard echoing among the trees. The Aberdares has two ‘Tree Hotels’, unique safari lodges set high in the canopy above waterholes and natural salt licks.
Night sees an unending procession of game emerge from the forests to visit these clearings.
This is an ideal opportunity for guests to unobtrusively observe game at length. A night in the Aberdares is unforgettable. Elephant herds surround the waterholes, drink and then fade way into the forest.
Buffalo bulls fight over territory in spectacular battles. Sleek Genet cats descend from the trees and slip through halls of the lodge. Occasionally a Rhino or the elusive Bongo antelope appear and visit the waterhole.
The Aberdares can also be explored by vehicle, or on foot. There are trekking trails throughout the forests, and across the moorlands. A few days spent here is one of Kenya’s best forest treks.
The foothills of the Aberdares are ideal for exploring on horseback and there are crystal clear mountain streams that abound with Trout. The Aberdares are a great place for waterfalls.
There are a series of spectacular falls along the range, and at Nyahururu, Thompson’s Falls have became a popular rest stop for travelers.
Getting Around – Main road access to the Aberdares is via Mweiga or Nyeri, both easily accessed from Nairobi by bus/matatu or private transport.
You’ll need your own transport, or to be part of a safari, to get to the forest. Many trekking companies can organize transfers from Nairobi to Mt Kenya. The forest lodges also have daily transfers.
There are good roads within the park, though 4WD vehicle is needed during the rainy season. The lodges and hotels here organize game drives. There are hiking trails through the Aberdares.
A ranger guide is compulsory.