Aberdare National Park Destination Guide

Elephants outside of The Ark in Aberdare National Park.
The Aberdare National Park in the central highlands of Kenya retains an air of mystery - you can only imagine what undiscovered creatures still lurk here, such as rare Black Leopards. The Aberdares are an isolated volcanic range that forms the eastern wall of the rift valley, running about 100 Km north south between Nairobi and Thompsons Falls. This beautifully scenic region is much cooler than the savannahs and offers a completely different perspective on the country. The national park lies mainly above the tree line. The scenery is spectacular with its mountainous terrain covered in thick tropical forests swathed in mist.

Safari Tours passing through Aberdare National Park

Luxury Kenya Fly-in Safari | Mount Kenya, Samburu, Masai Mara - 11 days

Getting There

Aberdare National Park is located about 150km (93 miles) east of Nairobi, and is easily accessible from Nyeri and Naro Moru. The Park is 87 km (54 miles) from Naivasha. Most tourists travel by road with a tour operator.

Airport - There are two airstrips located near the Aberdare Headquarters at Nyeri and Mweiga.

Highlights and Attractions

  • The beautiful mountain scenery is one of the highlights of a visit to this National Park
  • The park has several picturesque waterfalls
  • Rare animals - Black Serval, Black Leopard (seldom seen) and the Eastern Bongo (a huge forest Antelope)
  • Watching animals come to the waterhole at the famous Treetops Lodge
  • Trout fishing
  • Hiking

What to do in the Aberdare National Park - Game drives and mountain hikes, photographic and birding safaris.

The Experience

The experience in Aberdare National Park is unlike anywhere else in Kenya. The Park is most famous as the place where Princess Elizabeth found out that she was Queen upon the death of her father at Treetops Lodge. Since then this lodge has been popular with tourists on safari to Kenya.

Half the thrill of game viewing in this park is an Elephant or Buffalo suddenly appearing out of the thick rainforest vegetation. One of the best places to see the local denizens is at one of the waterholes by the lodge. The Park has several high mountain peaks, deep ravines with icy mountain streams and many beautiful waterfalls with a moorland plateau. You can explore the park while on game drives and trek up the high peaks and take in the spectacular scenery.

The thick rainforest gives way to bamboo forest and interesting alpine vegetation the higher you travel up the mountain peaks within the park. The forest is home to populations of forest Elephants, Buffalo, Lion and several species of antelope such as Waterbuck, Duiker, the rare Suni and Bushbuck. If you are very lucky you might catch a glimpse of Kenya's rarest antelope, the Bongo. The Park is also home to a healthy population of Black Rhino.

Serval and Leopard also occur some of which have a rare black coat. There are many species of primates, including Black and White Colobus and Sykes and Vervet Monkey's.

Aberdare Accommodation

The Ark Tree Lodge - The Ark Tree Lodge overlooks one of the largest salt-licks and waterholes in the Aberdare Mountains where you can see a variety of forest game unlike anywhere else in Africa. The lodge is built in the shape of an Ark and offers accommodation in en-suite rooms. The waterhole is floodlit so you can view wildlife at night.

Aberdare Country Club is nestled on a slope of Mweiga Hill in the Aberdare Highlands, part of the Great Rift Valley. Considered a heritage property in Kenya, The Aberdare Country Club has retained the charm of a private home with the simple comforts of a country inn. Activities include horseback riding safaris, golf, nature walks, game drives and more.

Climate

The Aberdare National Park covers the bulk of the heights of the Aberdare Mountain Ranges in Central Kenya. The best times to visit the Park are in January and February, as well as June and September. Due to its high altitude the region is much cooler than the savannahs and coastal plains.

The region is misty and it rains year round, however, there are two main rainy seasons, from March through May and October through December. Due to the high amounts of rainfall during these periods, the roads may become impassable.
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