Aberdare National Park in Kenya. it is a national park with majestic peaks, moorlands, and beautiful falls. It covers the higher areas of the Aberdare Mountain Range of central Kenya. The National Park is diverse with deep ravines that cut through the forested eastern and western slopes.
Animals easily observed in the park include; the Black Rhino, leopard, baboon, black and white Colobus monkey, and sykes monkey. Rarer sightings include those of lions, 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 park is located about 100 km north of Nairobi and stretches over a wide variety of terrain at altitudes from 2,000 meters (6,600 ft) to 4,000 meters (13,000 ft). Established in May 1950, the Aberdare National Park covers an area of 766 square kilometers and forms part of the Aberdare Mountain Range. The park contains a wide range of landscapes – from mountain peaks that rise to 4,000 meters (13,000 ft) 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.
Aberdare National Park has plenty of attractions to offer visitors, from Large Herds of Elephants, a breathtaking view of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s Big Five, Observation Hill which allows an overall view of the whole park especially the swamps and elephants, Swamp below observation hill hosts many elephants, buffaloes, hippos and a variety of waterfowls like the pelican, Egyptian goose, and a Contemporary Maasai culture and indigenous lifestyle.
Wildlife at Aberdare National Park include; Leopard, Cheetah, Wild dogs, Buffalo, Rhino, Elephant, Giraffe, Zebra, Lion, Plains Game, Crocodile, Mongoose, Hyrax, Dik- Dik, Lesser Kudu, and Nocturnal Porcupine
The highlands and dense forests of Aberdare National Park captivate travelers in Africa year-round, but we want to provide you with some climatic considerations that may influence your individual travel plans. The most significant impact of the weather patterns in equatorial Kenya is the ease with which you can observe the wildlife. Specifically, during the dry season, the animals gather around the few remaining watering holes, and therefore, are easier to locate and view. Insect populations are also lower during the dry season, so you do not have to contend with the mosquitoes as much; though, repellent and prophylaxis protection is recommended regardless. For these reasons, Kubwa Five Safaris recommends planning your wilderness trip to Aberdare National Park during the long dry season.
The rainy seasons, though, do have some advantages that you may consider as an important part of your connoisseur safari in Kenya. First, the vegetation transforms into a deep rich green, and the vivid colors of wildflowers dot the landscape. Second, some mammals especially antelopes give birth during the long rainy season, and you can witness the incredible first hours of Kenya’s newest generation of wildlife. When the rains arrive, though, more water sources are available, so the wildlife tends to spread out more. You may not see the concentration of animals in a small area that you would during the dry seasons. Additionally, the roads and trails in the park may be much more demanding to navigate due to the black cotton soil, and the conditions may adversely affect your game drive excursions, hiking and walking safaris.
Global warming has introduced a level of uncertainty in the rainy and dry seasons, so the following information should be considered as general guidelines. Aberdare experiences a cycle of dry seasons and rainy seasons. The long dry season, which we consider to be the best time to visit the park, is from July to October. These are also the coolest months of the year, with average monthly maximum daytime temperatures ranging from 21 C (70 F) to 23 C (73 F). Monthly minimum nighttime temperatures are fairly consistent at 11 C (52 F), so you should bring extra layers of warm clothing for your evening and morning activities.
The short rains arrive in November and December, and these rains have little if any impact on your activities as the moisture tends to evaporate quickly. The short dry and humidly hot season is in January and March with some pockets of rain, followed by welcoming the long and heavy rainy season of April and May. In late March and early June, you may experience light rains. From November to March, average monthly daytime maximum temperatures are 23 C (73 F) to 25 C (77 F), and daytime temperatures can drop slightly to 21 C (70 F) from April to June. Minimum nighttime temperatures range from 9 C (48 F) to 11 C (52 F) during these months.
The main road into the park is from Nairobi via Namanga (240 km) on the Nairobi – Arusha Road, through Meshanani Gate. The other road is from Nairobi via Emali (228 km) on the Nairobi – Mombasa Road. Access from Mombasa is mainly through Tsavo West National Park via Kimana (Olkelunyiet) Gate.
The park has a single airstrip for light aircraft at Empusel gate. Other airstrips exist at Kilimanjaro Buffalo Lodge and Namanga town
When visiting Aberdare National Park, we recommend combining your safari to Masai Mara national park for the wildebeest migration, Amboseli national park, Samburu national park, or Laikipia – Lewa, Nakuru national park, and lake Naivasha national park. You can also day trek or climb the 2nd highest mountain in Africa – Mount Kenya.
1. Game Drives Through Abundant Wildlife and Some Rare Game
Naturally, wildlife viewing is the primary reason to plan a safari adventure. After all, it is an experience like no other to see different kinds of animals freely roaming in their own habitat. That’s why you’ll be pleased to know that Aberdare National Park is home to robust populations of wildlife. Here you can spot the Big Five, while sightings of elephant and buffalo are almost guaranteed. If you time your travel to coincide with the dry season, you’ll be able to see the bountiful abundance of wildlife congregating at the waterholes, and sometimes even the rare black leopard and black rhinos. You can also spot forest species, including several primates such as the black-and-white colobus monkey, sykes monkey, and the nocturnal greater galago.
2. Bird Watching
Bird Perched in a Branch in Aberdare National Park.
The forests and moorlands of Aberdare National Park are home to over 290 species of birds. Some less than common birds at the park include; Hartlaub’s turaco, rare scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird, and the Aberdare cisticola, which is endemic to the region. Many of these bird species can be found at higher altitudes, like mountain peaks so be sure to bring along some powerful binoculars for a satisfying bird watching experience.
3. Amazing Scenery
Along with the exciting prospect of enjoying close encounters with wildlife, taking in Aberdare’s mesmerizing scenery is an experience in itself. Picture endless miles of forests, woodlands, swamps and anthill-dotted plains, any of which can serve as a suitable panoramic backdrop for your camera. Walking or driving through the undulating savannah plains makes you feel like you are in a picture-perfect African landscape so you’ll definitely have loads of scenic natural wonders to capture.
1. Experience Sweetwaters Game Reserve
The Sweetwaters Reserve is located at the foothills of the amazing snow-capped Mount Kenya and the Aberdares Ranges. It features a superb variety of wildlife including the Big 5 (Lion, Buffalo, Leopard, Elephant, and the endangered Black Rhino) and the non-indigenous chimpanzees.
Aberdare National Park – Leopard
Sweetwaters Has All The Big Five.
The stunning views and combination of amazing animals across the open lands of Ol Pejeta guarantees you a memorable safari experience. One of the major attractions of the sweetwaters is the Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Another attraction is a famous tamed Rhino known as Morani.
In general, the reserve is a home to 5 endangered White Rhinos, 73 endangered Black Rhino, 0ver 40 Chimpanzees, Lions, Elephants, Buffalos, Leopards, Giraffe, Grevy Zebra, Ostrich, Cheetah, Thomson’s Gazelle, Grant’s Gazelle, Oryx, Black-Back Jackals, Waterbuck, Baboons, eland, and several dozen bird species.
2. Explore Kereita Waterfall and Cave
Kereita Forest is located to the south of the Aberdares Ranges and features many natural features and hiking trails. Carbacid trail, one of the major trails, leads to Keraita Waterfall on Gatamaiyu River and the neighboring cave that is a shelter to a small bat colony.
The trail passes by the Elephant Pool, a huge natural reservoir that Elephants love to drink and relax in. Also, you can enjoy the bamboo walk and view a few Skyes and Black and White Columbus Monkeys. To make your adventure exciting, I would recommend you consider visiting the site during the dry season.
3. View Lake Ol Bolossat
Lake Ol Bolossat is the only lake in Nyeri County and is highly recognized as a habitat for birds, with over 180 bird species. It’s also home to over 15 animal species including the Hippos. The lake is a dream destination for people who love birds.
Aberdare National Park – Birds
You Can View Birds at Lake Ol Bolossat.
In addition to the lake, you can also visit the Dedan Kimathi Shrine in Tetu, the Scout’s Information Center, and the Lord Baden Powell Garden in the same venue.
The Mau Mau Caves in Naru Moru forest, the historic Italia War Memorial Church, Game Sanctuary and Solio Ranch also make a good list of places to visit. Mountain lovers can also hike Mount Kenya from Nyeri County using 3 distinct routes: Chogoria, Sirimon, and Naru Moru.
4. Visit the Lord Baden Powell Grave
Lord Baden Powell was a writer, lieutenant-general of the British Army, founder of the Scout Movement, and Chief Scout. He was rested at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Nyeri and his grave is among Kenya’s National Shrines.
His tombstone bears a small circle with a dot in the middle “ʘ”, which is a sign for “I have gone home” or “going home”. When his partner Olave died, her body was burnt and the ashes sent to Nyeri where they were interred beside her partner.
Due to the tarmac road that leads to the Lord Baden Powell grave, I would recommend you to visit this site any time of the year.
5. Tour Solio Game Reserve or Solio Ranch
Solio Game Reserve is a privately owned ranch located in Nyeri County, Naru Moru. It is a fenced, protected area that aims to protect the endangered Rhinos (all is not lost as you will find here). It is a 17,500-acre reserve, lying 22km north of Nyeri Town, and plays a major role in the breeding of Black Rhinos.
Lord Baden Powell Grave – solio
Fighting Grevy Zebras in Solio Ranche.
Other animals living with the Black Rhinos include Zebras, Giraffe, Buffalos, and plains game such as Oryx, Waterbucks, Eland, Warthog, Impala, and Thompson’s Gazelle.