It is every camper’s dream to spend a night at the Aberdare National Park. Whereas you may wonder where the charm is in camping up the mountains, those who have experienced the magical bush feeling have lots of praise for the range. The cool and lush green environment is the best therapy for people seeking a serene place to rejuvenate themselves. Join us as we hike the Aberdares and experience wildlife at spectacular treetop safari lodges.
Mountain Ranges in Kenya
Mountain ranges in Kenya include the Matthews Range (Lenyikio Hills), Eastern Rift Mountains (Mt. Kenya and Mt. Elgon), Cherangany Hills, Chyulu Hills, Nandi Hills, Taita Hills, Ngong Hills, Aberdare Range and Ol Doinyo Orok.
The third highest mountain range in Kenya is the Aberdare Mountain Range. Standing at 4000 meters above sea level, the Aberdare is densely forested and has rich wildlife. It stretches up to 140 kilometers in the central highlands.
Aberdare’s highest summit is Mount Satima. Previously, the mountain range was called the Satima Range. The locals called them the ‘Nyandarua’. As a pristine tour destination, the range is located in Nyandarua County.
The Aberdare Range touches the Great Rift Valley on the eastern rim, the Kinangop Plateau on the western side. The range also neighbors the Mau Escarpment and Lake Naivasha. Towns close to the Aberdare Range include Gilgil, Naivasha, Nyeri and Mweiga.
Mountain Peaks in the Aberdare Mountain Range
Mount Satima (Oldoinyo Lesatima) is the highest peak (4000 meters) in the northern side of Aberdare range. It is locally known as the “mountain of the young bull”. Mount Satima bears the famous volcanic cones termed “The Dragon’s Teeth”.
Mount Kinangop is the second tallest peak in the Aberdare at 3906 meters. It is situated at the southern part of the range. Other peaks in the range include: Kipipiri peak (3349 meters), Chebuswa peak (3364 meters), Elephant peak (3590 meters), Maratini Hill (3698 meters) and the Table Mountain (3791 meters).
The Aberdare National Park
It is a protected area in the Aberdare Mountain Range since the year 1950. It covers an area of 767 square kilometers within Nyandarua and Nyeri counties. The park was named by Joseph Thomspon after Lord Delamare who chaired the Royal Geographical Society in 1884.
The Aberdare is known as the spot where J. A Hunter killed a rogue jumbo. The Aberdare Rhino Sanctuary is the second biggest black rhino sanctuary in Kenya.
Caves in the range include the Queen’s Cave and Mau Mau Cave. The Mau Mau freedom fighters stored their meat in the Queen’s Cave.
The Aberdare Forest Reserve and the Kipipiri Forest Reserve are under the management of the Kenya Forest Service and the Kenya Wildlife Service. The Aberdare Forest Reserve is a historical landmark as it was Dedan Kimathi’s information center.
Flora and Fauna at the Aberdare National Park
Animals at Aberdares include Colobus monkeys, spotted hyenas, bushbucks, olive baboons, bongo, African wild cat, black rhinos, elephants, buffaloes, golden cat, blue duiker, warthogs, leopards, giant forest hog, serval cat, African civet cat. Other mammals you may spot include the Genet, Jackson mongoose, Sykes monkeys, mountain reedbuck, East African wild dog, waterbuck, sunk, eland, and the side-striped jackal. Also available in the range are bush-pigs, lions, Aberdare mole-shrew, hyrax, Aberdare mole rat and montane viper. The amazing melanistic leopard (Black Panther) is a rare sight on higher altitudes in the range.
250 bird species including the Sparrow hawks, plovers, Jackson’s Francolin, goshawks, Aberdare cisticola, African fish eagle, Silvery cheeked hornbill, Hartlaub’s turaco, African green ibis, mountain buzzard, cape eagle owl, African Cuckoo hawk, malachite sunbirds, Tacazze sunbirds, golden-winged sunbirds, eastern double-collared sunbirds, Abbott’s Starling, Striped Fluff tail and Sharpe’s Long claw.
The thick rainforest form the main ecosystem in the Aberdare National Park. Thickets of bamboo trees and moorland also form a large bulk of the green cover. Over 700 vegetation species exist in the mountain range. The plant species include hardwood trees like podo, hagenia, cedar and camphor.
The Waters of Aberdare Mountain Range
The Aberdare Forest Reserve is a significant water catchment area in Kenya. Aside from Mt. Kenya, the Aberdare provides waters that feed Tana River, Ewaso Nyiro, River Malewa and Athi River. Lake Naivasha attributes its waters from River Malewa.
Waterfalls are a common and endeared phenomenon on the mountain range. The notable waterfall in the Aberdare is the Thompson’s Falls in Nyahururu. Other waterfalls include Karuru, Chania and Gura Falls. The waterfalls spray into the deep ravines found in the Aberdare range.
Kenya’s largest electricity provider, the Seven Forks scheme, relies on the Tana River that sources its waters from The Aberdare Range. Nairobi’s main water sources, the Ndakaini and Sasumua dams get their waters from this range.
Accommodation at the Aberdare National Park
The best accommodation at Aberdares include tree hotels overlooking several waterholes and salt lick spots. The Treetops Safari Lodge, Serena Mountain lodge, Aberdare Country Club and The Ark are the most reliable tourist resting places. There are also numerous self-help bandas, picnic spots and campsites in the park.
Queening at the Aberdare
In 1952, Princess Elizabeth vacationed at the Treetops Safari Lodge on the night of her father’s death, King George VI. She became the queen of the United Kingdom while at the Aberdare hence making the place a sensational historical landmark.
Tourist Activities at Aberdare National Park
Enjoy trout fishing, horseback riding, game drives, overnight game viewing, forest hiking, golfing, sundowners, bird watching, bush picnics, visiting the waterfalls and the caves in the park.
Accessing the Aberdare National Park
A road trip to the park can be through Nairobi-Nyeri road, 154 kilometers away or through Nairobi-Gilgil-Nyahururu road, 188 kilometers away. Tourists can fly from Wilson Airport in Nairobi to Nyeri Airstrip or to Mweiga Airstrip. Mweiga is closer to the park.
Make your travel arrangements with Zunguka Africa Safaris and enjoy a blissful vacation at the Aberdare National Park.