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.
Location: The park is 150 km (93 mi) east of Nairobi and 87 km (54 mi) from Naivasha, in the central highlands of Kenya. It is part of the Aberdare Range, volcanic mountains that comprise the eastern wall of the Rift Valley.
Climate: Cool misty and wet. Temperatures are a cool 1.6o C (35o F) to 11oC (52o F).
Best time to visit: The reserve is accessible year-round, but the best times to visit are January and February and June through September. During the rainy season from March through May, the roads are impassable.
Operating Hours: The park is open daily from 0600 hrs. to 2100hrs. There is no entry after 18:15 hrs. Hiking is allowed only in designated areas and only in the company of a KWS ranger.
By road – you can book a tour with Timken Tours from Nairobi.
By air – fly in safaris can land at the airstrips as Nyeri and Mweiga.
Accommodations: You’ll find campsites as well as the two lodges – Treetops and The Ark. Both lodges offer excellent nighttime game viewing.
Things to do and see
Hiking: With its beautiful forests and moorlands, cool climate, sparkling streams and abundant wildlife, Aberdare was made for easy walks and serious trekking. You’ll need to do so in the company of a KWS ranger but the opportunities for getting close to the land and animals here are limitless.
Waterfalls: The park hosts a serious collection of renowned waterfalls. The waters of Gura waterfall plunge 300 m (984 ft) – the steepest fall in Kenya. Other spectacular falls are Karura, Chania and Maraqua Falls.
Climbing: The viewpoints of Twin Hills, Elephant Hills and Table Mountain offer rich vistas and though challenging, are attainable by the average hiker.
Trout fishing: Anglers will delight in the rewarding mountain stream fishing. Try your luck at the Guru Karuru and Chania Rivers. The park is known for its bountiful stock of brown and rainbow trout.