Things to do - general

The Aberdare National Park has a group of isolated volcanic range. These forms the eastern wall of the Great Rift Valley. They run roughly 100km north south between Nairobi and Thomsons Falls. Soils at the Aberdare National Park are red and of volcanic origin, but rich in organic matter. There are two main peaks, Ol Donyo Lesatima (3,999m) and Kinangop (3,906m). They are separated by a long saddle of alpine moorland at over 3,000m.

The topography at Aberdare National Park is diverse with deep ravines. The latter cut through the forested eastern and western slopes and there are many clear streams and waterfalls. The Aberdares are an important water catchment area providing water to the Tana and Athi rivers and part of Central Rift and Northern drainage basins. Aberdare National Park is picturesque with steep forested ravines and open moorland.

The park provides a habitat for elephants, black rhinos, leopards, spotted hyenas and olive baboons. Also in this Kenya national park are 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 and African wild cat.  African civet cat and the blue duiker are also rarely seen.

Visitors on Africa safari tour in Kenya here 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.

Aberdare history and overview

Created in 1950, Aberdare National Park was a far-sighted decision to protect the Aberdare Mountains and surrounding wildlife. It is situated 100km (62 miles) north of Nairobi, at the very center of Kenya.

Aberdare National Park covers just 766km², which is small compared to other national parks, and has more difficult terrain due to its location in Kenya’s central highlands, to the west of Mount Kenya. The volcanic range of the Aberdare Mountains varies from the high moorland at 3000 meters (9842 feet), to the peaks of Kinangop (3906m/12814 feet) and Ol Donyo Lesatima (3999m/13123 feet).

The rich, red volcanic soil provides excellent growing conditions for the indigenous forest, and lies in stark contrast to both the forest and the mountain’s rugged and beautiful peaks.

One of the main features of Aberdare National Park is that it is home to the second largest population of black rhinos, which are an endangered species. Other animals that may be observed in the park include African lions, leopards, baboons, and black and white Colobus monkeys and Sykes monkeys. There are also over 250 species of birds, including hawks, goshawks, eagles, sunbirds and plovers.

Aberdare National Park lies mainly above the tree line running along the 10,000ft contour. It comes with some forest and scrub at lower altitude in the ‘salient’ area near Nyeri. The boundary runs down to the 7000ft contour.

The unusual vegetation, rugged terrain, streams and waterfalls combine to create an area of great scenic beauty. This can be observed within Aberdare National Park. The park is surrounded by a predominantly indigenous forest. The management is under an MoU between KWS and the Forest Department.

Where is Aberdare National Park

The Aberdare National Park  is in the Central highlands, west of Mount Kenya. This is in Nyeri County in the former Central Province. Aberdare National Park covers an area of 766km2. This park is readily accessible on tarmac from Nyeri and Naro Moru on the eastern side. This is approximately 160 Kms from Nairobi.

A road crosses the park to connect with another from Naivasha and North Kinangop on the west.  For those on Kenya safari tour to this park, the main towns from which the park can be approached are Nyeri, Nyahururu and Naivasha .

Getting to Aberdare National Park

You can either drive to the Aberdares on paved roads all the way from Nairobi, or fly to Nanyuki and then drive via Nyeri or Naro Moru to get to the park’s eastern entrances; your ground operator can make all such arrangements for you. Smaller, less commercial airstrips (Mweiga and Nyeri) are also available for charter flights to points much closer to the park.

There’s a road that wends its way across the park, linking the eastern boundary with entrances to the west, where you can drive in from Naivasha (87km/54 miles from Nairobi) in the Rift Valley; this requires tremendous stamina, however, as the roads that cut through the park’s mountain regions are tricky and seemingly endless — although not without great vistas.

Country Kenya
Languages spokenEnglish, Kiswahili, Kikuyu
Currency usedKenya Shillings
Area (km2)766 Km2
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