The Aberdare National Park, extends over a total land expanse of about 767 sq Km that extends over the higher areas of the Aberdare Mountain Ranges located in Central Kenya. The park lies between an altitude range of 1829m and 4001m above sea level. Generally, the terrain is very wide-ranging with deep ravines that go across the eastern and western forested slopes. Some of the wild animals commonly seen within this park are: Black Rhinos, baboons, sykes monkeys, white & black Colobus monkeys and leopards. Among the rare species here are: lions, golden cats plus bongo- a very hard to find forest antelope that lives in the bamboo forest.
Down the Aberdare Ranges verdant slopes is a huge Mugumo (fig) tree which by simply looking at it you can see that it is very old; this tree has a very rich history best narrated by the natives of this area. The Kenyan Mau Mau freedom fighters actually curves crevices in the trunk of this tree and these they used as an undisclosed post office in which they put messages through agents. In memory of Dedan Kimathi the Mau Mau leader Field Marshall, this fig tree was eventually named as the Kimathi Post office. This Aberdare National park is as well renowned for its old caves that the freedom fighters used as hide outs in the Guerrilla revolution against the British colonialists.
Among the fascinating features within this park are the Kinangop plus the Ol Donyo Lesatima peaks, the moorlands as well as the bamboo thickets, deep ravines Gura falls, rugged terrains, Karuru falls, rivers, Chania falls, streams and the Magura falls.
The diverse habitats in this park is host s diversity of animals including big herds of the African elephants, huge forest hogs, leopards, buffaloes, reed bucks, black rhinos, hyenas, uncommon bongo antelopes, warthogs, Genet cats, wild dogs, elands, Columbus monkeys, red duikers, baboons, Sykes monkeys, plus a profusion of birds.
The local community nearest to the park is the Kikuyu people who believe that these ranges are among the homes of their god (Ngai). These natives initially named this area Nyandarua (to mean drying hide) because if the numerous distinctive folds here. On the other hand, the early colonialists referred to these ranges as the White Highlands due to the big numbers of early Europeans that settled here back in the 1920’s. Later on in 1884, these ranges were renamed by Joseph Thomson an early explorer, after the then president of the Royal Geographic Society Lord Aberdare.
Some of the other activities to enjoy here include mountain climbing, nature walks, photography, picnicking, camping, day time and night time game drives, horse riding, bird watching, trout fishing in rivers and streams. However remember to acquire sports fishing license at the Park gates.
For better game viewing we recommend that you book into the Ark Lodges or the Tree Tops which offer a wonderful platform because to their proximity to the watering holes. Tree Tops hotel was constructed more or less on the top of trees since it has a double roomed tree house. It was later rebuilt following it being burnt down in 1954 by the brutal African guerrillas during the revolution and today comprises of 50 rooms.
The best way to reach the Ark you have to move through Aberdare Country Club a luxurious country hotel the only access point to the Ark. Right in the comfort of your lodge you will be able to see several animals such as elephants bathing, gazelles, black rhinos playing in the mud, buffaloes, water bucks, and if lucky even see bush babies. The best time to watch the animals is during the night time game drives as several animals move to the water holes to drink water.
In addition visitors may enjoy picnics, participate in trout fishing down the river as well as camping in the stunning moorlands. For birders, certainly you will enjoy your stay here as more than 240 different bird species have been recorded here among which are plovers, eagles, Jackson’s Francolin, goshawks, sunbirds and the sparry hawk.
The park has quite a lot to offer so remember to bring along your camera so that you catch everything and even have something to show to those who will remain back home.