Aberdare National Park : Aberdare varies from other parks in that it has mountains, rainforests, moorlands, and opportunities for wonderful walks. The traditional game drives are alternated with magnificent walks pursuing the park’s numerous waterfalls. In addition, there is a lot of wildlife in this park. The park is located in the Aberdare Mountain Range, east of the Rift Valley, 100 kilometers north of Nairobi.
Aberdare National Park was formed in 1950 and encompasses an area of 766 square kilometers. The park is familiar with a wide range of sceneries, from high mountain summits (up to 4000 meters) to deep lowlands. Temperatures change as a result. With its streams, waterfalls up to 300 meters high, rainforests, and bamboo forests, it’s a very green park in general.
When at the park, you can see interesting and rare animals such as bongo, a forest-dwelling antelope that feeds at night and early in the morning, giant forest hogs, bushbucks, bronze-napped pigeons, dusky turtles, and tambourine doves. Bamboo tunnels are also available.
Several creatures pass through the trees here. Consider elephants, lions, leopards, the East African wild dog, bushbucks, giraffes, baboons, buffalos, and so on. In addition, the park is home to a significant number of eastern black rhinos as well as various endangered bird species.
If you’re lucky, you might even encounter a black leopard, which was seen here for the first time in a century in 2018. Their black fur is caused by melanism, the polar opposite of albinism, which causes an excess of pigment in the skin or hair. Black-coated leopards are found in Africa and Asia, whereas black-coated jaguars are found in South America. They are uncommon since just one black puppy may be born in a litter. According to estimates, 11 percent of leopards and jaguars are born black.
This park is also where Princess Elizabeth learned in the 1950s that her father, King George VI, had died and that she had become queen. When this happened, she was staying at the famed Treetops Hotel, one of two hotels in the park. It is still open to visitors, as is The Ark, the park’s other hotel. These hotels, which are surrounded by waterholes and even have an underground observation area, allow for numerous animal sightings. While you are in your room and a special animal passes by, a specific alarm system alerts you.
Less glamorous is the fact that the Aberdare Mountain Range was the site of the Ma-Mau insurrection in the 1950s. European settlers recognized this location as ideal for growing tea, coffee, wheat, and flowers. They took over the land with the authority of the colonial authorities but with little regard for native customs and culture. This instilled resentment, which fueled the uprising. The Mau-Mau leader was well-versed in the forest and utilized it as a headquarters and hiding spot until he was apprehended in the 1950s.
Kenya has a cold season from June to November, with average daytime temperatures of 20°C. The nights might get cold during this season, so bring a sweater.
The rainy season lasts from mid-October to November, following which temperatures can reach 30°C throughout the day from December to April. April and May are wet months, as is the rest of the year. It typically does not rain throughout the day, with sunny mornings giving way to rain clouds in the afternoons and evenings.
Because the Aberdare National Park is located in a mountain range between 1000 and 4000 meters above sea level, the weather is generally cooler. The location can sometimes be very misty, so dress appropriately for the conditions.
COMMON ANIMALS IN ABERDARE NATIONAL PARK
- Black rhino
- black and white Colobus monkey
- Sykes monkey
- African golden cat
- Bongo is an elusive antelope that lives in the bamboo forest.
- There are around 250 bird species, including raptors such as the African Goshawk, Ayres’ Hawk Eagle, Rufous-breasted Sparrow Hawk, and Mountain Buzzard.
ABERDARE NATIONAL PARK HIGHLIGHTS
- Beautiful hikes to several waterfalls
- Mountains, rainforests and moorlands with many animal sightings
- Cooler temperatures
- If you are very lucky, you might spot a black leopard
FACTS ABOUT ABERDARE NATIONAL PARK
- Queen Elizabeth of England was visiting this park when she learned that her father had died, and she ascended to the throne.
- The site of the infamous Mau-Mau revolt in the 1950s
- In 2018, a black panther was photographed here for the first time in 100 years to thrill while on Kenya Safaris
ACTIVITIES IN ABERDARE NATIONAL PARK
- Several hikes to waterfalls possible
- Possibility of doing day hikes
- Watch plenty of animals at the waterholes near your hotel.
- Possibility to do picnics in the moorlands