Aberdare National Park is situated in a unique isolated volcanic range that form the eastern wall of the rift valley and runs about 100km north south between Nairobi and Thomsons Falls. Two peaks dominate the Aberdares range; Ol Donyo Lesatima and Kinangop. They are separated by a long saddle of alpine moorland. The terrain is diverse with deep ravines that cut through the forested eastern and western slopes and there are many clear streams and waterfalls. The Aberdares are a water catchment area feeding two of Kenya’s most important rivers – the Tana and Athi rivers.
Two different environments define the park: the moorland, peaks and high forest of the Kinangop plateau; and the Salient to east where the forest slopes down to the regional capital of Nyeri. Much of the park lies above 10,000 feet above sea level generally following the tree line. The unusual vegetation, rugged terrain, streams and waterfalls converge to create a park endowed with scenic beauty.
The climate at Aberdares is misty and rainy for much of the year. This forested area gives refuge to herds of Elephant and buffalo. Other species include black rhino, bongo antelope, bush pig, giant forest hog, black serval cat, lion and black leopard. They are hundreds of bird species can be seen including the giant kingfishers. Dramatic views include the Chania and Karura Falls.
Lesatima peak, Kinangop peak, waterfalls, walks in the moorlands, Twin hills, Elephant hills and Table mountains, Elephants, Second largest population of black rhinos in Salient and Northern Aberdares, Queen Elizabeth learned of her accession to the throne at Tree-tops, The Kimathi Hideout, Night viewing of wildlife at the Ark & Treetops.
The Aberdares are the third highest range of mountains in Kenya, reaching a summit of just over 4000m. This massive range is well known for its thick alient forests, and their prolific game.
These high altitude forests are broken by moorlands and plains, and through the abundant tree cover there are sensational views of the Rift Valley and the peak of Mt Kenya.
The forest is a hidden world of wildlife. The thick vegetation provides perfect cover for countless species. Very large herds of Elephant and Buffalo move almost silently through the undergrowth.
The People of Aberdare
Mount Kenya represents the ancestral home and heartland of the Bantu-speaking Kikuyu people, Kenya’s largest ethnic group. Heavily influential throughout Kenya’s history, the Kikuyu were instrumental in leading the fight for independence, provided the country with its first President, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, and have forced the pace of all subsequent political developments. The original Kikuyu are thought to have migrated from the east and north-east of the continent in the 16th century. Because land was the dominant factor in their social, political, religious and economic life, however, this brought them into conflict first with the Maasai and then with the European settlers, who seized large tracts of their territory. That said, the Kikuyu have adapted to the challenges of Western culture more successfully than any other tribe and are enlightened businessmen and successful and progressive farmers who grow coffee, tea, pyrethrum horticultural crops, vegetables and flowers for the export market.