Aberdare National Park

Travel Guide Africa Kenya Aberdare National Park

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Introduction

Aberdare National Park is a 767-kmĀ² national park in the central highlands west of Mount Kenya, 100 kilometres from Nairobi. The Aberdare National Park covers the higher areas of the Aberdare Mountain Range of central Kenya and the Aberdare Salient to their east. Rhino Ark is a charity devoted to the protection of this critical habitat area.

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Geography

The park is located about 100 kilometres north from Nairobi and stretches over a wide variety of terrains because it covers altitudes from about 2,100 metres to 4,300 metres above sea level. Established in May 1950, the Aberdare National Park covers an area of 766 square kilometres and forms part of the Aberdare Mountain Range. The park contains a wide range of landscapes - from the mountain peaks that rise to 4,300 metres above sea level, to their deep, v-shaped valleys intersected by streams, rivers, and waterfalls. Moorland, bamboo forests and rainforests are found at lower altitudes.

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Sights and Activities

Animals easily observed include the leopard, elephant, East African wild dog, giant forest hog, bushbuck, mountain reedbuck, waterbuck, Cape buffalo, suni, side-striped jackal, eland, duiker, olive baboon, black and white colobus monkey, and sykes monkey. Rarer sightings include those of the African golden cat and the bongo - an elusive forest antelope that lives in the bamboo forest. Animals such as the eland as well as spotted and melanistic serval cats can be found higher up in the moorlands. The Aberdare National Park also contains a large eastern black rhinoceros population. Visitors can also indulge in walking, picnics, in the rivers and camping in the moorlands. Even the bird viewing is rewarding, with over 250 species of birds in the park, including the endangered Aberdare cisticola, Jackson's francolin, sparry hawk, goshawks, eagles, sunbirds and plovers. It is a traditional belief of the Kikuyu that the Aberdare Mountain Range, where this park is located, is one of the homes of Ngai, or God. In order to protect the bongo antelope the lions of Aberdare have been moved to other national parks.

Karuru, Gura, Chania and Magura are spectacular waterfalls. The Aberdare Mountains are breathtaking. Wildlife include four of the Big 5 (Elephants and Buffalo are numerous, Black Rhino and Leopard are less common), Genets, Defassa Waterbuck, Common Duiker, Warthog, Spotted Hyena, Bushbuck as well as species that are not found elsewhere in Kenya (though even here they are difficult to spot), i.e., Eastern Bongo, Golden Cat and Giant Forest Hog. Lions are no longer present in the park as their reintroduction severly hurt Bongo populations.

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Opening Hours

The park is open daily from 6:00am to 7:00pm. No entry is allowed on foot and no visitor will be allowed into the park after 6:15pm.

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Cost

Reidents of Kenya: adults Ksh 200, Kenyan student and organized groups Ksh 50, Kenyan children Ksh 50. Non-residents: US$40, children US$20, students and organized groups US$10. Entry to the park is by smart card only. Smartcard may be obtained and loaded at the main gate.

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Getting There and Around

Take the A2 out of Nairobi via Thika in Nyeri. Then Take Nyeri-Nyahururu road out of Nyeri. Ruhuruini, Arkand treetops gates are signs posted off this road.

The nearest air strip is at Mweiga.

The park often becomes impassible for 2wd vehicles and thus 4wd vehicles are recommended.

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Eat/Drink

Food should be brought by oneself, unless you are staying at one of the lodges where meals are provided.

Drinks should be brought when visiting the park, unless you are staying at one of the lodges where drinks are provided.

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Sleep

There are two main hotels in the park. 'The Ark' is a lodge reminiscint of colonial times, where visitors spend the night with views of a salt lick where wildlife congregates. The lodge has three main viewing platforms. Each room has been fitted with electricity and running water. If an animal of interest appeara during the night, you will be alerted by a buzzer. The second hotel is the famous Treetops, which is situated at the border of the park (Nyeri town can be seen). Like the Ark it has a view of a saltlick, however all rooms (excluding the suites) are not fitted with running water and thus facilities such as showers and toilets are communal.

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Aberdare National Park Travel Helpers

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This is version 1. Last edited at 8:10 on Sep 4, 17 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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