Aberdare National Park
Altitude: 7,000 -14,000 Ft above sea level Opened: May 1950
Area: 767 Sq. Kms: Distance from Nairobi: 180Kms
The Aberdare National Park covers the higher areas of the Aberdare Mountain Range of central Kenya and the Aberdare Salient located to the east. The Aberdares are part of Kenya’s central highlands, running roughly north south between Nairobi and Thomson’s Falls. The topography is diverse with deep ravines that give way to gentler valleys separated by steep hills and rocky outcrops. The park contains a wide range of landscapes – from the mountain peaks that rise to 14,000 feet (4,300 m) above sea level, to their deep, v-shaped valleys intersected by streams, rivers, and waterfalls. Moorland, bamboo forests and rain forests are found at lower altitudes.
This park is an important water catchment area providing water to the Tana and Athi rivers and part of Central Rift and Northern drainage basins. The climate is wet and moist. The park is surrounded by a predominantly indigenous forest, whose management is under an agreement between Kenya Wildlife Services and the Forest Department.
Animal life is most abundant in the forest zone. Large mammals are represented by elephants, buffalo, bongo and black rhino among others. Carnivores include lion and leopard, whereas primates are represented by baboon, black and white colobus and Sykes monkeys. The park is rich in bird life with over 250 species recorded. The Jackson’s Francolin is endemic.
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.
Visitors to the park can find different types of accommodation according to their taste, ranging from the Treetops tree-house lodge, to the Ark – built in the shape of Noah’s Ark – and three self-help banda sites, eight special campsites and a public campsite in the moorland. There are also five picnic sites. Both Treetops and Ark provide excellent nighttime wildlife viewing. From these two Lodges, visitors can observe various animals, such as elephants, Cape buffaloes and rhinos, which get attracted to the waterholes. The park also includes two airstrips at Mweiga and Nyeri.
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