Overview – Aberdare NP

Anthony Ham
Expert
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Kenya.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Anthony is the author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Aberdare National Park protects the mountain range of the same name. It is one of Kenya’s most unspoiled forest parks. Tree hotels are designed for guests to observe wildlife coming to the waterhole (or salt lick). Wildlife viewing from this elevated position is a remarkably rewarding way to see animals otherwise difficult to spot in the dense vegetation. Aberdare is best appreciated for its tangle of pristine forest and its inhabitants, not so much for the usual safari animals.

Best Time to Go June to September (Dry season)
High Season June to October and December to March
Size 765km² / 295mi²
Altitude 1,952-3,894m / 6,404-12,776ft

Pros and Cons

  • Good wildlife viewing throughout the year in beautiful forest habitat
  • Tree hotels offer an unusual wildlife-watching experience
  • A chance to see unusual nocturnal animals
  • Exciting animal encounters at ground level are possible from a wildlife hide
  • Great photo opportunities
  • Guided hiking is available
  • Tree hotels get busy, especially during high season
  • Usual one-night stays have a very packaged feel
  • Tree hotels have small, relatively basic, cabin-like rooms

Aberdare Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

All the Big Five are present. Buffalo and elephant are common, and there is a chance to see black rhino at one of the tree hotel waterholes at night. Lion and leopard tend to stay at higher altitudes in the park and are difficult to spot. Black-and-white colobus monkeys are a real treat, while bushbuck and waterbuck are particularly common.

Scenery

Aberdare is a scenically diverse area. And as with any mountain range there are different habit zones at different altitudes. The tree hotels are set in beautiful forest country. At higher altitudes are bamboo forests and Afro-alpine moorland set among steep ridges with beautiful waterfalls and river valleys.

Weather & Climate

Aberdare’s proximity to the equator means that temperatures don’t change much from month to month. It does, however, get colder the higher you go in altitude. Temperatures also plummet in the Dry season (June to September), especially at night and early in the morning. Rain is a constant companion in the park. Heavy falls occur year-round, though more frequently in the Wet season (October to May).

Best Time to Visit

Wildlife watching is good in Aberdare year-round. If you don’t intend straying far from a tree hotel, visit in the Wet season (October to May) when low-season rates and vacancies make wildlife viewing from your balcony extra-enjoyable. Otherwise, avoid the heaviest of the park’s rainfall in the Dry season (June to September), when local roads are more navigable.

Want to Visit Aberdare NP?

Aberdare Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Wildlife Refuge on the Roof of Africa
3/5

Unlike the rolling savannahs and thorn tree country of lowland Kenya the Aberdares are a world apart, a sky-high paradise in the clouds, whose dense hagenia forests and deep ravines provide a refuge for all kinds of animals including some...

Latest User Review
4/5

Aberdare was quite a chilled out experience. We stayed down at the Ark and that is a really nice place to stay at. Was lucky enough to see 2 leopards during our short one night stay and the experience down at the salt lick was amazing.