User Reviews – Aberdare NP

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Overall rating
5/5

The wildlife is more difficult to see and to discover, however, much more rewarading - and the scenery is really out of this world.

Overall rating
5/5

Unspoilt, uncrowded, stunning scenery, elephants popping out from behind bushes

Overall rating
4/5

We visited there on our first safari to Kenya. Very different vegetation though equally beautiful place to stay for several nights. You got to see a couple of the big 5.

A really wild place for the experienced connesseur
Overall rating
5/5

My wife and I arranged our safari ourselves and didn't follow the beaten track. Instead of just enjoying the game viewing from "The Ark" safari lodge as the bulk of the tourists do, we stayed there for two nights. During the day we went on an all day game drive in the Aberdare Mountains equipped with a delicious packed lunch.
This was truly a memorable experience. The scenery is absolutely stunning, and there is some wildlife there that you don't see in other places - e.g. giant forest hog and mountain reed buck, and we had the incredible luck of getting closer to a leopard than ever before.
A big plus was the almost complete lack of (other) tourists – and a small minus was the toilet facilities during the all day game drive – but all in all it was an unforgettable top class safari experience I wouldn’t hesitate recommending to others.

Overall rating
5/5

Its like no other park in East Africa. Completely different scenery from the other parks. Very dense, green, lush forest cover. Beautiful moorlands. Cold, fresh air.

Aberdare National Park, a haven of unspoilt nature in Kenya
Overall rating
5/5

By Samuel Kuria*

Aberdare National park lies in the central part of Kenya and saddles between Mt Kenya to the East and forms the Eastern wall of the rift valley to the west. The total area of the park is 767 km2 with boundary roughly running along the 10,000ft contour. A popular tourist destination, it is a real natural wonder when explored by the relaxed intrepid traveller who has more time to venture deeper to explore its numerous marvels. To the eastern lowlands lies the salient area with two tree lodges, The Ark and Treetops. This is the region most tourists are exposed to since a lot of tour operators offer itineraries passing through Aberdares with on average 1 night at either of these tree lodges. The highlight of these nights is watching animals come to the floodlit watering holes at night. However, the downside is that one never explores deeper into the Aberdares since the operator drops the gusts at Aberdare country club (for Ark guests) and Outspan hotel (for treetops guests) and then they are bussed to the tree lodges after lunch in the afternoon. So game viewing is either limited to and from the short drive to the lodge or a few hours in the afternoon, usually at an extra cost.

The highlight of the Aberdares in a drive through, either from East (salient area) to west through Mutubio gate of vice versa. From the salient area, one can enter through the Ark or Treetops gates near Mweiga or Ruhuruini gate south west of Nyeri. Other less used gates are Kiandangoro, Wandare, Shamata and Rhino. However, it is important to enquire the nature of the roads through these gates before embarking on a safari since some are not motorable through the year.
To do this one can be on self drive using a good 4 X 4 jeep or organised by a tour operator. As one crosses from the salient up the Aberdares you experience variety from scenic views and abundant wildlife in the salient to dramatic vegetation changes with the climb. Wildlife is most abundant in the salient where herds of buffaloes are guaranteed to see and other mammals such as warthogs, Elephants, buffalo, bongo and black rhino (in salient and Northern Aberdares) among others represent large mammals. Carnivores include lion and leopard and hyenas, whereas baboon, black and white colobus and sykes monkeys represent primates. The park is home to most endangered species which include: the rare Bongo, Giant Forest Hog, Packs of the now very rare Wild dogs and Endemic mole rate and mole shrew. The prolific bird life features 250 recorded species

Above the forest is a belt of bamboo, a favourite haunt of the Bongo, a rare and elusive forest antelope. At 10,000ft. The bamboo gives way to moorland, home to eland, spotted and melanistic serval cats. Other features are the giant alpine varieties of lobelia, groundsel and heather.

As one climbs to the moorland, the topography is diverse, Mountain ranges and peaks soar to around 14,000ft., giving way to canyon like V- shaped valleys that give way to gentler valleys separated by steep hills and rocky outcrops. Streams and rivers cascade down through spectacular waterfalls. Some of the spectacular waterfalls include the Chania, Magura and Karuru falls in the moorland where one can get out of their vehicles and walk to the base or viewing points in case of Chania or Karuru falls respectively.The park is an important water catchment providing water to the Tana and Athi rivers and part of central rift and northern drainage basins.

A distance of abot 70kms from Ark or Treetops gates, it can take about 2-3 hour to exit Mutubio gate to the west for the sharp descent to the Rift valley near Naivasha town. Thereare a number of Public campsites at Reedbuck, Ruhuruini, Wandare, Shamata for those who would want to spend more time in the park. Entry to the park is by Safari Card only which may be loaded at the Mweiga Park HQ.

*The writer is a Kenyan Travel expert and Director of a Kenyan tour operator

Overall rating
4/5

Typical forest area, is very difficult to spot wildlife, although the peculiar animals that live there worth a trip.

Overall rating
5/5

Our stay at the Treetops Lodge was the most exciting experience of the entire holiday, coming face to face with Rhino and Elephants. Tree tops lodge is unbelievable and well worth a visit.

Overall rating
4/5

It was very good, we stayed over night in Treetops where the animals all came down to the water hole, including a family of elephants

Overall rating
4/5

Beautiful verdant countryside, more heavily populated area with rich soil for agriculture. A close vision of the poverty in Africa even in this richer area.

Average User Rating

  • 4.4/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star 19
  • 4 star 16
  • 3 star 3
  • 2 star 1
  • 1 star 0
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