Overview – Chyulu Hills NP

Anthony Ham
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.

The little visited Chyulu Hills NP is an extension of the more popular Tsavo West NP. The green Chyulus are one of the youngest mountain ranges in the world, having been formed only about 500 years ago. The volcanic scenery is fascinating, but human encroachment with cattle and poaching are major problems. There isn’t much wildlife around. A worthwhile activity is a visit to the Upper Leviathan Cave, which at 11.5km long, is one of the longest caves in the world.

There is no accommodation inside the park, but there are two very exlusive lodges offering a full range of activities in Masai concessions on the foothills of the Chyulu Hills.

Best Time to Go June to September and January to February
High Season December to March and July to October (Not busy)
Size 741km² / 286mi²
Altitude 992-2,041m / 3,255-6,696ft

Pros & Cons

  • Un-touristy, off-the-beaten-track destination
  • Caving and trekking trips can be organized
  • Beautiful volcanic scenery
  • Excellent bird watching
  • There is very little wildlife
  • No lodges within the park, only a campsite
  • Roads are in bad condition

Chyulu Hills NP Safari Reviews

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


Wildlife densities are low, and animals tend to be skittish because of heavy poaching. Some of the animals you might see are: eland, klipspringer, giraffe, zebra, baboon and Sykes' monkey. Other big game that sometimes passes through from Tsavo West includes elephant, buffalo, lion and leopard. You might see some of their tracks, but you’re unlikely to spot their owner.


The volcanic mountains offer a fascinating mix of volcanic ash cones and barren lava flows. Big black rocks also pay testament to the volcanic origin of the mountains. The lava flows are sparsely vegetated, but the upper slopes are home to 37 species of orchids. Deep beneath the hills is a catacomb of mostly unexplored caves.

Weather & Climate

The weather and climate of Chyulu Hills is comparable to that of Kenya in general. More info:

Best Time to Visit

Chyulu Hills can be visited year-round, but wildlife viewing is usually best in the dry months from June to October and January to February. Visits during the peak of the short rains (November), and especially during the long rains (April and May), might be challenging. The condition of the roads isn’t great, even in the Dry season, although it gets much worse after rain. A sturdy 4x4 is required throughout the year.

Getting There

Chyulu Hills is usually visited as a side trip from Tsavo West. It is located 232km/144mi from Nairobi and 250km/155mi from Mombasa.

Health & Safety

Please read our vaccinations and malaria page for Kenya, and our general wildlife viewing safety precautions page for more info:

Want to Visit Chyulu Hills NP?

Chyulu Hills NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Hemingway’s Kenya

The volcanic Chyulus are Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa. With their rolling summits capped by cloud forest they lie in the heart of Masailand midway between Amboseli and Tsavo, with unrivalled views of Mt Kilimanjaro. You could fit the...

Latest User Review
Cookswell Jikos  –  
Kenya KE
Reviewed: May 4, 2016

its a like a lord of the rings of kenya

Full Review