About Aberdare national park
The park is located about 100 km north from Nairobi and stretches over a wide variety of terrains because it covers altitudes from about 7,000 feet (2,100 m) to 14,000 feet (4,300 m) above sea level. Established in May 1950, the Aberdare National Park covers an area of 766 square kilometers and forms part of the Aberdare Mountain Range. 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 rainforests are found at lower altitudes. 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. Aberdare National Park is in a cloud forest in some of the higher areas of Kenya’s central highlands marked by deep ravines and forested mountain slopes. Because of its altitude — mostly above 10,000 feet — it’s often shrouded in mist. Animals often observed in the park include the black rhino, leopard, baboon, black and white colobus monkey and Sykes’ monkey (Cercopithecus albogularis). Rarer are lions and the bongo, an elusive forest antelope that lives in the bamboo forest. Animals like the eland (a type of antelope) and serval cat (a solitary, nocturnal feline) can be found higher up in the moorlands. Birders will note that there are more than 250 species of birds in the park, including the Jackson’s Francolin (Pternistis jacksoni), sparrow hawk, goshawk, eagle, sunbird and plover. The Aberdares are an isolated volcanic range that forms the eastern wall of the rift valley, running roughly 100km north south between Nairobi and Thomsons Falls. Soils are red and of volcanic origin, but rich in organic matter. There are two main peaks, Ol Donyo Lesatima (3,999m) and Kinangop (3,906m) separated by a long saddle of alpine moorland at over 3,000m. From 1947 to 1956, the misty and rainy forests in the range served as a hide for the Mau-Mau guerrilla. The park was gazetted in 1950 with an extension of 584 km², but was afterwards enlarged to 770 km², making it the third largest park in the country. The park is the highest in all Africa, since most of the plateau is located above an altitude of 3,000 m. The highest peaks in the park are the Kinangop, with 3,906 m, and the Oldonyo Lesatima, “the mountain of the young bull” in the Maa language of the Maasai, with 4,001 m. The landscape is dominated by deeply foggy rain forest, which deliberates the park a fairyland atmosphere. Trouts breed in the mountain streams, that burst down spectacular waterfalls, like the Keruru Kahuru of 270 m and the Gura of 240 m in the South area, or the Chania Falls in the central sector of the park. Due to the high humidity, the tracks crossing the park are muddy for a large part of the year. Aberdare contains a rich botanic wealth, a mixture of equatorial exuberance and alpine vegetation. Above the 2,000 m level, the rain forest gives way to the bamboo jungles, that at 3,000 m become mountain prairies in which groundsel and giant lobelias grow high.