Explore Aberdares National Park

Explore Aberdares National Park : Stretching 100 km across the heart of Kenya, the Aberdares National Park rises like a row of pointed fangs. This remote mountain range, which is about an hour’s drive from Nairobi, extends past the snow-capped summits of Mount Kenya nearly all the way to the equator. Following the rift lakes of Naivasha, Elementaita, and Nakuru, the Aberdares form the eastern rim of the Great Rift Valley. the tallest peak in the Aberdares National Park is 4000 metres. There are a tonne of animals, thick forests, roaring waterfalls, and breathtaking views all within this immaculate and protected park.

With their lime green foliage, the tea-growing regions are as stunning as ever, bearing witness to abundant rainfall. The Aberdares are home to trout leaping in crystal clear streams, sage green flags waving from the forest canopy at the brilliant blue sky, and mist curling through ferns in the early morning hours. In the Aberdares, summertime evokes memories of England’s golden age. Of course, sunny days are tempered in the winter months by the Aberdares with a gloomy, dreary drizzle that makes you want to crawl into bed.

Why you should visit Aberdare National Park

The Aberdares range gives life to the term ‘breathtaking’. It is 100km long with few access points. From Nairobi, you are eased into the splendour of the mountains with the Aberdares Forest range. First the obscenely green tea farms, then, in the distance, the peaks of Ol Donyo, Lesatima and Kinangop. As CS Lewis wrote, “The further up and the further in you go, the bigger everything gets. The inside is larger than the outside”, and it’s true of the Aberdares National Park. The further you travel, the higher, colder and most fantastical the ranges appear. Below 3000 metres The Indigenous rainforest comprises groves of Macaranga and Eucalyptus, which, when you climb higher, become fields of fat bamboo, cedar, camphor, podo, and moorland. On the Eastern side of the lower mountain, the gentle forested slopes have an abundance of wildlife. On these rarely visited hills there are elephant, buffalo, hyena, rhino, leopard, forest hogs, and the rare African golden cat. This is the last home of the critically endangered mountain bongo, of which there is estimated to be less than 100 in the world.


At 3000 metres, the Aberdares National Park is primarily above treeline, with the Forest Reserve covering the lower slopes. Excellent walking and trekking routes lead from the high park’s forested slopes into the moorland below. Lesatima (4000 m), Kinangop (3906 m), and Kipipiri (3349 m) are the high peaks, marked by alpine grass and the phallic outline of enormous lobelia on occasion. The Aberdares have very little in the way of a road network; in fact, it is nearly impossible to travel from north to south. The Aberdares National Park is home to three primary waterfalls. The 300-meter drop of the Karura Falls is into the river below. The trail that connects the two main gates allows you to walk over the top of Karura Falls and over the Kinangop plateau.

The Chania Falls are simpler to reach but smaller than the Gura Falls, which are 305 metres high and lack an official track. Having a guide is recommended because the Aberdares are home to a variety of species, including lions.

Fishing in Aberdares National Park

The rainbow trout that inhabit the streams and rivers of the Aberdares were introduced to the area a century ago by British immigrants who carried trout ova from Scotland. You can observe the fish swimming in the rivers as you travel by the Aberdares and Mount Kenya, which are both frequently replenished with fingerlings. Higher up the mountain, where the fish are smaller, is where the best fishing is. On the eastern slopes of Aberdares National Park, Kenya Fly Fishers have two clubhouses with direct access to rivers. You can reserve a fishing tour or the KWS Fishing Cottages, which have access to fishing waterways. You can go fishing in the Guru, Karura, and Chania rivers by taking fishing cruises up to the higher hills. Fly-fishing is the only activity allowed in the Aberdares.

Where to stay

Treetop Hotel

Treetops is arguably the most well-known hotel in Kenya. While on a vacation to Treetops Aberdares in 1952, Princess Elizabeth learned of her father George VI’s passing. Here, she assumed the throne as Queen Elizabeth II. The Mau Mau rebels set fire to the original hotel. Since then, a second hotel has been built, and its watering hole is its pride. The hotel is eighty years old and is not elegant, but rustic. The salt lick and drinking hole are floodlit at night, and it is situated along an elephant migration route. The hotel no longer has a “no see, no pay” policy, but they still take advantage of the many animal guests by installing huge windows in every room. When a show is happening in the waterhole, guests are informed via an optional buzzer in their rooms.

The Ark Hotel

The Ark Hotel gets its name from its intended resemblance to Noah’s Ark. A ship amidst the fauna. It follows the same rules as Treetops, where watching games is the main reason for visiting. Situated on a salt lick and watering hole with plenty of windows and the obligatory buzzer to wake you up even while you’re asleep (thankfully optional). The Ark features four distinct viewing places and three decks with plenty of balconies to help you spot your game unobstructed.

Explore Aberdares National Park
The Ark Hotel

Kimakia Tea Cottages

Comparatively speaking, this is a far more affordable and considerate experience than going inside the park itself. Situated on the lower south/east slopes of the Aberdares, Kimakia Tea Cottages are part of tea plantations. The cottages are situated above a river where trout may be caught, children can play, construct dams, and collect crabs. Kimakia is situated 100 metres from the boundary that delineates the official forest park. From the house, you may stroll into the forest, or you can hire a fantastic guide  to lead you on an exhilarating trip through tea fields, dense forest and waterfalls. There are two cottages—one with a double bed and the other with three double rooms. Newly constructed, immaculate, cosy, and with breathtaking views.

Kenya wildlife service ( KWS) Cabins and campsites

You may reserve a variety of cabins and campsites from KWS on their website. Although the Aberdares can get very cold, the simple lodges are nevertheless significantly better than camping during the cooler months.

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