Abedare National Park

This park is located in the range of the same name, described by Joseph Thomson in 1883 during his journey through the Maasai Land. Kikuyu people still use the range's traditional name, Nyandarua. 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 Aberdare range, 160 km long, is located in the Central Highlands, Central Province, west of Mount Kenya and north of Nairobi, serving as the Kenyan Rift Valley's east wall. The national park comprises a longitudinal strip from south to north, with a projection toward the east denominated The Salient, that runs down to an altitude of 2,130 m, near the town of Nyeri. The Salient has its origin in an ancient migratory route of elephants between the range and Mount Kenya.

its the highest park in all Africa as 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 confers 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.

Though the park registers a high number of visitors, most of them just do it for an overnight stay at its famous lodges

Visits to Aberdare national park were arranged only in organised groups escorted by a park ranger, or either appointing the visit in advance by contacting the Park Warden.
The park is 100 km from Nairobi and 17 km northwest of Nyeri. From Nairobi there are several buses to Nyeri, but there is no public transport from this town to the park gates.

It is worth mentioning that the most suitable access to the park depends on your final destination, since the range, that is, the park, is actually a barrier between the two main northbound roads from Nairobi. In general, the best option is to take the A2 leaving Nairobi through Thika Road, heading for Thika and Nyeri. The road is tarred and in very good conditions up to Sagana. From here to Nyeri, potholes abound and transit is more difficult. This itinerary is most adequate if you travel for an overnight stay at Treetops or The Ark, since this road leads to Nyeri, where the base hotel for Treetops, the Outspan Club, is located. From Nyeri there is a road to Mweiga, the town close to which is the Aberdare Country Club, base for The Ark. In Mweiga you can also find the Kenya Wildlife Service Aberdares Headquarters, where you can reload your Smartcard.

Conversely, if your intention is to travel the park, you may rather use another route which is in fact shorter. In Nairobi, take the A104 north to Naivasha, where you will take a turnoff to Nyeri. Pitifully, if you just intend to travel from Naivasha to Nyeri this way is not suitable, since the road crosses the park, so you would be bound to pay the entrance fee.

Concerning the park gates, coming from Naivasha or Gilgil you can access the park through Mutubio West Gate. The steepest section of this track, formerly impassable during the rains, is now paved.

From Nyeri you can enter the park through three different gates: Ruhuruini Gate and Wandare Gate are in the Salient area, south and north respectively, whereas the Kiandongoro Gate, more to the south, leads to the Chania Falls area. Access to the park from the north is now not possible since Shamata and Ngobit (Rhino) Gates are currently closed to tourism. Altogether there are four open public gates to the park, plus two private entrances restricted to the buses carrying overnighters to Treetops and The Ark.

The park's road network cross-sectionally traverses from east to west, from Kiandongoro Gate to Mutubio West Gate, through misty moorlands that lay at an altitude of 3,350 m. Connecting the two slopes of the range, this road gives the shortest way from Naivasha to Nyeri.

Wildlife Composition
The Aberdare wildlife is awesome, though the thick vegetation cover makes it difficult to spot animals except from the lodges. The rich forest sustains populations of elephant, buffalo, warthog and several species of antelope, like waterbuck, duiker, suni, dik-dik, eland, bushbuck and reedbuck. The park protects a healthy population of black rhino and also offers the chance to see some of the typical forest species, such as the giant forest hog or the shy and beautiful bongo, perhaps the rarest and most splendid of all Kenyan antelopes.

Primates are represented by black and white colobus, Sykes' monkeys and vervet monkeys. Regarding the felines, lions show their mountain adaptation, tree-climbing behaviour and a longer and speckled coat. Lions have proliferate in such a way that a culling program has been undertaken to protect some of the herbivores, particularly the rare bongo. Leopards and servals are also found, sometimes in their melanic variety, showing a black coat which is usually associated with an adaptation to the high altitude.

Many species of birds have been confirmed in the park. Among them the visitor may spot the crowned eagle, which feeds on monkeys, or hear the noisy silvery-cheeked hornbill. Some species of doves and pigeons are usual inhabitants of the upper forest layers. Waterholes usually host black-headed herons, Egyptian geese, sacred ibis and yellow-billed ducks, among other species.

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