Established in 1950, the Aberdare National Park is one of the few Kenyan safari destinations that let you spot its stunning biodiversity within the shortest time possible. Covering an area of about 767 square kilometers, the park is one of the smallest protected regions in Kenya and was mainly formed to provide refuge to the fascinating wildlife species inhabiting the magical Aberdare mountain ranges. Given its location in most of Kenya’s central highlands (2000 to 4300 meters above sea level), Aberdare National Park boasts some of the most breathtaking terrains on the African continent. Are you planning a safari trip to Kenya? Here’s why Aberdare should definitely feature in your travel itinerary:
1. Game Drives Through Abundant Wildlife and Some Rare Game
Naturally, wildlife viewing is the primary reason to plan a safari adventure. After all, it is an experience like no other to see different kinds of animals freely roaming in their own habitat. That’s why you’ll be pleased to know that Aberdare National Park is home to robust populations of wildlife. Here you can spot the Big Five, while sightings of elephant and buffalo are almost guaranteed. If you time your travel to coincide with the dry season, you’ll be able to see the bountiful abundance of wildlife congregating at the waterholes, and sometimes even the rare black leopard and black rhinos. You can also spot forest species, including several primates such as the black-and-white colobus monkey, sykes monkey, and the nocturnal greater galago.
2. Bird Watching
The forests and moorlands of Aberdare National Park are home to over 290 species of birds. Some less than common birds at the park include; Hartlaub’s turaco, rare scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird, and the Aberdare cisticola, which is endemic to the region. Many of these bird species can be found at higher altitudes, like mountain peaks so be sure to bring along some powerful binoculars for a satisfying bird watching experience.
3. Amazing Scenery
Along with the exciting prospect of enjoying close encounters with wildlife, taking in Aberdare’s mesmerizing scenery is an experience in itself. Picture endless miles of forests, woodlands, swamps and anthill-dotted plains, any of which can serve as a suitable panoramic backdrop for your camera. Walking or driving through the undulating savannah plains makes you feel like you are in a picture-perfect African landscape so you’ll definitely have loads of scenic natural wonders to capture.
4. Softer climate
Aberdare is considered to be more of a year-round safari destination than some of the other parks in Kenya. This is because of its mountainous area which can experience mist and rain all year long. While it is possible to safari here throughout the year, the drier months of January and February and from June to September are usually the best times to visit, especially when it comes to game viewing. The park is easy to get to and well located, making it a good addition to your Kenyan safari itinerary.
5. Space and Privacy
Since Aberdare does not see as many visitors compared to more popular parks like the Masai Mara and Amboseli, your visit here means you get to enjoy more space and privacy. This feeling of being alone in the wild and enjoying all that space is priceless. It makes your one-on-one encounter with nature even more intimate and makes for a more fulfilling safari experience. You could be having lunch while spotting elephants and giant forest hogs in the distance drenching themselves in the water while several buffalos take shade from the harsh sun. This view is only complemented by the sounds of distant roars of lions and laughing hyenas, as well as high-pitched bird calls.
6. Fascinating Accommodation Options
Part of the reason why this area was neglected in the past has been the quality of accommodation. This is changing drastically with the introduction of the colonial Aberdare Country Club, This establishment with its own wildlife park and a golf course is paired with the famous Ark lodge, which is so named due to its form of a giant (Noah’s) Ark. It was recently and tastefully refurbished and now offers comfortable rooms with large viewing galleries perched above a vast water hole that comes alive at dusk and nighttime when herds of elephants, buffalos, bushbucks, and other wildlife gathers. Another exciting establishment is the Treetops Lodge within the park, which offers great views of the forest below and the many animals that casually stroll by every now and then.
There you have it! Aberdare National Park is a worthy inclusion in your safari adventure itinerary so make sure to talk to your tour operator about adding it on your list today.