Aberdare National Park/Aberdares
The Aberdares is a mountain range which thrusts
directly north from Nairobi for more than 160 km.
Part of the range is protected as the Aberdares National
Park and encompasses all land over 3200m together with a
projection due east, known as the Salient, which reaches
down to 2130 m near Nyeri town.
Aberdares National Park is a fairyland, awesome in its
majesty and beauty. But crossing these mountains is an
unpredictable event since rain is both frequent and
The Aberdares national Park was named after the then
President of the Royal Geographical Society by the
intrepid Scot, Joseph Thomson, who explored the region
in 1883. The Kikuyu name Nyandarua is slowly gaining
prominence. The Aberdare National Park was created in
1950 to protect the forested slopes and moors of the
Aberdare Mountains and the wildlife therein.
The park has elephant, lion, rhino, black leopard and
the beautiful but elusive bongo antelope, and is often
part of a bigger safari itinerary that takes in the
Masai Mara, Samburu National Reserve and Amboseli
Two main lodges are some of the main attractions of the
Aberdares. Both Treetops and The Ark are built above the
ground beside floodlit waterholes with salt licks.
Visitors must book in advance and cannot make their own
way to the lodges in private vehicles. Instead check-in
is at the Aberdare Country club for The Ark and the
Outspan Hotel for Treetops, from where guests are bussed
to their respective lodges.
Treetops is one of Kenya's most famous hotels - this is
where British Princess Elizabeth was informed that she
had become Queen in 1952 on news of her father's death.
The Ark, however, offers better game viewing, especially
at night. Nocturnal game viewing is taken so seriously
round these parts that there is a bell in each room
which sounds if an unusual animal turns up at the
waterhole. Elephant, buffalo, rhino, leopard and
bushbuck are regular visitors. The hotel is reached via
a gangway which takes you to the level of the forest