One of the most popular activities that people do when they tour central highlands in Kenya is hiking in Aberdare National Park in Kenya. In addition to hiking, there are a lot of game viewing opportunities.
Where is Aberdare National Park Located?
Aberdare National Park is located in the central highlands of Kenya. Aberdare National Park is in the Aberdare Ranges and It covers two counties: Nyandarua and Nyeri counties. It is about a 4-hour drive from Nairobi to Aberdare which is around 197km from Nairobi.
How To Get There
There are two ways to get to Aberdare from Nairobi. By road or by flight. There are daily flights to Nanyuki and when you get here drive to Aberdare. Otherwise, you can drive straight from Nairobi. You can either stay at a hotel inside the park or outside the park.
Things To Do In Aberdare National Park
You will see hyena families, buffalos, elephants, waterbucks among others. There are thick forests and water holes where you can park and see animals as they come to get water. The best places to view wild animals are from high points and also as you drive along the designated paths of the park you will encounter animals as they graze, or cross the roads across the park. While driving or parked you will get amazing wildlife photo opportunities. Leopards and cats are difficult to spot. I did not see any during my tour to the park.
Hiking in Aberdares
Another popular activity that Aberdare is known for is hiking. Within the Aberdare ranges there are several places where hiking enthusiasts go to. Within the park, you can do simple day hikes with a Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) ranger. Let’s start with the Aberdare ranges hikes. There is a place called Elephant Hill in Aberadare ranges where hikers take days hikes. Most of them use this hike to prepare for climbing Mt. Kenya. To access this hike, you use the Njambini Forest gate which is about 90 km from Nairobi.
It costs about Ksh. 2,500 for residents to access this gate.
Another place to hike within the range is Rurumeria Hill. This hill too is used as a preparation hike to Mt. Kenya. It is one of the more challenging hikes of Aberdare as it forms the peak of Aberdare Ranges.
There are easier hikes within the National Park and these are the routes that lead up to the viewpoints of Karuru Waterfalls. Karuru Waterfalls is a 3-step water fall within the park. The first step is 383 feet, the second step is 84 feet and the 3rd step is 427 feet. Within a valley there are 3 other waterfalls surrounding it.
There is also another simple hiking route to the Queen’s Caves. Above the queen’s caves is a picnic site. The caves are surrounded by waterfalls at the top. The queen’s caves was a popular hideout for the Mau Mau during the emergency colonial period. Other waterfalls within Aberdare ranges include the Chania Waterfalls that can be seen from a distance on the viewpoint where Karuru Falls are.
Fishing In Aberdares
Trout Fishing is another activity you can do in Aberdare using the rivers that pass within it. I have a detailed guide of trout fishing in Aberdare National Park.
The Best Time To Visit
It all depends on what you are planning to do. If you are a hiker then the best time to visit would be throughout the year when you find a group of hikers or a travel agency that is planning a trip there. You can plug in and go with them. July to September are also the best times to visit the park as then it is a dry season in this area.
If you are a budget traveler then the best time for you is April and May which is low season as most hotels are not busy and the weather is wet. Most of the time the roads are bad too.
These are the inconveniences to take into account when planning your trip.
Places To Stay In Aberdare National Park
I have had the opportunity to stay at Aberdare Cottages and Fishing Lodge. These cottages are 42 km from the main National Park gate.
Park Entry Charges
There are entry charges to Aberdare National Park as follows:
|E.A Citizens (KES)||E.A Residents (KES)||Non-Residents (USD)|
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Here is my video experience Hiking Aberdare National Park