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Aberdare Ranges Hiking Tour

Aberdare Ranges Hiking Tour

Trip duration

1 day

The Aberdare Ranges Hiking Tour can be combined with our Laikipia Wildlife Safari.

 

 

DAY 1: ABERDARE NATIONAL PARK

Aberdare National Park is one of Kenya’s prime protected areas; at 765.7 Square Kilometres. This Park runs the expanse of a majestic mountain range on the eastern edge of the Rift Valley. The ranges stretch from Nairobi in the East, to Nyahururu in the West; cutting through several administrative counties. The soil is majorly of red volcanic origin, and very fertile, with many places having huge humus pads. The park has a great stretch of alpine moorland vegetation, mainly above 3,000m. This great landscape has led to the park’s nick-name:- “Majestic Peaks, Moorlands and Intriguing Falls”.

The ranges have two main peaks namely: Ol Donyo Lesatima (3,999m) and Kinangop (3,906m). Aberdare National Park forms a thick tropical forest, with deep ravines and dissecting riverine gorges. At certain areas, these rivers form majestic waterfalls, which leave a sight to be desired. Karuru Waterfalls are massive and fall in three steps (the 1st step at 117m, 2nd step 26m and 3rd step 130m. In total, it makes 273m). Another interesting one is Chania Waterfalls. There are also several other smaller waterfalls. The ranges encompassing Aberdare National Park are a major water tower in Kenya and form the catchments for Kenya’s two largest rivers- Tana and Athi.

Historically, the area is famous for forming part of the “Happy Valley”. Even better, the Queen of England made more history here, as she entered the Aberdare National Park as a princess and left as the queen- while staying at Treetops Lodge. The legendary Mau Mau leader Dedan Kimathi also had a hideout in the forest. All these attractions are accessible in the park.

Many animals occupy the Aberdare forest including species of mammals such as African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Black Rhino, Spotted Hyena, African Civet, African Wild Cat, Serval Cat, African Golden Cat, African Lion, Leopard, Olive Baboon, Mt. Kenya Guereza Monkey, Mt. Kenya Kolb’s Monkey, Plains Zebra, the rare Mountain Bongo, Bush Duiker, Blue Duiker, Waterbuck, Common Eland, Common Bushbuck, Common Warthog and Giant Forest Hog.

Home to some of the best Kenya’s endemic birds, Aberdare National Park promises to be rewarding on each trip, in terms of birdlife. Expected species here include Aberdare Cisticola, Grey Crowned Crane, African Emerald Cuckoo, Montane Oriole, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Golden-winged Sunbird, Crowned Hornbill, Red-fronted Parrot, Jackson’s Francolin and Olive Ibis.

On the Aberdare Ranges Hiking Tour, we shall kick off early from Nairobi. We shall carry our snacks and have picnic lunch in the park. There are several access gates, and we shall choose the route that will maximize your experience based on the amount of time available, your target sites and locations, as well as the amount of walking you would like to do.

  1. There are routes that allow you to hike a longer stretch to one of the Aberdares Peaks e.g. the Elephant Hill Hike (This is the most famous route on the Aberdare Ranges Hiking Tour). On these routes, you will drive to the base of the mountain range and then hike on foot to one of the peaks and back to the vehicle.
  2. Other routes can be done more gently, such as the Karuru and Chania Waterfalls hikes. On these waterfall hikes, you will drive slowly to the starting point as you enjoy wildlife viewing. You will then walk down to the waterfalls and then hike back to the vehicle.

We shall spend as much time as possible transecting different locations within the park. In the afternoon, we shall choose the best exit gate, on our way back to Nairobi where our lovely Aberdare Ranges Hiking Tour ends.

 

 

Habitats covered

Highland Rainforest, Bamboo Forest, Alpine Moorlands, Highland Grasslands 

Photographic opportunities

Excellent

Special moments

Aberdares Peaks, Kinangop Plateau views, The Great Rift Valley views, Mt. Kenya views on a clear day