The Aberdare National Park is a 765.7 sq Km fairytale paradise of dense highland forest and misty spaces of Afro-alpine moorland, deep gorges and ravines where icy rivers plunge in glorious cascades and waterfalls such as the Gura (791ft) or Karura Falls (894ft). The Kikuyu name for the mountains is Nyandarua (drying hide), due to its distinctive outline. The Salient, stretching out towards the nearby town of Nyeri, was once an elephant migration route. These great animals remain within the park together with buffalo, a wide variety of antelope, giant forest hog, the elusive bongo antelope, black rhino, lions, leopards and hyenas. Encountering a group of elephants at a narrow bend in the road, in the middle of this thick luxuriant vegetation is a completely new sensation. At 2000m, forest gives way to dense clusters of bamboo. At 3500m, the vegetation is already scarce and is mostly composed of tracts of heather. Here, Giant Lobelias and Giant Senecio, which grow to heights of 5m, flourish. The highest point is Ol Doinyo Lesatima, at 3999m. A visit to either of these areas provides an opportunity for bird-watching in three distinctive vegetation zones. These are thick highland forest, bamboo forest and Afro-alpine moorland and no less than 13 species of sunbirds; including the northern double-collared, golden-winged, tacazze, green-headed, variable and scarlet-tufted malachite, along with the larger birds of prey such as the Mountain Buzzard and African Goshawk.
Aberdares National Park