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Aberdare National Park

Aberdare National Park is a conservation area of 766 sq kilometers (296 sq mi) at Aberdare Range or Sattima Range in Nyandarua County and Nyeri County in Central Province, Kenya, which stretches across the terrain as it covers an altitude of about 2,100 meters (7,000 feet) to 3,999 meters (13,120ft) to a deep v-shaped valley, intersected with streams, rivers, and waterfalls.

Aberdare National Park in the lower part includes moorlands, bamboo forests and rainforests. Rhino Ark is formed as a charity devoted to protect this habitat area. The traditional beliefs of Kikuyu people say the Aberdare Range where this park is located is one of Ngai or God's houses.

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Aberdare Range

The Aberdare Range is a 160 kilometer long mountain range on the plateau in Nyandarua County just south of the Equator. The mountains form part of the eastern edge of the Great Rift Valley that flows roughly north to south. To the west it drops sharply to the Kinangop Plateau and to the east has a more gentle slopes. The summit of Mount Satima (3,999 meters, 13,120 feet) can be seen from Lake Naivasha and Mau Escarpment.

The second highest peak at the southern end of the range is Mount Kinangop at 3,906 meters (12,815 ft). Mount Kenya is as high as 5,199 meters (17,057 ft) as the second highest mountain in Africa after Kilimanjaro is located east of Aberdare Range.

The Aberdares is a water catchment area for the Sasumua dam and Ndakaini dam that provides most of the water for Nairobi. Mountain forest is a catchment area for the Tana River as the largest river in Kenya that supplies water to the Seven Forks hydroelectric compound that generates more than 55 percent of the country's total electricity output.

Flora

The main ecosystems are rain forest, bamboo forest and moorland. The west bank is a steep slope and the eastern edge is a forested slopes slope as home to a variety of wildlife. More than 778 vegetation and plant species, subspecies and varieties include camphor, African juniper (Juniperus procera), broad-leaved yellowwood (Podocarpus latifolius) and African redwood (Hagenia abyssinica).

Endemic plants in the forest include Lobelia deckeniisspsattimae, Helichrysum gloriadei and Alchemilla hageniae. Sub alpine vegetation at an altitude of 3,300 meters and above is home to giant groundsell (Dendrosenecio johnstonii), Lobelia deckenii and heath (Erica excelsa). The shrub community includes Erica arborea and Hebenstretia angolensis.

Montane humid forest is dominated by Macaranga capensis and Newbutonia macrocalyx to the east side of the range. The region also hosts the precious commercial species including Aningeria adolfi-friederici, Ocotea usambarensis and Syzygium guineense which is the most striking forest on the Kikuyu cliff.

Xeromorphic evergreen forest on the northern and western slopes which has several well known species including olive (Olea europaea, Olea capensis, Olea hochstetteri), podo (Podocarpus latifolius), and cedar (Juniperus procera). Sub-montane forest is a seasonal forest cover on the north-eastern slopes dominated by Ekebergia capensis, Nuxia congesta, Cassipourea malossana and Calodendrum capense.

Fauna

Animals that are easily observed include African leopard (Panthera pardus pardus), African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana), East African wild dog (Lycaon pictus lupinus), giant forest hog (Hylochoerus meinertzhageni), imbabala (Tragelaphus sylvaticus), mountain reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula), waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus), cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer), Suni (Neotragus moschatus), side-striped jackal (Canis adustus).

Olive baboon (Papio anubis), black-and-white colobuses and Sykes' monkey (Cercopithecus albogularis). Rarer appearances include African golden paint (Caracal aurata), serval (Leptailurus serval) and bongo (Tragelaphus eurycerus). The park also contains a large population of eastern black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli). More than 250 species of birds include African goshawk (Accipiter tachiro), Aberdare cisticola (Cisticola aberdare) and Jackson's francolin (Pternistis jacksoni).

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Location: Nyandarua County and Nyeri County, Central Province, Kenya.

Routes and public transport: Flights to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi City, then drive north to Aberdare National Park for 160 kilometers (99 miles) via Nyeri City, Nyahururu Town or Naivasha Town. Two airstrip in Nyeri and Mweiga.

Nyeri City to reach Treetops Gate, Wandare Gate, Ark Gate, Kiandongoro Gate, and Ruhuruina Gate. Nyahururu Town to reach the Rhino Gate and Shamata Gate. Naivasha Town to reach Mutubio Gate.

Advice: March to May and October to December are rain sessions where the streets are muddy and more difficult to access. January to February and June to September is a good time to visit.

Aberdare National Park offers wildlife safaris and birdwatching. Fishing trout at Guru Karuru and Chania River. Climb to the Lesatima Peak, Kinangop Peak, Twin Hills, Elephant Hills, and Table Mountains. Walk through the moorland and visit the waterfalls.

Park entry and charges (2013):
  • East African Citizens (adults): 300 KSh
  • East African students and children: 200 KSh
  • East African Residents (adults): 1500 KSh
  • East African students and children: 500 KSh
  • Nonresident adults: US$52
  • Nonresident students and children:US$26

The park has many ways to stay including the Treetops Lodge is a tree house cottage, The Ark Tree Lodge is designed in the form of Noah's Ark, and the Aberdare Country Club offers horseback riding safaris and golf.

Campsites/Bandas including Sapper Hut has 2 bedrooms and an external bathroom, Tusk Camp Banda has two bedrooms for 8 bedrooms, the Fishing Lodge has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms for 7 guests.



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