|Overview||Things to do||Suitability||Country Info (Kenya)|
The Aberdares are an isolated volcanic range that forms the eastern wall of the rift valley, running roughly 100km north south between Nairobi and Thomsons Falls. Soils are red and of volcanic origin, but rich in organic matter. There are two main peaks, Ol Donyo Lesatima (3,999m) and Kinangop (3,906m) separated by a long saddle of alpine moorland at over 3,000m. From 1947 to 1956, the misty and rainy forests in the range served as a hide for the Mau-Mau guerrilla. The park was gazetted in 1950 with an extension of 584 km², but was afterwards enlarged to 770 km², making it the third largest park in the country.
The park is the highest in all Africa, since most of the plateau is located above an altitude of 3,000 m. The highest peaks in the park are the Kinangop, with 3,906 m, and the Oldonyo Lesatima, "the mountain of the young bull" in the Maa language of the Maasai, with 4,001 m. The landscape is dominated by deeply foggy rain forest, which confers the park a fairyland atmosphere. Trouts breed in the mountain streams, that burst down spectacular waterfalls, like the Keruru Kahuru of 270 m and the Gura of 240 m in the South area, or the Chania Falls in the central sector of the park. Due to the high humidity, the tracks crossing the park are muddy for a large part of the year.
Aberdare contains a rich botanic wealth, a mixture of equatorial exuberance and alpine vegetation. Above the 2,000 m level, the rain forest gives way to the bamboo jungles, that at 3,000 m become mountain prairies in which groundsel and giant lobelias grow high.
The Aberdare range, 160 km long, is located in the Central Highlands, Central Province, west of Mount Kenya and north of Nairobi, serving as the Kenyan Rift Valley's east wall. The national park comprises a longitudinal strip from south to north, with a projection toward the east denominated The Salient, that runs down to an altitude of 2,130 m, near the town of Nyeri. The Salient has its origin in an ancient migratory route of elephants between the range and Mount Kenya.