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Attractions in Aberdare National Park

Attractions in Aberdare National Park, what to See in Aberdare National Park? Kenya Wildlife safari, Bird watching, Mountain climbing at Satima peak, Trout fishing in Aberdare park, wildlife safaris to Aberdare park Kenya. Aberdare National Park is found in Kenya which is located in the eastern region of the African continent along the geographical co-ordinates of 0o25’48”S 36o43’57”E. Aberdare National Park is located in central Kenya and its bordered by Naivasha, Kingono game ranch in the south west, Ndaragwa and Ndiara border this park in the north. Abendare national park covers 766sqkm. Abendare National Park is found on a higher altitude of about 2000m or 6600ft above sea level to 4000m or 13000ft above sea level. Abendare National Park has V-shaped valleys that cris-crossed by streams, waterfalls to add to its already dramatic and beautiful scenery

This park has attractions lions, leopards, elephants, Africa wild dogs, giant forest hog, bushbuck, striped jackals, elands, olive baboonz, black and white colobus and skyes monkey, African golden cat, eastern black rhinos.  Birds in Aberdare National Park include African goshawk, Abyssinian crimson wing, African paradise flycatcher, African yellow warbler, augur buzzard, bar tailed trogon, crowned eagle, African green pigeon, hartlaub’s turaco, cinnamon chested bee-eater, white headed wood hoopoe, narina trogon, silvery cheeked hornbill, African thrush.

Aberdare National Park experiences a tropical savannah climate with 2 wet seasons which come in October- November with shorter rains and march to May with longer rains. During this time Aberdare National Park experiences temperatures of lows of 5oC or 41oF and highs of 18oC or 64oF. The dry season comes around in the months of January- February and June- September in which this area experiences average temperatures of lows of 15oC or 59oF and highs of 17oC or 64oF.

Attractions in Aberdares National Park

Wildlife safari in Aberdare National park

The Park inhabits a big number of big game, like lion, leopards, African elephant, giant forest hog, bushbuck, black rhino, giraffe, buffalo, stripped jackals, duikers, water buck, eland, crocodiles and many more.  The thick tropical rainforest hosts primates like Sykes, olive baboons, colobus monkeys among others. Some of the rare species available include golden cat, the bongo antelope, serval cats, and wild dogs.

Jackals – Attractions in Aberdare National Park

Jackals are small or medium sized omnivores predators that have mastered the art of opportunistic scavenging always feeding off carcass kills made by other bigger predators like lions, leopards and cheetahs. The jackals have black coloured backs or sometimes golden colored backs. The rest of their body is reddish brown or ginger in color these opportunistic hunters have a body length of 70-85cm or 27-33in with a long tail of 25cm or 10in and a shoulder height of 40cm or 16in and a body weight of 5-12kg or 11-26in. jackals feed on almost anything of flesh that is available regardless of its state whether decomposing or not. They can also eat grass when meat is scarce. Jackals usually make life long couples, they have a gestation period of about 57-90 days after which the female will give birth to 2-4 puppies in a den, she created underground. These puppies are born blind and it may take them a week to gain their site. The pups are usually weaned at 2 months old. Jackals become sexually mature between 6-11 months and usually will leave their parents. The jackals have a life span of about 10-12years in their natural habitats.

African bush elephants – Attractions in Aberdare National Park

African elephants are the largest land mammals in the world with a male elephant weighing in at 4,700-6,048kg or 10,362-13,334Ib and a shoulder height of 3.2-4.0m or 10.5-13.1ft while their female counterparts weigh in at 2,160-3,232kg or 4,762-7,125Ib and a shoulder height of 2.2-2.6m or 7.2-8.5ft. these land giants have 24 teeth in their mouths and usually lose their teeth 4-6 times in their life time which lies between 60-70 years. What sets these land giants apart from the rest of crowd is their elongated tusks which are in fact their second set of incisors. This means that the tusks are very strong as they are used to up root trees and also as weapons they use while fighting. The tusks weigh between 23-45 kg or 55-99Ib with a length of 1.5-2.4m or 5-8 ft.

Elephants usually live in groups called families which comprise of 10 or more closely related females with their calves and each of these families is led by an older female called a matriarch. Elephants have the ability to distinguish and communicate with each other using low frequency infrasonic calls.  With a body mass that is compared to nothing else on land, African elephants have to feed on an average of 450 kg or 992Ib of foliage to sustain their huge bodies and also drink to over 50 liters of water per day. In fact, these elephants have the ability to smell water to up to 20 km or 12miles away. Elephants have an exposed skin so in order to control over heating of their body, they flap their big ears so as to carry away the heat or bathe in water ponds.

It is believed that when an elephant flaps its ears, it can lose about 10oF of heat hence always staying cool even in the hottest temperatures. They also employ their elongated trunk to carry water and pour it over their ears to try and cool themselves. These land giants have very thin hairs around body parts such as eyes and noses and these are mainly for ensuring that germs and other bacteria don’t find it easy to enter the elephant’s body through these parts. The elephant trunk is a master piece of creation as it is equipped with 40000 muscles which is way more than an entire human body has at only 639 muscles. This makes the trunks a very strong and agile part of the elephant that can do many things.

The elephant trunk is also used for breathing, snorkeling and also as an extended arm for holding, lifting or pushing anything they want to carry.  A female elephant reaches sexual maturity at the age of 10-12 years and can reproduce after every 3-6 years throughout its lifetime. All elephants have a very poor metabolism and that’s why they eat a lot of food but ¾ of it will come out of the elephants undigested as dung. Due to the poor metabolic system, elephant calves have been recorded doing something bizarre and that is eating dung that has been passed out by their mothers but this is all because elephant calves can’t process raw grass hence, they have to resort to eating pre-processed food that has been passed out as dung.

They have a gestation period of up to 22 months being the longest in all land mammals. Just like humans and apes, elephants are also highly intelligent species with a brain that weighs about 5kg or 11Ib which about 4 times heavier than that of human making it the heaviest brain of any land mammal. With such a brain, these land giants are believed to exhibit character traits like grief, learning, sense of humor, compassion, self-awareness, a very strong and vivid memory, play and use of tools and possibly a language.

Lions – Attractions in Aberdare National Park

These can be easily sighted in Aberdare National Park on a good day. Lions are part of the big cate family and are muscular, deep chested with rounded heads. Most of the African lion males can distinguished from their females by the presence of a mane around the necks and heads of male African lions which is clearly absent in females but there quite many cases in Africa where the males also don’t have a mane or have a very short and thin one. The male lions are usually bigger than the females but their sizes vary according to location. In east Africa, adult female lions have a body length of 160-184cm or 63-72in weighing in at 119.5kg or 263Ib on average while the adult males have a body length of 184-208cm or 72-82in weighing in at 174.9kg or 386Ib on average.

Lions are social animals who live in groups called prides. A pride is always led by a dominant male and their highly territorial animals controlling vast expanses that are strategic with a lot of prey and water. Male dominant lions are responsible for protecting the pride and they will fight off other male invaders, in case the dominant male is defeated by the invading lions, the victor lions will kill off all the cubs that are off springs to the defeated dominant male as a way of ending its blood lineage.  Lions are carnivores and are at the top of the food chain feeding on almost all browsers and grazers within their domain due to their ability to hunt as a pride and carry out well coordinated and planned attacks which enables them to take down prey that can even be between 2-4 times bigger than them such as zebras, elephants and buffaloes.

Lions usually hunt at night because of their well-developed sense of sight especially at night where their vision is almost 6 times better than that of humans due to the presence of white patches around their eyes which enable them to absorb even the smallest amount of light available during the cover of darkness. Hunting among lions is an affair carried out by female lions mostly and juvenile males and when a kill has been made by the lionesses in a pride, it’s always the dominant male lion who will eat first up to his fill then the rest of the pride will feed on what has remained after the he has finished eating. They have a gestation period of 97 days and a life span of about 10-14 years.

Leopards – Attractions in Aberdare National Park

Leopards are some of the big cat family predators that roam the plains of savanna and they are at the top of the food chain together. Leopards are usually taken to be the same with cheetahs but they are completely different as cheetahs have tear marks on their faces small round spots while leopards have no this distinctive mark on their faces and have larger rosettes on their body. The skin color of leopards’ ranges from pale yellow to golden or yellowish brown with rosettes and this enables these super predators to camouflage so that they can stalk their prey without ever being noticed. Male leopards are muscular with short limbs and a broad head, the males have an average shoulder height of 60-70cm or 24-28in and weigh in at 37-90kg while the females have an average shoulder height of57-64cm or 22-25in and weigh in between26-60kg.

The cheetah has a very long tail that’s white tipped with a length of 60-100cm or 24-39in and this enables the leopards make quick sharp turns at high speed while on a chase. Leopards can sometimes have black color and this is caused by melanism which is a recessive gene in these animals and when a leopard is having this phenomenon, it turns from being called a leopard to a black panther. Leopards are usually solitary animals and they have a gestation period of 90-105 days and can live in their natural habitat for 12-17 years.

Birds in Aberdare National Park in Kenya

Birds in Aberdare National Park include African goshawk, Abyssinian crimson wing, African paradise flycatcher, African yellow warbler, augur buzzard, bar tailed trogon, crowned eagle, African green pigeon, hartlaub’s turaco, cinnamon chested bee-eater, white headed wood hoopoe, narina trogon, silvery cheeked hornbill, African thrush.

Birds in Kenya
Birds in Kenya

African goshawk: This bird is mainly grey upperparts which tend to be darker in males while its underparts are whitish marked with rufous, the underwing is pale rufous fading to white. Its flight feathers are and tail vary from sooty brown too grey bar above, white with grey bars. Its bill is black, the cere is greenish grey, the eyes are yellow and feet are yellow. Females weigh 270-510g while males are smaller weigh 150-340g, with a wingspan 211-275mm. this bird makes a characteristic clicking call, like 2 stones being knocked together after every 2-3 seconds.

Narina trogon: The Narina trogon’s was named in commemoration of the wife of a French ornithologist called Le Vaillant who derived the name Narina from a khoikhoi word as he couldn’t easily pronounce his wife’s given name. Back to the bird itself, it has a body length of 32-34cm, the Narina birds exhibit sexual dimorphism with males having more colors than a female that only has soft brown and dull red colors. The males make a repeated low-pitched hoot during courtship. The diet of these birds consists of insects, rodents and reptiles.

Silvery cheeked hornbill: This bird has a body 75-80cm or 30-31in, their casquered bill is cream in colour, the head of this bird has silver grey feathers while the rest of the plumage is mainly of iridescent. The lower back rump thighs and outer tail feathers are coloured in white. These birds lay about 4 eggs on average which they incubate 40days.

Cinnamon chested bee-eater: This bird has a body length 22cm or 8.7in with a body weght of 17-38g or 0.6-1.34oz. these birds have a bright green head, back and tail. The throat is woth a a black outline or collar and a cinnamon brown chest, when these birds perch, they exhibit a blackish inner tail orange base and white tip. They make a tseep tseep sound call. This bird habituates in a mountain region near the forest edges.

Abyssinian crimson wing: This bird has a bright crimson wings mantle back and rump, the male Abyssinian crimson wing has greyish olive apart from the blackish lores while the rest of the upper parts except for the short, rounded, black tail are deep crimson. The chin is dull yellow while the rest of the underparts are greyish olive.  Its bill is black with dark brown eyes and legs. Juveniles are browner above with only patches of red color. It measures 10-11cm in length with a body weight of 10.9-14g. it has a soft tsip-tsip sound call.

African thrush: This is a passerine bird with a dark olive grey upper parts while underparts show a whitish evenly brown streaked side throat, the breast is greeyish brown with pale buff orange orange  with this colour. The belly and vent are white. Its yellow orange bill. This bird has a body measures 21-23cm and weighs 46-78g.

White wood hoopoe: This bird has a white head, slightly curved bright red break and red legs and feet. The iridescent plumage is dark blue, it has a 30-35cm or 12-14in. the male white headed wood hoopoe hhas a foreface, fore crown and throat buffish white. While foraging, this bird makes a frequent high pitched kuk note. They feed mainly arthropods like adult and larval beetles grasshoppers, ants, termte and spiders.

Activities in aberdare national park Kenya

Bird watching in Aberdare National park

Bird watching in Aberdare national park, is most ideal; be sure to see over 250 species of different birds like sparry hawks, eagles, sunbirds, plovers, Aberdare cisticola, goshawks, deckens hornbill, peacock and many others.

Mountain climbing at Satima peak in Aberdare National park

Satima peak offers great sightseeing opportunities. This activity chains views of the great rift valley to the west with the amazing horizon view of Mount Kenya. Observe the surrounding lake Naivasha, Mt Kenya and Mt Kirimanjaro, lake Nakuru and the Daiga hills on a clear day while at the horizon. Satima peak is about 4001meters high and it can take about 2-3hours of hike. A morning trek to the top of Satima peak would be the most ideal.

Trout fishing in Aberdare National park

This is also another popular activity in the moorland`s in the ice-cold Guru Karuru and Chania Rivers within the park. Other attractions worth visiting include the elephant hill, marked with several trails of the African elephant, the Twin hills, Table Mountains and the beautiful Thomson falls.

Accessing Aberdare National Park Kenya.

Accessing Aberdare National Park can be achieved by both road and air transport means

Road transport: Aberdare National Park is160km or 100miles or 2.5-hour drive away from Nairobi city the capital of Kenya and 20km or 13miles southwest of Nanyuki. The ride to Aberdare National Park is quite a comfortable one for the greater part as it done of well tarmacked roads but it is on bumpy murram road from Nanyuki onwards.

Air transport: Flights to Aberdare National Park are provided by Air Kenya and Safari link and these flights depart from Wilson airport in Nairobi at 08:00hrs and 16:15hrs daily.

Featured Park: Masai Mara

Maasai Mara National Reserve lies in southwestern Kenya in the Kenyan rift valley province in Narok County bordering Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.