Aberdares National Park

Size: 676 sq. km. Best time to visit: Anytime

The Aberdares National Park takes its name from the majestic mountain range that runs through it, stretching due north from Nairobi. The park also protects a tract of forested land known as the Salient, which stretches to the east of the range; it is in this area that the famous Ark and Treetops Lodges are located.

The forested Salient is the best place to see animals and provides a home for elephant, rhinoceros, warthog, giant forest hog, dikdik, bongo, several types of monkey and cats such as lions, leopards and serval. The park is also home to many brilliantly coloured birds and insects. Although not as rich in large animal life, the Aberdare mountain range offers dream-like vistas, deep valleys and towering peaks.

Aberdares National Park is one of the best places to catch a glimpse of night time wildlife thanks to the Ark, which is a game lodge built over a waterhole and salt lick that have been lit up to allow guests to witness the secret night time activities of the African bush.

Accommodation

Aberdare Country Club

The Country Club features 46 luxury rooms/cottages, many of which offer views of the Aberdares, Mt. Kenya, or the wide-open plains below. Horse-back riding, swimming, golf, and tennis are all available on the grounds.

The Ark

Overlooking a lighted waterhole in the heart of the Aberdares National Park, the Ark offers unique opportunities to observe African wildlife at night. 60 luxury rooms with (small) bathrooms and showers are available complete with buzzers to announce the arrival of big game in the night.

Treetops

Built as a two-room treehouse in 1932, the Treetops is now a unique 50-room lodge overlooking two waterholes where copious wildlife can be observed and photographed at close range. Accommodations include suites with private bathroom facilities and private twin or double rooms with shared bathroom facilities.

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Mount Kenya National Park

Size: 700 sq. km. Best time to visit: Jan.-Feb., July-Oct.

Mt. Kenya National Park has got it all… from icy glaciers to bamboo forest. The mountain can be climbed by trekkers of many different skill levels and always offers breath-taking views.

Wildlife at Mt. Kenya is diverse and includes many of the safari favorites including black rhino, leopard, Black and White Colobus and Sykes monkeys, bushbuck, buffalo, elephant, baboon, waterbuck, giant forest hog, genet cat, and hyena. Because of the ever-changing altitude, the plant life in the park is varied as well; among park plants grow the striking Giant groundsel and Lobelia. Habitats like mountain forest, bamboo forest, high-altitude heath and moorland all support a variety of animals and birds.

Another attraction associated with Mt. Kenya is the equator, which runs across the mountain’s slopes. There are many places to pay a visit to the equatorial boundary and snap a few pictures straddling the hemispheres.

Did You Know?

According to the Kikuyu, Mt. Kenya is the home of the supreme being, Ngai. The Kikuyu word for the mountain is Kere Nyaga, meaning Mountain of Brightness.

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Accommodation

Mount Kenya Safari Club

Elegant cottages, manicured lawns and decorative ponds provide a backdrop for the jet-setting crowd that frequents the Mt. Kenya Safari Club. With 114 luxury-class villas, cottages and suites and unparalleled gourmet dining, the club is sure to satisfy the most discerning guests.

Sweetwaters Tented Camp

Located outside of Mt. Kenya National Park, in a private 24,000 acre game reserve, Sweetwaters offers spectacular views of Mt. Kenya. En-suite luxury tents under thatched roofs ensure a pleasant stay while photographing the animals that come drink at the floodlit waterhole ensure an exciting one.

Lewa Downs

On the northern slopes of Mt. Kenya lies Lewa Downs, one of Kenya’s original colonial ranches and home to the Craig family. Wilderness Trails, the Craig’s safari operation, caters for 12 guests in comfortable cottages. Horse-back riding, nature walks and night game drives are all available.

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