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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Tsavo National Park

Size: 20,800 sq. km. Best time to visit: July-Sept.

The mammoth Tsavo National park is actually comprised of two parks: Tsavo East and Tsavo West. Tsavo West is more accessible and less arid and therefore enjoys more popularity. There are only two rivers in this vast area and drought has been a problem for the Tsavo ecosystems.

Tsavo West

Thousands of elephant and many rhinoceros inhabit the park as well as many lions – although none have proved worthy of their ancestors “man-eating” reputation. Other predators include cheetah, leopard, serval, hyena and caracal. The oasis of Mzima is a natural wonder that attracts wildlife of every variety. Clear, cool waters feed the pool from underground streams; these springs also provide Mombasa with most of its water supply. Not far from the springs, the lights of Ngulia Lodge attract thousands of migrant birds that are captured, ringed and released. Truly a birder’s delight.

Tsavo East

Only a small part of the larger east park is open to human intrusion, the rest remains an absolutely wild and undisturbed home for many African animals. In the areas where tourism is permitted one may view sunbathing crocodiles, one of the worlds longest (extinct) lava flows, and beautiful falls.

The number of elephant and Rhino killed by poachers in the Tsavo area – a number that reached into the thousands just 15 years ago – has been reduced to 0 in recent years.

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Accommodation

Ol Donyo Wuas

Ol Donyo Wuas (Maasai for “spotted hill”) (link) is comprised of a main building and 6 cottages – 3 of which are double units suitable for families – all with open fireplace, verandah with panoramic views, electricity and private bathroom with toilets and heated showers. Nature walks, cave walks and horse-back riding are just a sample of the available activities.

Ziwani Tented Camp

Located in view of Mt. Kilimanjaro, between the famous Amboseli game reserve and Tsavo West Game Park, Ziwani can accommodate up to 40 guests in private tents under thatched roofs. Each tent includes bathroom facilities and a private verandah.

Salt Lick Hilton Safari Lodge

Built on stilts overlooking a waterhole, the lodge features 96 guest rooms and an opportunity to view many different animals as they come to drink. Camel rides and regional entertainment can be arranged.

Taita Hills Safari Lodge

Located in the Taita Hills at the edge of Tsavo National Park, this lodge has 60 guest rooms and two suites with private bathroom and shower and panoramic views of the hotel’s own wildlife sanctuary. The lodge also offers swimming, mini-golf and camel riding.

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