The Aberdare Forest Mountain Ranges, Kenya Destinations

The Aberdare Forest Mountain Ranges, Kenya Destinations 

 The Aberdares (formerly, the Sattima Range "the mountain of the young bull", Kikuyu: Nyandarua) are the third highest range of mountains in Kenya, 160 km long reaching a summit of just over 4000m north of Kenya's capital Nairobi and just south of the Equator. This massive range is well known for its thick salient forests, and the prolific game.

The Aberdare Range forms a section of the eastern rim of the Great Rift Valley running roughly north to south. On the west, the range falls off steeply into the Kinangop Plateau and then into the Great Rift Valley. On the east, the range slopes more gently. Lake Naivasha and the distant Mau Escarpment can be seen from peaks in the range.

These high altitude forests are broken by moorlands and plains, and through the abundant tree cover there are sensational views of the Rift Valley and the peak of Mt Kenya. The mountain forests are catchment areas for the Tana River, the largest river in Kenya, supplying water to the Seven Forks hydroelectric power complex which generates over 55 percent of Kenya’s total electricity output. The Aberdares are also the water catchment area for the Sasumua dam and the Ndakaini dam, which provide most of the water for Nairobi.

The main ecosystems within the mountain range are rainforest giving way to dense bamboo forests and then moorland.  The Aberdares Ranges Forest is a hidden world of wildlife. The thick vegetation provides perfect cover for countless species. Very large herds of Elephant and Buffalo move almost silently through the undergrowth, while overhead noisome birds and colobus monkeys dominate the canopy.

At night the forest comes alive, the cries of hyrax and the distinctive rasping growl of leopard echoing among the trees. The Aberdares has two ‘Tree Hotels’, unique safari lodges set high in the canopy above waterholes and natural salt licks. Night sees an unending procession of game emerge from the forests to visit these clearings. This is an ideal opportunity for guests to unobtrusively observe game at length.

A night in the Aberdares is unforgettable. Elephant herds surround the waterholes, drink and then fade way into the forest. Buffalo bulls fight over territory in spectacular battles. Sleek Genet cats descend from the trees and slip through halls of the lodge. the Occasionally a Rhino or the elusive Bongo antelope appear and visit the waterhole.

The Aberdares can also be explored by vehicle, or on foot. There are trekking trails throughout the forests, and across the moorlands. A few days spent here is one of Kenya’s best forest treks.

The foothills of the Aberdares are ideal for exploring on horseback and there are crystal clear mountain streams that abound with Trout. The Aberdares are a great place for waterfalls. There are a series of spectacular falls along the range, and at Nyahururu, Thompson's Falls have became a popular rest stop for travelers.

The major rivers from Aberdare Forest are Athi and Tana, which flow into the India Ocean, Ewaso Nyiro that drains into Lorian Swamp and River Malewa that drains into Lake Naivasha. The ranges also have several tributaries, and higher up are bog markings that are the source of the rivers on the moorlands and afro-alpine. The Athi, Lake Naivasha, Tana and Ewaso Nyiro river basins have their source in Aberdare Forest Reserve.


Why Visit The Aberdare Forest Mountain Ranges, Kenya.

  • Visit the third highest range of mountains in Kenya.
  • For the sensational views of the Rift Valley and the peak of Mt Kenya.
  • Visit a high altitude forest near the equator.
  • Fish for trout in the crystal clear mountain streams.
  • Visit the place where Queen Elizabeth of England assented to the throne.

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