Photo by Nina R

Explore Kenya’s Aberdare Mountains

The Aberdares of Kenya’s central highlands have inspired humans for centuries. The local Kikuyu people call the mountain range Nyandarua, or “drying hide,” after the shape of its shadow. Peaks reach up to 14,000 feet, then give way to deep valleys carved by rivers and spectacular waterfalls.

Aberdare National Park protects some of the wildest areas of the Aberdare mountains. The area features impressive diversity over three ecological zones: rainforest, bamboo forest, and moorlands.

Lush rainforests carpet the valleys, providing homes for colobus monkeys, leopards, elephants, and the rest of the Big 5.

elephants with Aberdare Mountains in the background

Elephants walk in the foothills of the Aberdare Mountains. Photo by Kim van der Waal.

Bamboo forests are found at 8,000 to 11,000 feet. Here, you might find the secretive bongo antelope. Although it’s the world’s third biggest antelope, it is not easy to find. The reason it’s so elusive? Unlike many antelopes, it is most active at night.

red antelope with fine white vertical stripes

Bongo antelope are a rare find because they are most active at night. Photo by Mathias Appel.

Dry moorlands with low-growing plants dot the higher elevations, making them reminiscent of the Alps. Here you may find leopards, as well as antelopes of almost every size—from the rabbit-sized suni to the horse-sized eland.

light brown eland eating tall grass

The eland is the largest antelope in Kenya. Photo by David Clode.

Black rhinos, lions, baboons, giant forest hogs, and Cape buffalo are other animals you may find in the Aberdares. Bird watching is astounding, with over 250 species recorded.

Aberdare is just one among many incredible Kenya parks. Explore more Kenya attractions.

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