Drive through Aberdare National Park





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  1. #1
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    Default Drive through Aberdare National Park

    Hi all,

    I am planning a route in Kenya and need some help.

    We are driving a 4 wheel drive with a rooftoptent.

    At the 15th of september we are leaving Lake Nakuru and heading towards Samburu.

    We want to drive through Aberdare National Park and stay here for 1 night.

    Would this be possible in september?
    And which gate should we enter and exit? And maybey a campsite where we can stay for 1 night?

    Thanks for the help!

    Freek

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    Default Re: Drive through Aberdare National Park

    Hi

    Yes, the Aberdares will be fine in September, but remember to take warm clothes.

    The gate you want is the Matubio Gate which is the western gate above Naivasha.

    The public campsite high on the moorlands is Reedbuck campsite. There are long drop loos, and water can be got from the fishing bandas nearby. Take your own firewood from outside the National park.

    Then exit the next day through the Treetops Gate. If you plan on doing Reedbuck to Samburu in one day, leave Reedbuck at first light. It will take quite a long time off the mountain.

    Safari njema!

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Drive through Aberdare National Park

    Thank you Wazungu Wawili!

    Maybey we will stay 1 night longer in Aberdare and camp the last night at Nyati Campsite.

    Or is 2 nights to much to spend here?

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    Default Re: Drive through Aberdare National Park

    Quote Originally Posted by Freek0416 View Post
    Thank you Wazungu Wawili!

    Maybey we will stay 1 night longer in Aberdare and camp the last night at Nyati Campsite.

    Or is 2 nights to much to spend here?
    Nyati campsite is a special campsite and needs to be booked beforehand. Special campsites are just pieces of Africa with no facilities, but are for one party only. They will rarely be used in the Aberdares. Special campsites cost more to camp at, plus the booking fee.

    I think the Aberdares are well worth two or more nights. There is a lot to see in this stunning mountain range - moorlands, forest, Giant Heathers, Afro-alpine flora, fauna and birds, and stunning waterfalls. Plus wildlife too, of course.

    Safari njema!

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    Default Re: Drive through Aberdare National Park

    Thanks again Wazungu Wawili,

    I think we will plan 2 nights!

    Todat or tommorow i will finish the trip. Is it possible for you to overlook it? To see if it will be possible?

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    Default Re: Drive through Aberdare National Park

    Quote Originally Posted by Freek0416 View Post
    Thanks again Wazungu Wawili,

    I think we will plan 2 nights!

    Todat or tommorow i will finish the trip. Is it possible for you to overlook it? To see if it will be possible?
    Hakuna matata! Just post your planned itinerary and I’ll have a look at it.

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    Default Re: Drive through Aberdare National Park

    Aberdares is definitely worth more then one night, it is a very special place. If you're into fly fishing, take a rod with - there are some nice trout in the rivers (not huge, but lively, as with most high altitude rivers with low nutrients, just watch your back for animals). Some great birding specials. As WW said, take warm clothes, it gets freezing at night, all year round, and take plenty of firewood.

    Fishing the Chania:
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Tony Weaver

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    Cooper Discoverer STT tyres, four sleeper Echo rooftop tent
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    Previously Land Rover 1968 SII, 1969 SIIA, 1973 SIII, 1983 Toyota HiLux 2litre, 2006 Land Rover Freelander TD4 HSE.

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    Default Re: Drive through Aberdare National Park

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Weaver View Post
    Aberdares is definitely worth more then one night, it is a very special place. If you're into fly fishing, take a rod with - there are some nice trout in the rivers (not huge, but lively, as with most high altitude rivers with low nutrients, just watch your back for animals). Some great birding specials. As WW said, take warm clothes, it gets freezing at night, all year round, and take plenty of firewood.

    Fishing the Chania:
    Wooh, now i really want to go to this place! I think this is a very special park in Kenya.

    Nice picture!

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    Default Re: Drive through Aberdare National Park

    The plan!

    1. Arrive at the end of the evening at Nairobi International Airport. - Kisiwa Guesthouse
    2. Pick up the car from roadtripafrica buy some stuff and heading towards the Maasai Mara - Somewhere around the talek gate
    3. Maasai Mara – Mara Coservancy – Oloololo Public Campsite
    4. Maasai Mara – Mara Coservancy – Oloololo Public Campsite
    5. Maasai Mara – Mara Coservancy – Oloololo Public Campsite
    6. Heading towards Lake Naivasha – Camp Carnelly
    7. Heading towards Lake Nakuru – Makalia Falls Public Campsite
    8. Lake Nakuru - Makalia Falls Public Campsite
    9. Heading towards Aberdare National Park – Reedbuck Campsite
    10. Aberdare National Park – Reedbuck Campsite
    11. Heading towards Buffalo Springs Riverside campsite?
    12. Buffalo Springs - Riverside campsite?
    13. Samburu National Reserve - Riverside campsite?
    14. Shaba National Reserve - Riverside campsite?
    15. Heading towards Nairobi – Kisiwa Guesthouse
    16. Heading towards Amboseli – Kimana Public Campsite
    17. Amboseli – Kimana Public Campsite
    18. Amboseli – Kimana Public Campsite
    19. Heading towards Lake Jipe – Lake Jipe Public Campsite
    20. Heading towards Tsavo East – Ndololo Public Campsite
    21. Tsavo East - Ndololo Public Campsite
    22. Heading towards Tsavo West – Chyulu Public Campsite
    23. Tsavo West – Chyulu Public Campsite
    24. Heading towards Nairobi, late evening flight.


    I still can't figure out where to stay in the Samburu / Buffalo Springs and Shaba Reserve. I thought you can free roam between Samburu and Buffalo Springs. And not between Samburu and Shaba.

    Hope this route is not to ambitious! This is not the first time we visit East Africa, but this will be the first time that we drive our own 4x4.

    Kindest regards!

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    Default Re: Drive through Aberdare National Park

    Looks good, Freek. I see you are following part of my “roads less travelled” route and visiting the lovely Lake Jipe.

    I don’t know Kisiwa Guesthouse in Nairobi. I think Roadtripkenya base their Ugandan-registered vehicles with Chris at Jungle Junction in Langata.

    Day 2: Ensure that you do the take over of the vehicle and your shopping as quickly as possible and get on the road to the Mara. We always reckon on taking 7 hours to the Mara Conservancy from Karen. Are you planning on entering the main reserve at Sekanani gate and then driving across to the Talek Gate, or are you planning on the road from Ngorengore to Oloololo Gate? If the latter, then it is a bit of a diversion to go to the Talek gate to camp.

    Day 11: Riverside campsite is in Samburu National Reserve. Park fees are transferable between Samburu NR, Buffalo Springs NR, and Shaba NR. As game reserves, they all belong to the Isiolo County Council. However, when camping at Riverside campsite in Samburu, it is easy enough to explore the adjacent Buffalo Springs which is just across the river. If I were going to Shaba, I would pack up camp and move to Shaba and camp there. However, in Shaba NR, two security guards are mandatory overnight and there is a cost for them. Please see this from the Kenyan Camper https://thekenyancamper.com/2018/04/...camping-kenya/

    Day 24: An early start from Chyulu campsite in Tsavo West NP should get you back to Nairobi before dark. You do not want to feel under any time pressure when driving on the main Mombasa-Nairobi road. And you definitely don’t want to be driving in the dark with all the trucks!

    Safari njema, and please, please write a trip report to let the forum know how you get on.

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    Default Re: Drive through Aberdare National Park

    [QUOTE=Wazungu Wawili;4193878]
    Day 24: An early start from Chyulu campsite in Tsavo West NP should get you back to Nairobi before dark. You do not want to feel under any time pressure when driving on the main Mombasa-Nairobi road. And you definitely don’t want to be driving in the dark with all the trucks! " ...

    Reply erased and re-replied below. Apologies
    Last edited by apfac; 2019/07/28 at 11:33 PM.

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    Default Re: Drive through Aberdare National Park

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    Looks good, Freek.

    (...)

    Day 24: An early start from Chyulu campsite in Tsavo West NP should get you back to Nairobi before dark. You do not want to feel under any time pressure when driving on the main Mombasa-Nairobi road. And you definitely don’t want to be driving in the dark with all the trucks!

    Safari njema, and please, please write a trip report to let the forum know how you get on.
    Hi Freek,

    You could not get better advise than with WW.

    It really looks Very good!

    WW has a point here (day 24). If you are flying that night, I would take the main Mombasa Rd to Nairobi (exiting at Mtito Andei Gate) instead of the C103-C102 (Chyulu gate). You will reach Nairobi by early afternoon, just in time for your final preparations for the flight. The C103 is very slow going. The drive from Amboseli to Lake Jipe is beautiful. Jipe itself is a must, and the drive from Lake Jipe to Maktau Gate was one of the drives we most enjoyed and retain on our memories for a long time.

    Just take it slowly and enjoy it!

    AP

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    Default Re: Drive through Aberdare National Park

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Weaver View Post
    Aberdares is definitely worth more then one night, it is a very special place. If you're into fly fishing, take a rod with - there are some nice trout in the rivers (not huge, but lively, as with most high altitude rivers with low nutrients, just watch your back for animals). Some great birding specials. As WW said, take warm clothes, it gets freezing at night, all year round, and take plenty of firewood.

    Fishing the Chania:
    Love that intense crouching picture, Tony! One definitely needs to watch one’s back when fishing in the high Aberdares.

    Also a fishing licence needs to be purchased plus the services of a ranger to guard one’s back.

    However, the lions that were reintroduced into the Aberdares some years ago have been removed: those reintroduced lions came from the plains and were wreaking merry havoc on the forest dwelling creatures such as the rare Giant Forest Hog. There are still, of course, leopards and, apparently, recently sighted wild dogs. Plus elephants - and the most dangerous animal in Africa, buffalo.

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    Default Re: Drive through Aberdare National Park

    Bongo is what everyone dreams of seeing in the wonderful Aberdares. So very rare, elusive and critically endangered. Your chances are next to zero. We have been extremely lucky to see them very late at night at The Ark.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bongo_(antelope)

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    Default Re: Drive through Aberdare National Park

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    Love that intense crouching picture, Tony! One definitely needs to watch one’s back when fishing in the high Aberdares.

    Also a fishing licence needs to be purchased plus the services of a ranger to guard one’s back.

    However, the lions that were reintroduced into the Aberdares some years ago have been removed: those reintroduced lions came from the plains and were wreaking merry havoc on the forest dwelling creatures such as the rare Giant Forest Hog. There are still, of course, leopards and, apparently, recently sighted wild dogs. Plus elephants - and the most dangerous animal in Africa, buffalo.
    Indeed - I fished the Chania when the lions were still there. Here's an extract from an article I wrote about it for Out There magazine:


    I was driving back to camp from a tense fishing session when a big black cat stepped into the headlights. "Leopard", my brain registered. Then my other faculties took over. A black leopard? I dived for my camera, nearly smashed the flash trying to mount the damn thing, focused on the cat and he was gone.

    I had just seen one of the rarest wildlife sights in the world, a melanistic leopard, pure black, unique to the Aberdare National Park in central Kenya. I was trembling and cursing as the elusive cat disappeared into the dark.

    But then, it HAD been a stressful day in Africa.

    Earlier, climbing down the steep path below the Chania, I slipped in a pile of steaming, fresh, buffalo #### and nearly smashed my trout rod. Fishing the Chania is nervous work.

    At the bottom of the Chania Falls, about a kilometre downstream, is a delightful pool where the rainbow trout rise free and wild. On the one side of the pool there's a big, overhanging rock to hide under, your back wedged into a crack. This rock is important, it means you can only be mauled from the front.

    At the top of the path, a small sign says "Beware of lions."

    The fishing was nerve-wracking but sent by the gods. There were fish, lots of fish, and Narina Trogons and Hartlaub's Turaco kho kho kho-iing in the forest above. It was a reluctant walk back as night fell, and to comfort myself, I fished a few pools above the waterfall. While wading out to cast to a rising trout, I saw traces of mud swirling in the main current, a sign of heavy rain upstream. So I moved out fast.

    Around the corner was the reason for the mud, a dozen or more elephant. The next day we saw a pride of fifteen lion not far from the Guria River, which we had fished two days earlier.

    Not your average trout stream.

    A few weeks later we met a man who had just returned from the Aberdares as part of a hunting party sent in to kill off problem lions. "They've attacked a couple of British soldiers on maneuvers in the Salient, north of the Chania, and a few years back they killed two Scandinavians at the Chania Falls. If you'd been fishing the Chania two weeks earlier, there's an eighty percent chance you would have been attacked, we shot three evil brutes down there."

    So long, and thanks for all the fish.
    Tony Weaver

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    Cooper Discoverer STT tyres, four sleeper Echo rooftop tent
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    Previously Land Rover 1968 SII, 1969 SIIA, 1973 SIII, 1983 Toyota HiLux 2litre, 2006 Land Rover Freelander TD4 HSE.

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    Default Re: Drive through Aberdare National Park

    Freek, you have been given advice from best experts on Kenya on this forum. I would just like to reiterate WW's sugestion about lodging on days 1 and 15 (your original plan is to spend those two nights at Kisiwa Guesthouse). Roadtrip Africa's base in Kenya is at Jungle Junction, so this would also be your most convenient lodging place in Nairobi. You can book one of their rooms or camp in their front yard. You can arrange a transfer from airport with them - their driver will wait for you on your arrival and take you directly to Jungle Junction in Karen. And next morning you can immediately take over the car, as it will be park right there at JJ.

    As WW said, Chris is the owner and is also a superb mechanic, who takes care of all the cars from Roadtrip Africa in Kenya. http://www.ioverlander.com/places/4514-jungle-junction Let me know if you need their email address, as I don't want to publish it here in the open forum without their concordance.
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    Default Re: Drive through Aberdare National Park

    I think Kisiwa Guesthouse is an Airbnb house in Karen. With the help of a taxi, it ought to be easy to get to Jungle Junction.

    The only thing that Freek needs to be aware of is how long the handover of a vehicle might take, plus the fact that shopping will take much longer than he might anticipate - and the shops often don’t open before 9.30 am.

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    Default Re: Drive through Aberdare National Park

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Weaver View Post
    Indeed - I fished the Chania when the lions were still there. Here's an extract from an article I wrote about it for Out There magazine: I was driving back to camp from a tense fishing session when a big black cat stepped into the headlights. "Leopard", my brain registered. Then my other faculties took over. A black leopard? I dived for my camera, nearly smashed the flash trying to mount the damn thing, focused on the cat and he was gone. I had just seen one of the rarest wildlife sights in the world, a melanistic leopard, pure black, unique to the Aberdare National Park in central Kenya. I was trembling and cursing as the elusive cat disappeared into the dark. But then, it HAD been a stressful day in Africa. Earlier, climbing down the steep path below the Chania, I slipped in a pile of steaming, fresh, buffalo #### and nearly smashed my trout rod. Fishing the Chania is nervous work. At the bottom of the Chania Falls, about a kilometre downstream, is a delightful pool where the rainbow trout rise free and wild. On the one side of the pool there's a big, overhanging rock to hide under, your back wedged into a crack. This rock is important, it means you can only be mauled from the front. At the top of the path, a small sign says "Beware of lions." The fishing was nerve-wracking but sent by the gods. There were fish, lots of fish, and Narina Trogons and Hartlaub's Turaco kho kho kho-iing in the forest above. It was a reluctant walk back as night fell, and to comfort myself, I fished a few pools above the waterfall. While wading out to cast to a rising trout, I saw traces of mud swirling in the main current, a sign of heavy rain upstream. So I moved out fast. Around the corner was the reason for the mud, a dozen or more elephant. The next day we saw a pride of fifteen lion not far from the Guria River, which we had fished two days earlier. Not your average trout stream. A few weeks later we met a man who had just returned from the Aberdares as part of a hunting party sent in to kill off problem lions. "They've attacked a couple of British soldiers on maneuvers in the Salient, north of the Chania, and a few years back they killed two Scandinavians at the Chania Falls. If you'd been fishing the Chania two weeks earlier, there's an eighty percent chance you would have been attacked, we shot three evil brutes down there." So long, and thanks for all the fish.
    Asante sana, Tony. Very evocative.

    As Douglas Adams might have said (in up-country Swahili), “Kwaheri na asante kwa samaki wote”...
    Last edited by Wazungu Wawili; 2019/07/30 at 12:07 AM.

  25. #19
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    Default Re: Drive through Aberdare National Park

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    As Douglas Adams might have said (in up-country Swahili), “Kwaheri na asante kwa samaki wote”...
    Ndio, kweli kabisa!
    Tony Weaver

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    2012 Mitsubishi Outlander.

    Previously Land Rover 1968 SII, 1969 SIIA, 1973 SIII, 1983 Toyota HiLux 2litre, 2006 Land Rover Freelander TD4 HSE.

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    Default Re: Drive through Aberdare National Park

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    Looks good, Freek. I see you are following part of my “roads less travelled” route and visiting the lovely Lake Jipe.

    I donÂ’t know Kisiwa Guesthouse in Nairobi. I think Roadtripkenya base their Ugandan-registered vehicles with Chris at Jungle Junction in Langata.

    Day 2: Ensure that you do the take over of the vehicle and your shopping as quickly as possible and get on the road to the Mara. We always reckon on taking 7 hours to the Mara Conservancy from Karen. Are you planning on entering the main reserve at Sekanani gate and then driving across to the Talek Gate, or are you planning on the road from Ngorengore to Oloololo Gate? If the latter, then it is a bit of a diversion to go to the Talek gate to camp.

    Day 11: Riverside campsite is in Samburu National Reserve. Park fees are transferable between Samburu NR, Buffalo Springs NR, and Shaba NR. As game reserves, they all belong to the Isiolo County Council. However, when camping at Riverside campsite in Samburu, it is easy enough to explore the adjacent Buffalo Springs which is just across the river. If I were going to Shaba, I would pack up camp and move to Shaba and camp there. However, in Shaba NR, two security guards are mandatory overnight and there is a cost for them. Please see this from the Kenyan Camper https://thekenyancamper.com/2018/04/...camping-kenya/

    Day 24: An early start from Chyulu campsite in Tsavo West NP should get you back to Nairobi before dark. You do not want to feel under any time pressure when driving on the main Mombasa-Nairobi road. And you definitely donÂ’t want to be driving in the dark with all the trucks!

    Safari njema, and please, please write a trip report to let the forum know how you get on.

    Thanks again Wazungu Wawili

    I really appreciate that you have taken time to look at my trip!

    Yeah i saw your “roads less travelled” and thought i want to make that drive to!

    Roadtrip told me that Kisiwa Guesthouse is situated at the office and that Adriaan is running this place. I have send an email to roadtrip to be sure, otherwise it is better to stay with Chris at the Jungle Junction.

    Day 2: The original plan was to enter the main reserve at Sekanani gate and then drive the next day towards Oloololo campsite. But maybey it is better to stay somewhere between the Sekanani gate and Nairobi, cause time can be a issue. Then we dont have to push the shopping and driving. Can you reccomend a place?

    Day 11. I think that your right, it is better to pack up camp and then camp in Shaba NR. Otherwise you lose a lot of time.

    Day 24. We certainly dont want to feel time pressure, so maybey we are leaving 1 day earlier and visit Nairobi NP. But we still think about that.

    I will certainly write an update report of the trip!

    Looking forward to it!

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