The Aberdare Mountain Ranges soar to peaks of 13,000 feet and dip into deep, V shaped valleys with streams and rivers cascading over spectacular waterfalls, including Kenya's longest fall of approximately 1,000 feet. Located in the heart of the Kikuyu tribe highlands area in central Kenya, traditional folklore states that the Aberdare Mountains are one of the homes of Ngai, God.
To the east of the ranges are the fertile farming lands of the Kikuyu tribe, which were settled by the colonists in the early decades of the twentieth century. The area between the Aberdares and Mount Kenya is part of what became known as the European highlands. To the west, the range falls steeply away into the Rift Valley and offers superb views of Lake Naivasha and the distant Mau Escarpment.
There are three main eco-systems within the Aberdare Mountains: the forest, which gives way to dense bamboo forests, which itself gives way to moorland as the altitude rises.
The forest is home to a multitude of elephant, buffalo, giant forest hog and the endangered black rhino. The Aberdares are also an excellent area for spotting the elusive leopard and occasional sightings have been made of the Golden cat. Black and white Colobus monkeys and Sykes monkeys are easily seen, as are waterbuck, reedbuck, duikers, serval cats and bushbuck. Melanistic cats appear to be quite common in the high altitudes of the Aberdares as black serval cats are spotted fairly often.
The best viewing in the forest areas is in the Salient area of the park, where both Treetops and The Ark lodges provide nighttime viewing in this area of slightly less dense forest. As you rise in altitude through the bamboo belt, it is possible to spot the elusive Bongo antelope and the giant forest hog. Bird viewing is excellent; keep an eye out for the magnificent crowned eagle as it hunts for one its favorite meals, a Colobus monkey.
Once above 10,000 feet, the bamboo gives way to rolling moorlands, where crystal clear streams are well stocked with trout, and varieties of lobelia, groundsel and heather cover much of the ground. Here eland, lion, elephant and buffalo may be found in addition to the numerous birds, such as the Jackson's francolin, sparrow hawk, African goshawk, sunbirds and plovers.
The moorland area offers superb scenery and excellent opportunities for high altitude hiking and fly-fishing, which is encouraged as the trout is not an indigenous species.
The area is also famous as the 1950s headquarters of the Mau Mau Rebellion, with 'General' Kimathi's hideout still a much-visited attraction. Princess Elizabeth became Queen of the United Kingdom while staying at the now famous Treetops Lodge.
A very different landscape from the wide, open plains of the African savanna, the Aberdares have been described as ' Scotland with lions' and is a well worth a stop on any tour of Kenya.
6 days Trekking Aberdares
Mountain Cuisine: The menus for all climbs are specially prepared to provide a balanced diet of fresh fruit, vegetables, plenty of protein and carbohydrates. We have tried to choose food items that are easiest to digest at high altitude. Our cooks undergo extensive training and we have ongoing workshops to review menus. The cooks are particularly vigilant in their hygiene practices as contracting stomach bugs is common for visitors to the developing world.
Dinners are typically a main course with vegetable and salad. Chicken and fish are served at some of the days during the climb, with pastas and rice dishes being served in the middle of the climb while up high. Lunches are often on the trail and usually consist of cold cuts and vegetables laid out on a table so you can make your own sandwich. Fresh hot vegetable soups are served at every meal, and packet soup is available on request between meals as is coffee and tea. Breakfast is your choice: granola, toast, fruit, eggs, and sometimes pancakes or French toast. While hiking some people have a favorite snack that they like; it is a good idea to bring this from home.
Fit to trek. The Machame Route is a strenuous, but not technical, climb and no mountain-climbing experience is necessary. But there's no avoiding the steep ascents and high altitudes that make robust physical fitness (and a minimum age of 16 years) a prerequisite for this trip. You'll want to consult your physician before undertaking this unforgettable adventure. Alternative independent itineraries. These include the more remote anddemanding Rongai, Shira, Umbwe and Western Breach routes - ask for details.
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