Aberdare National Park

Aberdare National Park is probably the highest national park in the world, above 7,000 feet. The habitat of the Aberdare Mountains, like that of Mount Kenya that is on the other side of the Laikipia Plains, ranges from forest and thick bamboo to open moor land. Breathtaking waterfalls, brightly colored birds, soaring raptors, a fascinating and diverse plant world and gorgeous scenery make this national park both lovely and intriguing.

This is the area for those who are keen to fish in rivers such as the Naro Moru, the Thego. Aberdare National Park is also remembered as the guerrilla base of Kenyan heroes during their war for independence from the British. Established as a national park in 1950, Aberdare lies around two high peaks, Kinangop and Lesatima, with almost 50 kilometres of high moors stretching mistily between them.

The scenery here is stunning and the waterfalls particularly dramatic - the Gura Falls plunge and foam down the side of a 1500-foot rock face. Some of the indigenous wildlife in Aberdare National Park is equally as stunning. Melanistic black leopard, serval and genet can be found here, but are both shy and rare. Large numbers of buffalo, a few rhino, elephant, Colubus monkeys, bush pig and wart hog may be found in the forests. It is said that the elephant still remember the bombing raids by the British during the war for independence, and are thus extremely suspicious of mankind. The birding is excellent. Brightly coloured parrots, francolin, the strutting secretary bird and green ibis are among the species here. Sunbirds enjoy the open moors and raptors such as the rufous sparrow hawk, goshawk, buzzards and the crowned eagle scour the moors for prey.

The Aberdare National Park even has a Hollywood connection. This is the location where the film "Gorillas in the Mist", starring Sigourney Weaver, was made. The renowned naturalist studied the mountain gorillas of Rwanda and was murdered there. Perhaps even more famously, although rather longer ago, it was to Treetops, that the news of her father's death, and her accession to the throne, was brought to the then Princess Elizabeth.