Orientation & Visitor Information
The park is basically divvied up into two zones. The western part is dense forest and mostly interesting for the beauty of its terrain; here, on the Aberdare slopes, is where hikers and climbers may set out on foot accompanied by an armed ranger. Most visitors, however, stick to the developed Salient region, which occupies the eastern part of the park and is where the two lodges, Treetops and The Ark, are located and where there's far greater opportunity to spot animals. For current details on the park, contact the senior warden (email@example.com), who has his headquarters between Mweiga and Nyeri, on the B5 (the same road that provides access to the park through any of the eastern gates). Aberdare National Park is open daily from 6am till 6pm.
You can either drive to the Aberdares on paved roads all the way from Nairobi, or fly to Nanyuki and then drive via Nyeri (154km/95 miles from Nairobi) or Naro Moru to get to the park's eastern entrances; your ground operator can make all such arrangements for you. Smaller, less commercial airstrips (Mweiga and Nyeri) are also available for charter flights to points much closer to the park. There's a road that wends its way across the park, linking the eastern boundary with entrances to the west, where you can drive in from Naivasha (87km/54 miles from Nairobi) in the Rift Valley; this requires tremendous stamina, however, as the roads that cut through the park's mountain regions are tricky and seemingly endless -- although not without great vistas.
If you stay inside the park, it'll be at either The Ark or Treetops, and you'll be shuttled there as part of the package. Once you arrive, there's seldom any reason to move on or around until departure. If, however, you're staying for 2 nights or more (for most, an unlikely event), you can arrange for daytime game drives at an extra cost. These days, it's also possible to explore the park under your own steam -- a 4X4 is essential, and you will definitely need to get up-to-the-minute details on road accessibility, particularly following any rain.
Adults pay $50 and children $25 to enter Aberdare National Park (euros and sterling are also accepted); entry is by Safaricard only, which can be purchased and recharged at park headquarters not far from The Ark Gate near Nyeri. Note that shuttle buses going to the lodges inside the park will stop at park headquarters first -- so that guests can load sufficient credit onto their cards -- before proceeding to the gates. This can be a time-consuming and infuriating ordeal, and the fewer people who need to charge their cards, the shorter the wait will be. Visitors to Solio Game Reserve pay $40 each, plus there's a Ksh800 charge per vehicle and you'll pay a Ksh500 entry fee for your driver and/or guide.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.