A Guide To Chyulu Hills National Park Kenya

Chyulu Hills National Park Kenya is a magical land of black frozen lava studded with blazing red-hot poker trees; of shoals of extinct volcanoes wreathed in dense forest abs hung with Spanish moss, the Chyulu hills coil a sleeping dragon on the lion – gold plains of his treasure. The pink haloed peak of Mount Kilimanjaro rises to the west and all around stretch the mirage miles of Maasai land, dusty, dry and stalked by scarlet cloaked herders and dust plumed cattle .

Chyulu Hills National Park comprises the eastern flanks of Chyulu Hills including about half the forest area. The park boundary runs down the centre of the hills along the lines of the peaks. The remaining western portion of the hills is part of the west Chyulu Game Conservation Area and owned by several Maasai Group ranches

Facts About Chyulu Hills National Park

Altitude: 1,500 – 2,160 m above sea level.
Area: 471 sq km.
Location: Makueni District, Eastern Province and Kajiado District, Rift Valley Province.
Distance from Nairobi: 190 km south-east of Nairobi.
Gazetted: The Park was gazetted in1983.
Climate: January to March is hot and dry; April to June is hot and wet; July to October is very warm and dry and November and December are warm and wet.
Vegetation: Rough grassland and thicket give way to patches of montane forest along the spine of the hills.
Fauna: A variety of large mammals includes; buffalo, common eland, bushbuck, mountain reedbuck, steinbok, bush pig, leopard and, at times, elephant.
Birds: The abundant birdlife features over 300 species.
Roads: 4WD is recommended all year round.
Activities: Camping, horse riding, walking trails, forest trails, Nature trails, forest tours, hiking

What to see at Chyulu Hills National Park

The world’s youngest mountains

The narrowly arching, 80 Km long Chyulu are one of the world’s newest mountain ranges, the most recent volcanic peak having been formed only 500 years ago. They fascinated mix of volcanic ash cones and barren lava flows which combine to create a landscape of almost mythical enchantment

Source of Tsavo West Mzima Springs

Chyulu Hills National Park Kenya was established to protect not only its unique habitat, but also its vital role as water catchments are for Kenya’s coastal conurbations. The forested ridges create their own rainfall, the porous rock absorbs the water like sponge and the water percolates down into fast -flowing subterranean rivers. These eventually join with the melt waters of Mount Kilimanjaro and feed 250 million litres of water daily into the lush oasis of Tsavo West’s most popular feature Mzima Springs

Exploring the Shetani Caves and Lava flows

The volcanic convulsion of Tsavo’s landscape are riddled with lava flows, the most spectacular being Shetani flow, coalesced tide of a tar like lava that spewed down Chyulu Hills as they burst out of the plains only a few hundred years ago.

The lava flow is threaded by a series of lava tubes caves many of which can be explored, through caution is recommended.

Rare Forest Birds

Bird watching is the best in the dense mountain forest of the western sector of the park where Hartlaubs turaco, sunbird,speckled moosebird and white eared barbet are prevalent. Various swallos fly along the forest edges while deep in the glades you spot stripe cheeked greenbul, tropical boubou, white-eyed slaty flycatcher and silvery cheeked hornbill. The hills also mark an important stopping-off point for the globally threatened Abbott’s starling and hold endemic population of Shelley’s francolin, white starred robin and orange thrush.

What to do at Chyulu Hills National Park

Walking the hills and forest

The gently undulating grasslands, interspersed with dense areas of primeval forest and breathtaking views, make this excellent walking country. Due to presence of buffalo and elephant, however, a KWS ranger escort is necessary. If possible please contact the warden in advance to book the rangers.

Explore the lava tubes of the Kisula Caves complex

Chyulu Hills National Park boasts some of the deepest known lava tube caves in the world, a feature that has placed the park on the world map, especially among geologists and volcanologists.

The numerous lava tube caves, collectively known by the local community as Kisula Caves, criss cross the depths of Chyulu Hills. The Upper Leviathan Cave has been extensively explored and at 11.5km long, and has been established as one of the longest caves in the world.

Getting to the caves from the park entrance will involve a 15km hike through rugged wilderness that should take you three to four hours one way. The route is also motor-able the whole way – an option if you want to avoid the long hike.

Chyulu Hills National Park
Chyulu Hills National Park

Accommodation at Chyulu Hills National Park

While there is no accommodation within the park numerous accommodation options exist in nearby Tsavo West National Park and in ungazetted portion of the Chyulu Hills.

There is KWS self catering guest house outside boundaries located just off the Nairobi Mombasa road near Kiboko. The guest house is 59km from Kithasyo Gate and park HQ.

Camping at Chyulu Hills National Park

Chyulu Hills National Park Kenya has three public campsites. The campsite at Kithasyo Park offers basic amenities. There is also a KWS campsite outside the park boundaries near the guest house at Kiboko

When to visit Chyulu Hills National Park

Chyulu Hills National Park Kenya is accessible all year round by 4WD

What to take with you to Chyulu Hills National Park

Drinking water and picnic items and camping equipment if you intend to stay overnight Also useful are: Camera, binoculars, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and guidebook

Attractions in Chyulu Hills National Park

  1. Breathtaking views from the chyllu Hills,cave exploration,one camp site next to park headquaters
  2. Reptiles: Black Mamba, Puff Adder, Rock Python, Gecko, Tortoise, Lizard
  3. Insects/arthropods:Dung Beetles, Butterflies, Tsetse fly
  4. Common Animals:Buffalo; Bushbuck; Eland; Elephant, Leopard; giant forest hog ,bush Pig; reedbuck, mountain; Steinbok; giraffe

How to get to Chyulu Hills National Park

By Road

From Kibwezi: turn right off the Mombasa Road (coming from Nairobi) at Kibwezi, onto a sign posted road that leads after 9 Kms to Kithasyo Gate and Park HQ. It is possible to enter the park from Tsavo West

By Air:

The Park has two airstrips


Daily 6.00 am -7.00 pm including public holidays. No entry is allowed on foot and visitors will not be allowed entry after 6.15pm

A Map to Chyulu Hills National Park

Campsites in Chyulu Hills National Park

  1. Kiboko
  2. Kathisayo

Entry Charges for Chyulu Hills National Park

Obtainable via KWS HQ: Tel: (Nairobi) +254 (20) 6000800, 6002345

Fax: 6007024, Email: reservations@kws.go.ke – website: www.kws.go.ke

Smartcard required:

At present the park does not operate on the smartcard system. Entry is by cash only (KShs or US S) Note: if you are entering via Tsavo West National Park, you will require a smartcard (Which may be loaded at Mtito Andei Gate)

Chyulu Hills National Park Entrance Fees and Charges


Adults KSH: 350

Child KSH: 250


Adults KSH: 600

Child KSH: 350

Non – Resident

Adults USD:25

Child USD: 15

Chyulu Hills National Park Contact

Attraction Type: Wildlife, Scenery & Landscapes
Category: National Park, Forest, Volcano
Region: Eastern
City / Town: Kibwezi
Road / Street: Nairobi – Mombasa Road
Telephone: 254 20 215 3433
Email: chyulunp@kws.go.ke
Entrance Fee: Yes

Watch a tour video of Chyulu Hills National Park