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.
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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.
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.
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
- Breathtaking views from the chyllu Hills,cave exploration,one camp site next to park headquaters
- Reptiles: Black Mamba, Puff Adder, Rock Python, Gecko, Tortoise, Lizard
- Insects/arthropods:Dung Beetles, Butterflies, Tsetse fly
- Common Animals:Buffalo; Bushbuck; Eland; Elephant, Leopard; giant forest hog ,bush Pig; reedbuck, mountain; Steinbok; giraffe
How to get to Chyulu Hills National Park
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
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
Entry Charges for Chyulu Hills National Park
Obtainable via KWS HQ: Tel: (Nairobi) +254 (20) 6000800, 6002345
Fax: 6007024, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – website: www.kws.go.ke
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
Child USD: 15
Chyulu Hills National Park Contact
Attraction Type: Wildlife, Scenery & Landscapes
Category: National Park, Forest, Volcano
City / Town: Kibwezi
Road / Street: Nairobi – Mombasa Road
Telephone: 254 20 215 3433
Entrance Fee: Yes