Chyulu hills national park : South east of Nairobi is Chyulu highlands national park. This park is located within Tsavo West National Park and the Amboseli ecosystem. This national park is known as the “green hills of Africa” due to its emerald-green undulating hills covered in dense forests. Earnest Hemmingway’s description of the Chyulu hills as the “green hills of Africa” was the inspiration for his book “Green Hills of Africa.”
As a consequence of volcanic eruptions that occurred over 240 years ago, these hills are of a volcanic origin and range from ash cones to craters. Additionally, the Chyulu highlands serve as a water catchment area for Mzima springs, the Tsavo River, and the Galana River.
Chyulu hills national park protects native vegetation and wildlife, which vary from the forested area in the eastern portion of the hills to the ungazzeted western portion of the Chyulu game conservation area, which is owned by a number of Maasai group ranches.
The slopes of the Chyulu hills are dotted with various types of vegetation, including rough grassland and thicket, patches of montane forest, and extensive tracts of forest with a variety of tree species in the central-southern portion of the hills.
The hills in Chyulu hills national park contain no permanent surface water, but precipitation that percolates through the porous rocks nourishes numerous permanent water sources in the surrounding plains. The water combines with the networks of Mount Kilimanjaro and nourishes waterways such as the Mzima springs.
These hills straddle the county lines of Mkueni and Taita taveta and are located in the northernmost section of Tsavo west national park.
The dense thickets in Chyulu hills national park serve as a water catchment area for wildlife, livestock, and neighboring communities, in addition to providing refuge for the park’s diverse wildlife species.Due to the extant livestock owned by the local communities, which competes with wildlife species, the ecosystem in Chyulu hills national park is characterized by a fierce competition for available water and pasture among a variety of animal species.
How to get to Chyulu hills national park;
By road from Nairobi via the Mombasa road, Emali town, and the Loitokitok road.
By aviation, there are flights from Wilson airport to Chyulu hills airstrip (scheduled flight), as well as domestic and chartered flights to Ol Donyo airstrip and Campi ya Kazi airstrip.
Chyulu Hills National Park features
Attractions which can be seen within Chyulu hills national park include the following;
Levithan cave is the longest and deepest lava conduit segmented by tectonic plate movement. These caverns are divided into the upper Levithian and the lower Levithian, which were formed by the flow of molten lava beneath a crust that has cooled. In order to reach the caves, tourists must traverse a rugged wilderness on foot, with the option of traveling along a motorable route.
Geologists and volcanologists are familiar with the caves, which has contributed to its worldwide prominence. The Levithian caves are referred to by the residents as “Kisula cave.” During these cave explorations, flashlights are used to illuminate what appears to be a natural art gallery with its multicolored walls and hanging stalagmites in the shape of cones formed by cooled magma.
As they graze along the low crest of the hills, giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, lions, wildebeest, impala, bushbuck, oryx, eland, reedbuck, steinbok, klipspringer, sykes monkeys, and many other species of fauna can be observed. In the northern regions of the national park, one of the remaining species of black rhinoceros, the eastern black rhino, can be observed.
Activities in Chyulu Hills National Park
The following activities are available to visitors during their visit to Chyulu hills national parks:
Despite the low densities of wildlife species in this national park, it is possible to view a variety of wildlife, including eastern black rhino, common eland, bush pig, masai giraffe, African leopard, lion, mountain reedbuck, steinbok, wildebeest, and grants zebras. Plains of the Chyulu highlands can be used to spot cheetahs. As they travel throughout the national park in search of water and pasture, a variety of wildlife species can be viewed. During the arid seasons, wildlife congregates around swamps and other water sources, competing with livestock owned by local communities for pasture and water. The wildlife disperses during the wet season in order to locate water in the outlying plains.
Hiking in Chyulu highlands national park
Hiking in Chyulu hills national park rewards visitors with volcanic scenery and the natural grandeur of one of the youngest mountain ranges in the world. This national park offers hikes ranging from magnificent grassy plains to higher green and misty summits.
It is a thrilling experience for trekkers to see the Mt. Kilimanjaro ranges in the background from Chyulu hills. This national park has numerous and convenient trails that transverse the park and are used to explore its wilderness. The slope of the Chyulu hills is suitable for inexperienced hikers, providing tourists with a satisfying and less strenuous trekking experience.
During bushwalks, travelers are exposed to a variety of sights, such as the acacia forests below. Among the dense vapors of the Chyulu hills, various plant species, such as orchid varieties, can be observed.
Horseback riding in Chyulu hills national park engages tourists in setting out on horseback and traversing the park’s diverse landscape, providing a unique opportunity for game viewing and intimate encounters with the park’s wildlife.
Mountain biking ranges
Mountain biking in Chyulu hills national park spans from biking through deep swamps and edgy woodlands to zigzagging beneath the Chyulu hills.
Cultural encounters entail interaction with the local community, which consists of Maasai who rely on and protect the land. Additionally, the Kamba populate the Chyulu highlands national park region. The Masai are typically pastoralists who maintain a variety of livestock, including cattle and goats.
Birding entails the observation of various bird species, such as the shelley’s falcon, cinnamon bracken warbler, crowned eagle, Ayres hawk eagle, martial eagle, and Abbot’s sterling, which can be observed in the endless plains that are cut by the rugged deep black lava flows that provide diverse habitat for the wildlife and bird species. There are endemic species and native species of birds. Many species of forest birds, including the Abyssinian crimson wing, terrestrial pigeon, and cinnamon dove, can be observed in Chyulu hills national park. This national park includes Lake Jipe, which is an outstanding birding location in the park’s south-western corner.
Two lodges are located within Chyulu hills national park, while the remaining accommodation facilities are located outside the park and are classified as luxury accommodation, midrange accommodation, and economical accommodation.
Campi ya Kazi and Ol Donyo lodge are the only luxury accommodations available in the Chyulu Hills National Park on the western foothills of the hills. When you visit the verdant hills of Africa, you will be awed by the majesty of the vegetation and the breathtaking vistas of the most picturesque terrain in Kenya, Chyulu hills.