Chyulu Hills are a group of old and new volcanoes, set in the south eastern region of Kenya. They are exactly mid way between Nairobi and Mombasa, and surrounded by other great national natural reserves – Tsavo West, Tsavo East and Kilimanjaro National Park. The western part of the Chyulu Hills consists of a private Masaai Game Conservation park, while the National Park occupies the eastern area.
The Chyulu volcanoes are mostly extinct, but some of them are still active. Though you can hardly see their steams, or sulphur smokes, they can start eruption at any time – last big one was in 1855. But since now these hills are under continuous control, it is safe for tourists to go over there. Of course, with the help of local guides all the time.
What to see at Chyulu Hills
When you arrive at Chyulu Hills National Parkyou will certainly admire the incredible landscape. The craters are everywhere, they have stunning colours, usually green shades since they are covered with grass and woods. At the foot of the eastern hills, your guides will lead you discovering the impressive Leviathan Gallery, a tunnel formed by the lava flowing, centuries ago. This is the longest lava tunnel in the world.
With over 32.000 hectares of forest biodiversity, at Chyulu you will admire beautiful Acacia trees, alpine woods, Neoboutonia Macrocalyx, Tabernaemontana Stapfiana, Prunus Africana, Cassipourea Malosan and many other kinds of incredible vegetation. The forest gets more and more dense as long as you reach the highest point of the park (over 2000 m. above sea level). Of course animals are the main attraction for local safaris.
Here you will easily meet: elephants, leopards, antelopes, buffalos, mountain antelopes and wild rhinos of the rare Bicornos species. Many birds have their shelter in this park, too. The most interesting are the local ones, like Hieraaetus Ayresii, Stephanoaetus Coronatus e Polemaetus Bellicosus. During the fruit season, you can admire the Abbott’s Starlings that stop here during their migration.
Activities at Chyulu Hills
Game viewing and bird watching are the main activities for tourists, at Chyulu Hills National Park. The park is well organized in order to offer the best guides for your safaris but you can also enjoy some particular sport activity. You can explore the hills by horse riding along the paths, or you can try mountain climbing on the highest points of the volcanoes. You can explore underground caves, like the famous Leviathan Gallery.
Of course you can also enjoy the emotion of sleeping in the wild African nature. Camping in the park is allowed, thanks to cottages, huts and small lodges spread all over. When you have explored the whole park, you can try a safari to the nearby Tsavo West, or even go to see the ocean and Mombasa, driving along the A109. This road connects the city to the park and to Nairobi as well. You will also have the chance to visit the Masaai lands, if you like.
How to get there
Getting to Chyulu Hills National Park is easy. The park is well connected with both Nairobi and Mombasa – and their airports too – thanks to the A109 road and the bus services driving to and from the two big cities.