Rhino Retreat is a three bedroom bungalow situated in the western end of the Aberdares Salient, close to the ranger station. It was built and is managed by the Rhino Ark Conservation Trust. The Trust was set up to help conserve the Aberdare mountain forests and they have been responsible for building and maintaining a protective electric fence to contain wildlife within the national park, and curb illegal logging and poaching of wildlife, including the endangered black rhino. The house has stunning views of Mt Kenya and is visited by a wide variety of wildlife which comes into the open glade in front of the house where there is a water hole and salt lick that attracts buffalo and elephant most days.

The Aberdare Park protects two very different environments: the high moorland and peaks, which form the Park's main body, and the lower slopes including the Salient to the east where the vegetation is dense forest and there is considerably more wildlife. The Park’s diversity and unusual ecosystem means the park is home to a wide range of mammals, including a good population of black rhino. The Park is also home to a number of endangered species including the rare bongo, giant forest hog, packs of very rare wild dogs and endemic mole rats and mole shrews. Much of the wildlife lives in the dense forest vegetation and is difficult to see but game drives are exciting as one never knows what might be crossing the track, just around the corner, and we often see leopards doing just that when we are there.

The Park is very different from most of Kenya’s other parks and is not on many tour companies’ agendas. The contrast between the Aberdares and the better-known plains of the Maasai Mara couldn’t be greater. On the high moors, looking a bit like the Scottish Highlands, it can seem a little surreal to see elephants tramping through the heather. Mist and rain occur throughout much of the year, with precipitation varying from around 1000mm yearly on the north western slopes to as much as 3000mm in the south east. Heavy rainfall occurs through most of the year making 4 wheel drive essential and at times the Park is completely inaccessible.

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