Chyulu Hills National Park Tsavo & Amboseli Kenya | Kenya Wildlife Service | Where To Stay In Chyulu Hills Park In Kenya | Safari Activities in Chyulu Hills National Park | Chyulu Hills National Park | Kenya Attractions | Chyulu Hills National Park Accommodation | Chyulu Hills Entrance fee | Chyulu Hills Animals | Chyulu Hills National Park Safaris & tours | Camping in Chyulu Hills National Park | Chyulu Hills National Park Hotels | Hiking Chyulu Hills, Makueni County, Kenya | Kenya National Parks Game Reserves
Chyulu Hills National Park is located in Makueni County in the South Eastern region of Kenya and lies between the Tsavo and Amboseli ecosystems. The park is 30 km southwest of Kibwezi and approximately 190 km southeast of Nairobi.
The Chyulu Hills National Park (meaning “The Spotted Hills”), protects a volcanic mountain range that runs parallel to the highway at Mombasa between Kibwezi and Tsavo. With distinctive rounded hills and volcanic vents that have solidified black lava flows running down at irregular intervals, the Chyulu Hills are definitely unusual.
The Park offers one of the best places to view Africa’s highest mountain Kilimanjaro, (75km to the northeast of Mount Kilimanjaro) it’s also the largest larva in the world. The mountain ranges up to 2188 meters and its highest peak is 150 km long. Chyulu hills national park was established in 1983 and it forms a northwestern continuation of Tsavo West National Park.
Volcanism in the area started about 1.4 million years ago in the northern parts of the hills and over time, the volcanism propagated towards the southeast. These volcanoes are still considered active though their last two eruptions (Shaitani and Chainu) occurred in 1856. Within the hills is the Leviathan Cave which is one of the longest lava tubes in the world.
The Chyulu Hills does not have any permanent rivers but rainfall on the hills feeds the Tsavo and Galana rivers plus the Mzima Springs on the surrounding plains, and this is due to the hills’ porous peaks of volcanic ash which enable them to trap rainfall from moisture-laden winds.
Chyulu Hills National Park is part of the Tsavo conservation area which covers Tsavo West National Park, Tsavo East National park, and the Kibwezi Forest. The park’s main gate is in Kibwezi in Makueni County. The area where the Chyulu hills are found is inhabited by the Maasai and Kamba people whom tourists will enjoy their amazing and colorful culture during the cultural encounters.
Chyulu hills national park is dominated by various species of vegetation in different regions of the park, the lower slopes of the hills are dominated by grasslands and thickets. The top of the hills at the elevation of 1800 meters is dominated by montane forests consisting of tree species such as cassipourea malonsana, Olea capensis, Prunus Africana, Tabernaemontana, stapfiana, neoboutonia macrocalyx, llex mitis and many more.
The lower forest galleries consist of Juniperus procera tree species and the plains of the park are dominated by savannah vegetation and thickets. The hills reside a variety of animals including; eastern black rhinos, Cape buffaloes, bushbucks, elands, buffalo, elephants, bush pigs, Masai giraffe, leopards, lions, mountain reedbucks, steinbok, wildebeests, and Grant’s zebras. Giraffe, the rare fringe-eared oryx, and the gerenuk are also present.
Cheetahs are found on the plains of Chyulu Hills and various snakes inhabit the hills such as; black mambas, puff adders, and rock pythons among others. There are numerous bird species residing on the hills with some endemic races thus being an important birding destination.
Bird species include: Shelley’s francolin, white-starred robin, orange ground thrush, cinnamon bracken warbler, Ayres’s hawk-eagle, African crowned eagle, martial eagle, and Abbott’s starling
Chyulu Hills National Park Tsavo & Amboseli Kenya activities include; walking safaris, mountain biking, mountain climbing, bird watching, day & night game viewing, horse riding, and camping. Species seen around the Chyulu Hills might not be seen so easily in Amboseli as there are no night drives including leopard, porcupine, and aardvark.
Safari Activities | Things to Do in Chyulu Hills National Park
For scenery, nature and wilderness lovers hiking safari experience in Chyulu hills national park is your perfect experience, the park is made up of Chyulu hills which are covered by green vegetation cover thus creating beautiful scenery.
There is a couple of well-maintained trails which are used during the hiking experience, these trails run through forests leading to the high altitudes of Chyulu hills.
On the hiking experience, you get to spot forest animals such as baboons, Skye’s forest, and many birds such as African green pigeon, purple crested coucal, Klaas Cuckoo, Eurasian nightjar, alpine swift, black crake, crowned lapwing, gray heron, great egret, African harrier hawk, white-backed vulture, brown snake eagle and many more.
On the high altitudes of the Chyulu Hills, you are rewarded with the view of mountain Kilimanjaro’s snow-covered ranges.
Wildlife Game Drives
Chyulu Hills national park is listed among the best destinations in Kenya for Kenya wildlife safaris, the park is a home for a reasonable number of wildlife species calling the park’s savannah plains and thicket vegetation a home. These animals include elephants, wildebeests, steenbok, eland, antelopes, giraffes, zebras, leopards, bush pigs, elands, eastern rhinos, and cape buffaloes, and cheetahs among others.
Game viewing safaris in Chyulu Hills national park are done on morning game drives and afternoon game drives and are best done during the morning hours when numerous animals haven’t dispersed off due to the scorching sunlight. Their also reptiles like Black Mamba, Puff Adder, Rock Python, Gecko, Tortoise, and Lizard to mention a few.
Chyulu hills national park boasts over 300 species of birds both migratory and residential birds from Europe and North Africa the best place for bird enthusiasts to view bird life is at the Lake Jipe found in the southwest of the park. Bird watching in Chyulu Hills national park is best done in the dry season experienced from January to February and June to October.
During your thrilling bird watching experience, you will enjoy spotting many colorful bird species such as tambourine dove, African green pigeon, purple crested coucal, Klaas Cuckoo, Eurasian nightjar, alpine swift, black crake, crowned lapwing, gray heron, great egret, African harrier hawk, white-backed vulture, brown snake eagle, helmeted guinea fowl, crested guinea fowl, scaly francolin, rameron pigeon, lemon dove among others.
The horseback riding experience is an advanced and ecologically friendly way of touring Chyulu hills national park while riding on the back of a horse, this safari experience is unique from the game drive as it offers tourists a chance to get close to the animals while on the back of a horse.
As you ride through the plains of the park you spot many animals such as the majestic giraffe, wildebeests, leopards, cheetahs, and many more as they graze.
Chyulu Hills National Park Camping
Guests interested in waking up to the whispers of the wilderness can go on a camping safari to the park by pitching their tents on one of the camping sites with facilities of shower rooms, toilets, and a kitchen. The park 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. Chyulu Campsite is located approximately about 1 km from Chyulu gate.
Visit Kisula Larva Caves
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 the 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.
Nature Guided Walks
Chyulu Hills National Park is gifted with amazing nature consisting of green vegetation cover and many wildlife species which are be discovered and enjoyed on bush walks and cave tours, bush walks in the park take you through a series of vegetation cover with sights of numerous plant species such as orchids, acacia trees, woodlands, and many birds.
Cave tours in Chyulu hills national park offer tourists an opportunity to visit the famous Levithan cave, cave tours are done under the supervision of a tour guide and with a help of a flashlight, and in the cave, you will enjoy magnificent views of cone shape stalagmites hanging on the walls of the cave. In this experience, you will also visit the two sections of the cave that is the upper and lower cave.
The Chyulu Hills in Kenya offer tourists the opportunity to ride on a 100-kilometer-long volcanic plain. This area is sandwiched between Amboseli and Tsavo, and it’s one of the few places in Kenya where tourists can see Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest tower. Green flowing hills cover the town, providing challenging mountain biking opportunities.
It is also the world’s largest lava, and tourists can ride through the park to see animals such as the rare oryx, gazelle, zebras, giraffes, and multiple antelopes.
The communities around Chyulu Hills national park are mainly farmers and pastoralists. Interacting with the local community which consists of the Maasai will help you understand that they depend upon the land and defends it.
The Kamba people are also residents in this area. Visit the people and learn about their various ways of life.
Where To Stay In Chyulu Hills National Park | Hotels Camps & Lodges
While there is no accommodation within the park numerous accommodation options exist in nearby Tsavo West National Park and two very exclusive lodges offering a full range of activities in Maasai concessions on the foothills of the Chyulu Hills. Lodge options include Ol Donyo lodge and Campi Ya Kanzi.
Others include Maasai Simba Camp, Hunters Lodge, Kibo Safari Camp, Elerai Camp, Amboseli Eco Camp, Hunters Lodge, Umani Springs Camp, The W Hotel Kimana, Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge, and Kimana Omega Safari Lodge among others.
Chyulu Hills National Park Kenya has three public campsites. The campsite at Kithasyo Park offers basic amenities. There is Kenya Wildlife Service self-catering guest house outside boundaries located just off the Nairobi – Mombasa road near Kiboko. The guest house is 59 km from Kithasyo Gate and Park headquarters.
How to get to Chyulu Hills National Park
Chyulu Hills National Park is located 232km/ 144mi from Nairobi and 250km/155mi from Mombasa and is often combined with a trip to Tsavo West or Tsavo East parks.
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 Headquarters. It is possible to enter the park from Tsavo West.
By Air: The Park has two airstrips.
Open: Daily 6.00 am -7.00 pm including public holidays. No entry is allowed on foot and visitors will not be allowed entry after 6.15 pm.
Roads: 4WD is recommended all year round.
Chyulu Hills National Park Entrance fee
2022 Chyulu Hills National Park Entrance Fees
Citizen/ Resident Rate
|Adult||300 Kenya Shillings||25 US Dollars|
|Child||215 Kenya Shillings||15 US Dollars|
* Child refers to persons from three years but below 11 years
* Resident refers to persons of other nationalities residing in Kenya with valid documentation from the Kenyan government
* Citizen – A native or inhabitant of East Africa Countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and SouthSudan) with valid identification documents or passport
* Daily – Fee paid for a single entry to a national park, national reserve, or sanctuary and which shall be valid for no longer than twenty-four hours
Chyulu Hills National Park Climate & Best Time to Visit
The Summertime: October – April) Minimum 20°C/ 68°F Maximum 34°C/94°F. The Wintertime: May – September) Minimum 11°C/52°F Maximum 25°C/78°F. The long rains from April to May; short rains from November to mid-December.
Chyulu Hills can be visited year-round, but wildlife viewing is usually best in the dry months from June to October and January to February.