Chyulu Hills National Park

Chyulu Hills National Park consists of the eastern flank of the hills and is administered by the Kenya Wildlife Service.

The western flank of the hills is covered by the west Chyulu game conservation which is owned by the Masai group ranches. Chyulu hills national park was established in 1983 of which it forms a northwestern continuation of Tsavo West National Park.

The Chyulu Hills, resided in the park, is a mountain range in Makeuni County in the Southeastern region of Kenya. The hills form a 100 kilometer long volcanic field in elongated Northwest-Southeastern direction and its highest peak is 2188 meters high.

The Chyulu Hills are located approximately 150 kilometers east of the Kenya Rift comprising of several hundred small flows and cones.

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 do not have any permanent river but rainfall on 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 divide the Tsavo and Amboseli plains thus a visitor here it will be easier for him or her to access Africa’s big five (African lions, cape buffaloes, African leopards, rhinos and African elephants) in either Amboseli national park or Tsavo national park plus many other wildlife species resided there together with splendid views of Africa’s highest mountain (Mountain Kilimanjaro), especially in Amboseli.

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.

Lower parts of the hills are composed of grassland and thicket well as above roughly 1800 meters is covered by montane forest of which the forest contains Neoboutonia macrocalyx, Tabernaemontana stapfiana, Prunus africana, Strombosia scheffleri, Cassipourea malonsana, Olea capensis and Ilex mitis.

Some isolated parts are dominated by Erythrina abyssinica and the lower parts of the forest are dominated by Juniperus procera. The hills reside a variety of animals including; eastern black rhinos, Cape buffaloes, bush bucks, elands, elephants, bush pigs, Masai giraffe, leopards, lions, mountain reedbucks, steinbok, wildebeests and Grant’s zebras.

Cheetahs are found at the plains of Chyulu Hills and various snakes inhabit the hills such as; black mambas, puff adders and rock pythons among others.

There is numerous bird species resided on the hills with some endemic races thus being an important birding destination.

There is wild khat growing on the hills, which is picked by local people, and there is also some cultivation of khat around the hills. Khat from Chuylu hills is known as Chuylu, as opposed to Miraa, which is cultivated in the Meru County.

The verdant rolling hills of endless green and a spectacular landscape are offered in the Park thus being an appropriate place for nature lovers.

However other interesting activities there include; mountain climbing, bird watching, game viewing, horse riding, and camping.

Besides all those, there are various potential threats to the ecosystem such as; poaching, overgrazing by growing population of the Maasai herders and scarcity of water among other threats.

For accommodation in the Park there are no lodges besides its three public campsites (Kiboko campsite, Chyulu II, and Park headquarters) however accommodation options exist in the nearby Tsavo west national park such as; Ngulia Safari Lodge, Voyager safari camp, Kitani Severin safari lodge, and Kilaguni Safari Serena Lodge among others.