Chyulu Hills National Park
Chyulu Hills are a mountain range in eastern Kenya. They stretch about 100 km and are oriented in the direction S02 35 E37 50. They are located in a volcanic zone and their highest point reaches 2 188 meters high. Consequently, the Chyulu hills, which are 190 km south-east of Nairobi and 30 km south-west of Kibwezi. In addition, they are of relatively recent volcanic origin as the range still has ash cones and craters. Meanwhile, in these hills we have the Leviathan Cave, one of the longest lava tunnels in the world.
Interestingly, Chyulu hills lies in the transition zone between the Tsavo plains grassland and the Chyulu forest. Accordingly, they represent an important biogeographical transition. Hence, they blend the ecosystem of African tropical forests and savannas.
Highlights of the Chyulu Hills National Park
The Chyulu Hills do not have permanent watercourses, but rainfall on the hills feed the Tsavo and Galana rivers as well as the Mzima springs that water the surrounding plains. They separate the plains of Tsavo and Amboseli. The region is inhabited by Maasai and Kamba.
The lower parts of the hills are composed of meadows and thickets while the lands above about 1800 meters are dominated by the mountain forest. Indeed, the rough grassland and thicket give way to patches of montane forest along the spine of the hills, mainly above the 1,800 m. In fact, the largest tract of forest is around the highest peaks in the central-southern portion.
Several species of mammals make up its ecosystem: black rhino, African buffalo, bushbuck, eland, savannah elephant, Cape pigweed, Masai giraffe, the African leopard, the African lion, the mountain cobe, Steenbok, the wildebeest, the Grant zebra and cheetah are the representatives of this megafauna. Other animals include buffalo, bushbucks, elands, elephants, leopards, giant forest hogs as well as bush pigs. Among the reptiles we have, the black Mamba, the striking viper and the python. Consequently, these diverse species share this ecosystem with an avian fauna rich in many bird species, some of which are endemic.