Amboseli National Park is a top destination for a Kenya Safari. Indeed, one of the classic images of East Africa, let alone Kenya, is that of a herd of elephant strolling across the plains with the snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro in the background. It is to catch this sight on memory – and on film – that people flood to Amboseli National Park.
While Kilimanjaro is actually across the border in Tanzania, Amboseli has a perfect view of this world’s tallest freestanding mountain, rising an impressive 5 kilometres above the plains. The best time to view the majestic mountain is at dawn and sunset, when the clouds lift and the light is both clear and soft.
Amboseli is about 200km from Nairobi on fairly good roads, and the usual route is via Namanga on the A104. The last 75km from Namanga is a bit bumpy so be prepared. Air Kenya and Safari Link offers daily flights to the Park
It’s also a park that combines well with Tsavo National Park to the east, or Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro and Arusha National Parks. The park is one of the smaller game parks in Kenya, but it offers you the best opportunity of seeing the critically endangered black rhino, along with a spectacular range of wildlife.
The area’s low and well-munched vegetation also ensures that animals are easy to spot. Lions can easily be found and can occasionally be watched stalking their prey. Buffalo, cheetah, gazelle, hyena, jackal, wildebeest, zebra, and baboon are just some of the animals that can be encountered at Amboseli. Streams from Kilimanjaro surface in the centre of Amboseli, creating swamps that attract and support a rich diversity of wild animals and birdlife. Most of Amboseli is flat and dusty and so the best spots for game viewing are these wetlands.
It is also the home of the Maasai people, those tall, proud nomads whose legendary prowess in battle and single handed acts of bravery in fights with wild animals has spread across the globe. Perhaps more than any other community in Kenya the Maasai have learned to live in complete harmony with their environment and the wildlife which surrounds them. All round the park are occupied and abandoned manyatta – Maasai villages – quickly built out of bent poles and sticks and plastered with cow dung and equally swiftly abandoned when the grazing is finished and the herds must move on.
Animals, Birds of Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park main attraction are the huge herds of elephants. There are over 1000 elephants in the Park. The bull elephants have some of the largest tusks in all of Kenya. Wildlife here includes the zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, impala, caracal and serval cat, lion, leopard, cheetah, buffalo, wild dog, and hippo. Unfortunately there are no rhinos in the Park due to poaching. There are also over 400 species of birds, including the bee-eater, kingfisher, African fish eagle, marital eagle and pygmy falcon. Apart from the great wildlife viewing in Amboseli, one can also enjoy excellent views of Mt Kilimanjaro and Meru.
The long hot and humid rainy period starts around April and lasts until June, then the short rains come during the warm months of November and December.
January through to March are hot and dry, while July to October are warm and dry. The warm dry season is the best for game viewing and for personal comfort.
Birds: Numerous including flamingoes
- Location: South East Kenya, bordering Tanzania
- Area: 390sq km Average Altitude: 1155m [ 3790 ft ]
- Access from Nairobi: Road : 250kms ( 4.5 to 5 hours )
- Facilities: Several lodges, tented camps and budget camping sites
- Vegetation: Grassland savannah, limited swampy areas lined with forest shrubs
- Animals: Numerous including Lion, Leopard, cheetah , elephants, hyenas, jackals and buffalo
- Attractions: Spectacular view of Africa’s highest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro, during clear skies and game viewing especially Amboseli’s elephant population.
- Big old tuskers (Elephants)
- Majestic Mount Kilimanjaro backdrop
- Large herds of Elephants – Amboseli is famous for its huge number of elephants.
- Hot air balloon over Amboseli The views of Amboseli & Mt Kilimanjaro look awesome from the balloon.
- Maasai Culture and visit to the Masai Villages – certainly a great opportunity to see and enjoy Masai songs dance, buy some Masai souvenirs, visit a Masai nursery children’s school and take pictures of the Masai people.
- Great views from Observation Hill - Amboseli National Park is predominantly flat except for several rocky outcrops and a small hill where you can get fabulous views of the national park and Mt Kilimanjaro. Observation Hill is great as a lookout as well as a place to take pictures.
- Amboseli swamps – A huge swamp which covers a large part of Amboseli National Park is fed by underground rivers from Mt Kilimanjaro’s melting snow .Elephants& hippopotamus enjoy soaking in the cool water and are never short of food.