Amboseli National Park
Travel to Amboseli National Park – Elephant Country & Kilimanjaro Views
A wildife safari into Amboseli National Park lets the visitor enter the majestic realm of the elephant. This beautiful park consists of wide open plains crowned by the snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro.
This is a place of wide dry plains, where the horizons stretch into the furthest distance and become one with the sky. Amboseli is renowned for its elephant populations and large herds, including some impressively tusked bulls are drawn to a series of large, lush swamplands.
But the most impressive giant of all is Mt Kilimanjaro. Africa’s largest mountain lies just over the border in Tanzania, but the best views of its snow-capped peak are to be found in Amboseli. The early light of dawn turns the mountain a dark hue of purple, and its snows into an ethereal pink. The sight of Kilimanjaro high above herds of elephant crossing the plains of Amboseli is a timeless African image.
The park is centred around a large hill, with fantastic views of the surrounding plains, often crossed by whirlwinds that send winding columns of dust into the sky.
This area is home to many Masai communities, centred around the Amboseli National Park. The park is 400 sq. km, with its southern boundary along the Tanzanian border.
The park is home to more than just elephants, and herds of wildebeest, zebra and impala graze on the open plains. There are areas of acacia forest that make for good birding, and are home to many small mammals. Cheetah are also often sighted here.
The most obvious resident are the large elephant herds, and they are impossible to miss. Elephants are a continual presence throughout the park, and this provides plenty of opportunities to observe and learn from a wide variety of their social behaviour. With a well trained guide, it is easy to understand and follow the social hierarchy of each herd, and their constant social interaction.
There is a lot more to see in Amboseli other than elephants. The forests and swamplands are well worth exploring, and the wetland areas and stands of acacia are rich birding country. Over 400 species including at least 40 raptors have been recorded. Notable species include the Lesser Flamingo, many ducks, darters and heron nest in the wetlands, and birds of prey including a small population of Martial Eagles.
The open plains attract plenty of grazing game. including zebra, wildebeest, and impala. Cheetah are often seen here, either hunting on the plains or at rest in the undergrowth.
The best time to see game in Amboseli is early morning and late afternoon. In the midday heat, elephants and other animals retreat to the cool of thick undergrowth and can become invisible. Morning and afternoon game drives also allow you to witness the unforgettable African dawn and sunsets.
The most common means of game viewing here is in customised vehicles, with open topped roofs or sides ideal for photography. Game can be seen from some of the lodges and camps.
Guided game walks are possible on the fringes of the park, and to the high observation point within the park. These can be arranged at most camps and lodges. This is a great way to experience the bush at its best. Walking through the wilds let you explore the wild at its most pure and visceral. as you track big game, you become aware of every sight and sound, the smell of the earth and the touch of the wind.
An expert tracker will teach you the signs to look for – tracks – the individual tracks and spoor, and show you how to use the wind to disguise your scent, and to move silently through thick cover and get up close and personal with the game.
For the adventurous diner, a visit or stay among a Masai community will allow them to try traditional Masai cuisine. Masai delicacies include sour milk, and on special occasions, fresh blood taken either from a live cow or freshly slaughtered animal.
Amboseli is a 4 hour drive from Nairobi. The nearest town is Namanga, on the Kenya/Tanzania border. There are regular buses and matatus to Namanga from Nairobi and other destinations. There are also regular private shuttles from Nairobi to Arusha in Tanzania, which pass by Namanga.
Accessing Amboseli National Park is difficult without private transport. Most visitors come to here as part of a safari package from Nairobi or in a hire car. Those bringing their own vehicle should be prepared for dusty driving conditions, although the park has well established internal roads and tracks.
- Amboseli is renowned for its large herds of elephant.
- The most impressive views of Kilimanjaro’s snow-capped peak are to be found in Amboseli.
- Visit nearby Masai settlements, meet and spend time with the local Masai people.