Amboseli National Park is crowned by Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak. The Amboseli National Parks is one of Kenya's most popular parks. The name "Amboseli" comes from a Maasai word meaning "salty dust", and it is one of the best places on Africa safari to view large herds of elephants up close.
Nature lovers can explore five different habitats here ranging from the dried-up bed of Lake Amboseli, wetlands with Sulphur springs, the savannah and woodlands. They can also visit the local Maasai community who live around the park and experience their authentic culture.
Where is Amboseli National Park?
Amboseli National Park is located in Loitoktok District, Rift Valley Province of Kenya. This Kenya national park is 39,206 hectares (392 km2; 151 sq. mi) in size. It is at the core of an 8,000 square kilometers (3,100 sq. mi) ecosystem that spreads across the Kenya-Tanzania border.
Amboseli National Park is famous for being the best place on Africa safari tour to see to free-ranging elephants among other wildlife species. Other attraction of the park includes opportunities to meet the Maasai people and also offers spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world. In Amboseli’s case it is big skies and far horizons combined with swampy springs and dry and dusty earth trampled by hundreds of animals.
Getting to Amboseli National Park
There are two ways on how to get to Amboseli National Park. Driving while on a Kenya safari tour will take you about 2.5 hours. Getting to Meshanani Gate from Nairobi will take you about 2.5 hours, the road (228 kms) is absolutely beautiful and smooth if you go through Emali, a small town on the main road to Mombasa. Using this route you will enter Amboseli National Park through the Kimana Gate to the East of the park.
Your Kenya safari to Amboseli can go through Isinya, down the Magadi Road in Nairobi, you will join the Nairobi – Arusha Road (240 kms) and you will soon get to Namanga Town. This is the border town between Kenya and Tanzania. In Namanga there is a fuel station, this is not the best place to go to the toilet. The fuel station may have something half decent. There is a small shop you can get nibbles if you need.
Leaving Namanga to the Meshanani Gate will take you about 45 mins to an hour depending on the vehicle you are travelling with. The road is not best by far, they have recently graded it but due to the high traffic volume it is not expected to last long. It is bumpy!
You can also enjoy a Kenya luxury safari with a flight to Amboseli. It takes about half an hour or so. This is by far the best way to travel, but you do miss out on seeing more of the country. Look out for the old volcanoes.
The location of Amboseli National Park is probably its biggest attraction. The whole park is overlooked by the world famous views of Mount Kilimanjaro. Kilimanjaro is undoubtedly best seen at dusk or dawn when low hanging clouds thin out to reveal the iced summit of this continent’s highest mountain.
The backdrop has contributed to this park being amongst the most visited in Kenya, which has brought its own draw-backs. Years of tourism and off-road excursions have impacted on the park making it appear rather dusty, overused and eroded. A program to improve access with new roads and a much tougher stance taken against off-roading are gradually remedying the situation.
Lake Amboseli, after which the park is named, is usually a dull looking crusted stretch of volcanic soil. Even during the wettest years its depth rarely exceeds 50cms and would not merit a mention were it not for the spectacular mirage of a shimmering ghost lake it creates making the horizon appear fluid. The parched dry lake bed is offset by the contrasting lush green vegetation in the marsh and swamp areas which are created by underground springs rising to the surface through the porous soil.
High doses of toxic salts from a raised water table are partially responsible for the decline in the number of acacias that used to tower around the marsh area, a decline that had previously been totally blamed on Elephants stripping the bark for food.
Things to Do in Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is undisputedly one of the most scenic national parks in Kenya. It is not only home to the Big Five, but also a rich playfield of diverse wildlife and vegetation ranging from antelopes, monkeys, hyenas, giraffes, crocodiles, peacocks and ostriches. Its vast landscape offers scenic hills and swamps in the stretch of 8, 000 square kilometers of land cover.
There are plenty of things to do in Amboseli national park. We have however just note a few of them below.
The landscape of the Amboseli National Park offers the most scenic views of wildlife. The Amboseli is like a gigantic bowl of vast vegetation cover and numerous swamps that harbor wild animals of disparate species from the Big Five to unique birds such as, peacocks and spotty zebras.
A cultural visit to the local villages
The local communities living around the Amboseli national park are a unique ethnic group in East Africa. The Maasai community is known for its traditional culture that has not been affected by modernization of the African continent. They lead a tribal way of life, which is worth exploring especially their traditional dances and clothing.
Go on an epic Game Drive
Going on a game drive in the Amboseli is more than just landscape viewing and encountering animals. The Amboseli is a unique formation of nature that is most dry and covered by dust from recurrent winds, which create a “dust devil” phenomenon. This happens from time to time depending on the changes in atmospheric pressure to build a mini-twister like impression in the air.
However, as much it is enjoyable to watch, keep safe distance from it since it uncomfortable on the skin. Game drives in the Amboseli also provide a truly refreshing encounter of watching the sunrise and sunset in exceptional hues of color change over the horizons.
The Amboseli National Park is probably Africa’s irrefutable background of scenic brilliance. The beautiful scene of the ice-capped Mount Kilimanjaro; which is the highest mountain in the African continent- provides the perfect backdrop for nature photography. Make sure you carry a standard camera and back up storage cards to capture the beauty of nature and carry those moments with you! The Amboseli is absolutely the embodiment of the African jungle which can be compared to the prairies of the Americas. To get the best out of nature photography in the Amboseli, camp in the wild and watch the nature and animal behavior unfold, from the roars of lions to the lightning speed of cheetahs hunting in the bush.
Best place to See Large Heard of African Elephants
The park’s open landscape is home to large herds of elephants whose population is one of the few in Africa that has been spared the butchery of poachers. Elephant numbers are now well over 1000 and they live in their natural social structures of matriarchal families and bull elephant groups. Predators in the park include hyenas, jackals; lions, leopards and cheetahs. Birdlife in abundance flourishes particularly in the marshes and swamps. Over 420 species have been counted within the park as a whole including 6 species of vulture, 12 species of heron and 10 varieties of eagle.
|Languages spoken||English, Kiswahili|
|Currency used||Kenya Shillings (KES)|
|Area (km2)||390 SQ. KM|