Amboseli National Park is situated in Loitoktok District, Kenya. Given the spectacular view of the legendary Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain peak, it is conveyed as the most appreciated National Park in Africa. And it’s not difficult to comprehend why. Its signature is the unique sight of wildlife species, against the setting of Africa’s most spectacular view of Mount Kilimanjaro. The park is highly popular as it provides the unique opportunity of spotting immense herds of elephants. The scarce vegetation during the dry season offers incredible wildlife viewing scenery. Apart from the stunning landscapes, tourists can also immerse in the local flavor of the beautiful location by taking part in cultural activities. A safari to Amboseli National Park is a unique, rewarding experience every nature lover will deeply cherish.
- +Immersing in the local culture by taking part in local activities
- +Fantastic wildlife viewing
- +Wildlife variety, with the presence of massive elephant herds
- +Old tuskers
- +Observation of rare vegetation mixture
- +The presence of the Big Five
- +Unique birdlife species – over 400 bird specie
- +Fantastic scenic beauty from the Observation Hill – the best photographing spot
About Amboseli National Park
Even though the legendary Mount Kilimanjaro is situated in Tanzania, Amboseli National Park provides the most remarkable views of the spectacular mountain peak. Being located in the background of one of the best scenic views in Africa, Amboseli National Park offers the unique opportunity of relishing a rewarding African experience.
Big and long-tusked elephants may easily be spotted in Amboseli. Tourists have been more than delighted with this unique opportunity, as the park encompasses the largest elephant populations. The unusual sight of elephant herds crossing the vast, dusty plains of Amboseli, with the irreplaceable image of Mount Kilimanjaro on the back create a legendary, iconic African landscape. Make sure to pack your camera, as this sort of scene is a lifetime’s opportunity.
Given the presence of fresh streams that spring from Kilimanjaro, the wetlands facilitate great wildlife diversity. Besides elephants, lions can also be observed, while other wildlife species such as buffalos, zebras, giraffes and a wide range of other antelopes are overall commonly spotted. Given the open, flat landscape, wildlife viewing is readily accessible. Even though it is a small park, it is the proud home to more than 400 species of birds.
The flat, open plains are typical for Amboseli National Park. Its name indicates its salty appearance, as it means “salty dust.” The Amboseli dust is, in fact, timeworn volcano ash. The salt crystals of the ash are readily observed during the dry season.
The one point from which you can genuinely relish the spectacular beauty of Amboseli is the Observation Hill. Here, you can delight yourself in unique sunsets, and is a favorite spot especially for photographers.
But what adds up to the rare charm of the place is the presence of two swamps – Enkongo Narok and Olokenya. Populations of wildlife species immerse in these muddy swamps.
Tourists should relish taking part in cultural activities as well. The Maasai people still dwell on the surroundings of the park, abiding by their old traditions. Plus, they are hospitable people. In fact, the locals may be kind enough as to ask you to join them for dinner. You can further aim at learning their local crafts, or be part of a traditional ceremonial meeting. It is a unique opportunity to relish the African experience from a different perspective.
If you wish to arrive at Amboseli National Park by car, the drive lasts about 2.5 hours. From Nairobi to Meshanani Gate, the distance is 228 km. The road is more than beautiful, providing remarkable scenic views. If you wish to fly to your destination, several flight companies fly to Amboseli National Park. The trip lasts half an hour, so it’s more time-efficient. Nonetheless, you are missing a lot of landscapes you would typically see during a drive.
When to Go & Weather
- June – October: these months mark the dry season. During the dry season, safaris are more convenient and comfortable, making traveling conditions readily available. Plus, wildlife viewing is facilitated given the pleasant weather.
- November – May: these months mark the rainy season. The disadvantage of traveling to Amboseli National Park this time of year is the fact that the roads are harder to navigate, in some cases even impossible.
In a nutshell, Amboseli National Park is open round-the-year for eager travelers. However, if your primary interest is to observe the legendary herds of elephants and relish the spectacular, majestic views, the dry season is more decent. Also, the traveling conditions are more comfortable. On the other hand, the rainy season brings to light a myriad of beautiful plants, creating evergreen, to-die-for landscapes. Plus, the migratory birds can be spotted during the rainy season. The downside is that the high amount of rain makes the roads relatively inaccessible. All in all, when picking your time, it is best to take into consideration your primary interest.
Kenya is located in the proximity of the Equator. Thus, it presents an overall pleasant weather climate. As a result of significant regional climatic alterations, such as altitude, the weather is sensitive to changes. Still, even though there are two distinct seasons, a dry and humid one, Kenya doesn’t offer an authentic winter and summer. For instance, temperatures may quickly drop to 6 Celsius degrees as you reach a higher altitude. Nonetheless, temperatures during the day range from 20 to 28 Celsius degrees. More information on the weather climate in Kenya is readily available here:
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The European Joseph Thompson was the first to dare enter the mysterious Maasai region – in Maa referred to as Empusel. He was first attracted by the significant difference in the arid, dusty appearance and the presence of lush swamps – this stunning contrast can be observed today as well.
In 1906, Amboseli was established as “the Southern Reserve” for Maasai. Unfortunately, though, in 1948, the locals regained control over the region, being officially acknowledged as a game reserve. Only in 1974 was Amboseli National Park officially designated as a National Park, in order to protect the unique wildlife diversity the park hosted.
In 1991, it was included in the UNESCO heritage. In 2005, the National Park managed to gain an average profit of $3.5 million. In the same year, the president of the state – Mwai Kibaki made an official statement that the National Park will be further administered by the Olkejuado County Council. Some perceived this move as a political favor. Given this fact, the park’s admission fees were directed to the County Council.
You can observe typical savannah plains spread to the broad horizon being accompanied by the unique image of Mount Kilimanjaro and the distant view of acacia trees. The snow covering the peak of the highest mountain in Africa, in contrast with the sandy dust of the plains create a unique, yet beautiful contrast.
The wet swamps attract large populations of animals, among which the most visible are the majestic elephants. During walking safaris, you will observe a myriad of plants that carry important cultural significance for the Maasai people. In fact, every plant presents its individual medicinal use, which has remained unchanged for centuries.
Amboseli National Park is highly acknowledged for its elephant population, which includes 58 families and somewhere near 300 independent adult males. Each of them has been named and coded, making recognition possible. The Amboseli elephants are, by all means, the most popular free-ranging elephant population in the world.
An abundance of other species is recorded as well – gazelles, zebras, elands, waterbucks, warthogs, and many others. But this is certainly not all. The presence of prey species attracts large numbers of hunters – populations of lions, leopards, elands, wildcats, hyenas, jackals, civets and several other animals dwell on the premises of the beautiful park. The cheetah – which is the fastest hunter on the planet, can be spotted from a distance as well. The presence of the yellow and olive baboon is also notable, and if you’re lucky, you can catch a glimpse of them. Your guide will bring you to the best points in which you can observe a range of interesting wildlife scenery, for instance, herbivore birthing, populations of elephants bathing, predators hunting gazelles, and more.
Amboseli promises a gratifying birdwatching experience as well. With over 400 species, you can delight your sight in observing stunning starlings, sunbirds, and many other migratory species.
At the moment, multiple organizations contribute to ensuring the preservation of this unique area. The African Wildlife Foundation has played a significant role in protecting the natural water supplies in the region from the detrimental effects of pollution. Another organization entitled Noomayianat Community Development Organization is responsible for educating the locals concerning the crucial importance of environmental sustainability.
The Amboseli Ecosystem Trust is an organization that focuses on meeting the needs of the locals while ensuring the proper conservation of the area. In the same respect, they try to minimize the ever-growing problems between animals and locals.
- The name of the park – Amboseli is inspired by the Maasai word, which in English means “salty dust.”
- The Amboseli territory is known to have belonged to the land of the Maasai – which is the legendary tribe comprised of nomad shepherds and warriors that would drink a combination of blood and milk. Even today, the Maasai people dwell on the premises of the National Park, exactly as they used to do centuries ago – grazing their herds on the plains, and moving their households in search of finding the best pasture spots. The Maasai people offer a particular flavor to the region, and they are a visual cultural picture for each foreigner to observe.
- In the 1990’s, as a result of a significant amount of rainfall, Amboseli was turned into a swamp. A couple of years afterward, the amount of rain was utterly diminished, and the plains covered with evergreen grass were replaced by dust – which is ancient ash from the volcano.
- Even though the presence of rhinos was noted in the past, unfortunately, the populations have disappeared, given the intensive poaching over the last decades.
- The Amboseli Elephant Research Project is acknowledged as the world’s longest study developed on elephants. Ever since 1972, intimate, specific details concerning the lives of the Amboseli elephants have been noted and observed. There are recorded numerous publications about the elephants dwelling here, making them the most appreciated and recognized elephants around the world.