Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is among the top destination for a Kenya Safari, located in Kajiado County, lying in the immediate north-west of Mount Kilimanjaro bordering Tanzania. The park is 392 square kilometers is size at the center of an 8,000 square kilometer ecosystem that spreads on the Kenya-Tanzania border.
The national park lies approximately 240 kilometers from Nairobi (4 hours’ drive) as you travel through Namanga and can be accessed through Meshanani gate. Other gates that can be used include Iremito, Kelunyiet, Kitrua and Ilmeshanan gates.
There is another alternative route through Emali and is approximately 228 kilometers. Amboseli Airstrip is located inside the park. Some lodges also have their airstrips.
Amboseli National Park was declared as a national reserve in 1968 then later in 1974, it was gazetted as a national park. The park is managed by the Olkejuedo County Council and the local Community (Maasai). The name Amboseli is derived from a Maasai word meaning ‘ salty dust.’
Guests can visit the national park throughout the year including the public holidays but the best time for game viewing is during the dry season (January to March, July to October and December) since it is dry, the wildlife congregate around the remaining waterholes to quest their thirst.
Average temperatures are moderate throughout the year. The short rains occur between November and December while the long rains occur between April to June. The main disadvantage of traveling during the rainy season is the roads, but this can be solved by using air instead of using roads or using 4×4 Land Cruisers that can access the park anytime.
The park is famously known for being the best place to get closer to over 900 free-ranging elephants among other animals such as cape buffaloes, lions, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, zebras, wildebeests, impalas, nocturnal porcupine among others.
The park is one of the smaller game parks in Kenya. It is also a bird watcher’s hot spot since there are many species of Savannah, range and water birds that can be spotted here.
Amboseli offers spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. The best time to view the mountain is at dawn and sunset.
The streams from Kilimanjaro snow peak drain into the center of Amboseli, creating swamps such as Enkongo Narok swamp and Longinye swamp that are surrounded by open savannah plains and fed by the underground rivers from the melting snow.
The swamps attract and support diverse birdlife including Kenya’s migratory birds such as flamingoes, African skimmers, yellow and red bishops. Buffalo weavers, goshawks, palm nut vultures and many more.
Amboseli boasts private conservancies located in the edge of the park:
1) Selenkay Conservancy- A 15,000-acre conservancy situated on the northern boundary of Amboseli National Park approximately 4 hours’ drive from Nairobi and Selenkay Airstrip for chartered flights.
This conservancy is one of the settlers of the community conservation in Kenya. Guests are guaranteed to see elephants, gazelles, lions, cheetahs, foxes, mongooses, porcupines, and yellow baboons.
2) Kitirua Conservancy- Is a 30,000-acre conservancy located between the southwest of Amboseli National Park and the border of Tanzania. From this conservancy, you have access to Amboseli swamps and the grazing land.
Activities offered in Amboseli National Park include bird watching, morning and evening game drives, visiting the local community (Maasai), visiting the observation hill that overlooks the swamp, park and the free-roaming elephants, viewing Mount Kilimanjaro, hot air balloon over the park and visiting the wetlands.
Amboseli National Park offers several accommodations ranging from exclusive to budget lodges and camps