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Amboseli

Best known for unrivalled views of Mount Kilimanjaro and its large population of free-ranging elephants.

Amboseli together with the twin National Parks of Tsavo East and West forms a massive wilderness reserve with over 10 million acres. Framing the vast plains of Tsavo, and lying within view of majestic Mt Kilimanjaro, are the Taita and the gentle Chyulu Hills.

The Amboseli area includes the Amboseli and Chyulu Hills National Parks, as well as large Maasai communities and wildlife sanctuaries. This is a very busy park because of its proximity to Nairobi and access to some large lodges and hotels established in the heydays of the 70’s and 80’s is easy. Amboseli can be busy especially from June to October as result. The secret is to stay at one of the less mainstream camps and take advantage of some crafty guides who know how, where and when to steer clear of the hotel traffic and visit the park from mid-morning to lunch when most of the other guests are back in their hotels enjoying brunch!

Amboseli National Park has the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro inselberg in full view beyond vast plains up to the foothills. With swamps having formed from Kili’s ice-melt there’s enormous biodiversity here. It’s one of the country’s foremost wildlife destinations – almost equal to the spectacular game counts of the famous Masai Mara and the lesser travelled Laikipia.

There are five habitats in the park: open plains, acacia woodland, thornbush country littered with rocks, swamps and marshland. Most of the park lies across a pleistocene lake basin, now dry. In very wet weather, a temporary lake, Lake Amboseli, floods and restricts access to this part of the park. The climate is mainly hot and dry and most of the park falls in the rainshadow of Mt Kilimanjaro.

Wildlife are famous – especially the free ranging elephant families. There are large herds of buffalo and elephant that wallow in the swamps and are often seen in the palm forests. Zebra, wildebeest and hippo graze on the plains, whilst in the acacia woodland the uncommon fringe-eared oryx and gerenuk are found, and the spectacled elephant shrew.

Hippos alongside large herds of elephants and buffalo take advantage of the swamps and palm forests. The plains suit an abundance of wildebeest, and zebra. The woodlands are favoured habitats for oryx, gerenuk, small game and a large diversity of birds.

The large Maasai communities on the outskirts of the park contribute to the scene with their traditional dances and some first class lectures interpreting the culture of the Maa people.

So the game is good, the views are spectacular and the cultural interactions can be especially rewarding during a short stay.

Some of the major attractions of the park are:

Glacial peak of Mt Kilimanjaro if the clouds clear!
Close interaction with the elephants
Mt Meru – hiking
Observation Hill which allows an overall view of the whole park especially the swamps and elephants
Contemporary Maasai culture and indigenous homesteads (although a little commercialised, worth a visit)
Camel safaris are also available in the area although we suggest the Laikipia offers better camel safaris with a more rounded experience.
Birding is excellent and includes the Madagascar Squacco Heron which shows up at intervals and the long-toed lapwing is present in small numbers.

A note on contributions to the community:

Since 2009 a conservancy fee of US$100.00 has been charged per client per night. This is a compulsory fee levied by the Kenyan Wildlife Service and the local community and is a combination of parks fees, community conservation fee and community camp fee. This fee is included in the cost per night of our safaris and it is paid directly to the communities concerned.

Ideal for photographers or first timers on safari.

For a fully rounded experience with great vistas, uncrowded wilderness and good game we strongly recommend the Chyulu Hills just north of the park.

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Highlights

Views of Mount Kilimanjaro Views of Mount Kilimanjaro View More

Amboseli is best known for unrivalled views of Mount Kilimanjaro and its large elephant population. Amboseli is home to over 1000 elephants, some of the biggest in Africa.

Epic elephant photos Epic elephant photos View More

Amboseli is home to over 1000 elephants, some of the biggest in Africa.

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