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Amboseli National Reserve Amboseli tour


The very scenic Amboseli National Park is one of Kenya’s most popular parks. It’s located about 230 kilometres south-east of Nairobi on the Tanzanian border. Amboseli enjoys the backdrop of Africa’s most iconic mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, that lies on the other side of the border with Tanzania. The flat open landscape makes for easy game viewing. Amboseli is a small park, a bit more than 390 square kilometres (1500 sq. miles), located more than 1100 metres above sea level [3790 ft.]. It became a national park in 1974 and a UNESCO Biosphere reserve in 1991. The name Amboseli means ‘salty dust’ in Masai. What makes it special are the Enkongo Narok and Olokenya swamps fed by the melting snow of Kilimanjaro. These water sources attract animals of all sizes, especially during the dry season.1amboseli elephants kenya 1500066

Here you can admire one of the classic sights of East Africa: a herd of elephant strolling across the plains with the snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro in the background. So I hope now you are ready to learn about my seven great reasons for visiting Amboseli National Park:

1) There are over 1000 elephants to admire

The park is famous for herds of elephants and groups of up to 100 are not uncommon. The bull elephants have some of the largest tusks in all of Kenya. There are over 1000 elephants in the Park, including 58 families and close to 300 independent adult males. Each individual has been named, numbered, or coded and can be recognized individually. This degree of recognition makes the Amboseli elephants the best-known free-ranging population in the world. It’s a fantastic feeling to watch them moving calmly and majestically around the place. 12amboseli kenya 150019912 amboseli kenya 150021814 amboseli kenya 1500220

2) Lions climb trees there

Do lions often climb trees? The answer is they don’t do it very often – in less than five percent of observations. So I have been quite lucky to observe that phenomenon twice a day in Amboseli National Park. It’s estimated that there are more than 100 lions in the park and the surrounding area. Also, meeting a lion on the road in Amboseli at sunset and following it was a real thrill to me.20 amboseli kenya 150017521 amboseli kenya 150055322 amboseli kenya 150057123 amboseli kenya 1500653

3) It’s home to wildebeests, buffalos, zebras, giraffes, and more

The park is home to more than 50 other mammal species, including herds of

zebra ↓32amboseli kenya 150010533amboseli kenya 1500113

wildebeests ↓

34 amboseli kenya 149091035 amboseli kenya 149099436 amboseli kenya 1500009buffalos ↓30 amboseli kenya 150008531amboseli kenya 1500086

giraffes ↓31 amboseli kenya 1490830

gerenuks ↓30 gerenuk amboseli kenya 1490826Grant’s gazelles ↓38 grants gazelle amboseli kenya 1490905

and Thomson’s gazelles ↓.39 thomsons gazelle amboseli kenya 1490847

4) Over 400 species of birds have been recorded there

Over 400 species of birds have been recorded there, amongst them

ostriches ↓40 amboseli kenya 1490850

flamingos ↓50amboseli kenya 1500471

yellow-billed storks ↓42 yellow billed storks amboseli kenya 1500323

colourful grey-crowned cranes ↓45 grey crowned cranes amboseli kenya 1500368

spur winged lapwings ↓46 spur winged lapwing amboseli kenya 1500405

African sacred ibises and pelicans ↓41 african sacred ibis amboseli kenya 1490959

So it has everything to make birdwatchers happy about seeing numerous birds. Among others, I really enjoyed watching a pied kingfisher hunt for a fish. Not only is the pied kingfisher the largest bird capable of a true hover in the still air, it is also the only kingfisher with completely black and white plumage.47 pied kingfisher amboseli kenya 150042448 pied kingfisher amboseli kenya 150043349 pied kingfisher amboseli kenya 1500438

5) Best views of mighty Kilimanjaro with a little luck

The world’s tallest free-standing mountain actually rises just across the border in Tanzania but Amboseli has a postcard-perfect view of its snow-capped peaks, rising almost six vertical kilometres above the savannah. While animal action is guaranteed, the sight of Kilimanjaro is not – except for occasional glimpses at sunrise and sunset, the mighty mountain is usually hidden in thick clouds. So the best time to view the mighty mountain is at dawn and sunset when the clouds lift and the light is clear and soft. 52amboseli kenya 1500521

6) Opportunity to stay at Serena safari lodge and enjoy their excellent game drives

The park is easily navigable and there’s a great choice of accommodation from Kenya Wildlife Service campsites to 5-star safari lodges. My choice was “The Great elephant trails“ safari by Serena with a stay in their Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge. 60 amboseli kenya 150012670serena amboseli kenya 1500053

7) Easy combining your trip with visiting Tsavo and parks in Tanzania

An Amboseli safari can be combined with several Tanzanian parks. Mount Kilimanjaro National Park and Arusha National Park lie just across the border and are the closest but the highlights of Northern Tanzania – the Serengeti, Tarangire and the Ngorongoro Crater – are easily accessible from this region. My choice was combining Amboseli with a visit to Tsavo West National Park.

Practical information

Amboseli National Park is easily accessible from both Nairobi and Mombasa over the weekend, so it might get quite busy. The warm and dry season from July to October is the best for game viewing and for personal comfort. I visited Amboseli in early June and it was quite comfortable. Access from Nairobi by road: 250 kilometres takes 4.5 to 5 hours. If you choose “The Great elephant trails “safari by Serena you have to travel to Emali train station first and then take a 2 hour road trip to Amboseli