Amboseli national park
Amboseli National park is one of the premium parks in Kenya alongside Masai Mara National reserve, Lake Nakuru national park. The park is known as a home of the African Elephant due to the high concentration of Elephants at the park. The park got its name after the local Maasai word Amboseli which means the “salty dust”. Amboseli National park has the red soil which becomes dustier during the dry season and muddy during the rainy season.
Formally called Masai Amboseli Game Reserve covers an area of 392 square kilometers. It was set aside as southern Reserve in 1906. In 1948 it was now returned to the control of the locals and established as a game reserve. Later in 1974 Amboseli National park was gazette as a national reserve. The main aim of gazeting the park was to protect the unique ecosystem that is found at the area. In 1991 Amboseli National park was declared UNESCO heritage site and its managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service.
Amboseli is one of the Kenyan parks that neighbors the world’s free standing mountain that Mt Kilimanjaro. It gives you clear view of the mountain especially early in the morning or late in the evening. It borders the Tsavo East National park and Tsavo West national park. Joseph Thompson was the first European to visit the park when it was still believed by locals as danger zone. After his visit the park gates were open to the entire world where guests started flocking in.
How to get to Amboseli National park
Amboseli National park can be reached by both road and air, by road there are two routes from Nairobi that go directly to Amboseli National park. One route is Nairobi via Namanga which is 240 kilometers on Nairobi-Arusha Road entering to the park through Meshanani Gate.
The second route is Nairobi via Emali which is 228 kilometers. This is the shortest route following Nairobi –Mombasa Road you will enter to the park through Kimana or Olkelunyiet gate.
For guests who fear the African road texture or may not have enough time to drive to the park can use the daily domestic flights. There are many domestic flights from Wilson airport or Jomo Kenyatta international airport. The park has one airstrip at Empusel gate, some other airstrips are found in Kilimanjaro Buffalo Lodge.
Attractions in Amboseli National park
Amboseli National park where your dream wildlife safari meets the actual ground experience. The size of the park does not limit the number of the attractions companied on the park that makes it the second famous park in Kenya after Masai Mara national reserve. The 5 major habitats that form up the Amboseli National park create an open ground for the different attractions in the park.
The key attraction found in Amboseli National park is the lake that is named after the park name. It’s the key drainer of the park with water the supports wildlife throughout the year. The salty lake attracts large herds of Elephants, buffalo and other animals who come for salt linking at the lake. During rainy season locals do boat rides at the lake.
The pyramid-shaped hills are located in the central part of Amboseli National park. They act as greatest aerial viewing point for the park. Park rangers also provided guided nature walks on this hills as they hike up to the hills. The hills give you great aerial view of the park always especially the evening time.
However much you will not hike to African highest mountain but one will have clear view of the mountains at every close range when you visit Amboseli National park. You will have clear views of the mountain early in the morning or late in the evening.
Animals and Birds
Amboseli has over 80 mammal species with 4 of the 5 members of African big 5 only missing the Rhinos. The park is a home of the largest herds of African Elephants, Elephant Shrew, lions, leopards, Cheetahs, zebras, hyenas, giraffes, wildebeest mention but a few. The park has permanent residents that makes all the game drives to be all successful throughout the year.
Amboseli National park has over 500 bird species with majority being permanent bird species. Some migratory birds do come during the breeding season. The most sited birds include: Secretary birds, Kori bustard, Ostrich, Hamerko, Sacred Ibis, African Jacana, Rufous Chatterer, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Flamingo, African Swamphen, Steel-blue whydah, Weaver, Lapwing, Hornbill, Different kind of Herons, Pangani longclaw
Activities in Amboseli National park
Amboseli National park is the best park for Kenya safaris that gives you the best wildlife viewing points. The park can be visited any time of the as the animals are permanent residents. Your safari to this park is excellently rewarding with all the 4 members of the 5 African big game.
The walking safaris are done through the central part of the park along the observation hills. The guided hike will lead you to the Pyramid shaped hills that give you a clear view of the wildlife in one section. The walks are done in the evening and some times in the morning depending on your time preference. The walking safaris are very unique as you encounter the wildlife on foot with the guide of the game ranger. You will see closely the animals like lions, cheetahs, hyenas, Elephants, zebras, buffalo, Giraffes, Antelope and many more.
Amboseli National park inhabits over 500 bird species with majority being permanent residence. The birders enjoy birding throughout the year though the best months are rainy months when the birds are nestling. The birding lists is long but can be achieved with more than one day birding safari at the park with great experienced birding guide. The birding guide will always brief you on the parking list so as to achieve the best. The bird list include: African Jacana, Rufous Chatterer, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Flamingo, African Swamphen, Secretary birds, Kori bustard, Ostrich, Hamerko, Sacred Ibis, Steel-blue whydah, Weaver, Lapwing, Hornbill, Different kind of Herons, Pangani longclaw mention but a few.
The Maasa Communities who live around the park have great culture that guests can enjoy while in Amboseli national park. This is a complement of the our wildlife experience, take time with the most popular tribe in Africa with untapped culture. They have traditional performances, dance and many cultural activities.
Hot air balloon safaris
Amboseli national park is one of the few parks in Africa where balloon safaris are done. See the scenic views of the close Kilimanjaro mountains and the plains of the park with an eagle eye. The balloon safaris start early in the morning fly above the savannah grassland to Nyika plateau across the tropical rainforests at the park.