National Park of Amboseli Kenya is a beautiful area located on the border between Kenya and Tanzania, northwest of Mount Kilimanjaro. It’s a 392-square-kilometer park dominated by acacia forest, rocky thorny bush, marshland, and a Pleistocene lake. Amboseli National Park is one of Kenya’s most renowned and frequented parks, with such a heavy concentration of African elephants and a superb position with a spectacular picturesque perspective of Mount Kilimanjaro that is beneficial for photographers. To see the greatest herds of elephants up close, travelers frequently travel to Amboseli, whose name is taken from the Maasai term for salty dust.
Amboseli National Park is a significant ecological system comprised of open plains, acacia forests, rocky shrub bush, marshes, salt marshes, and a parched Pleistocene lake basin. There’s also a dried-up bed of Lake Amboseli within those areas, as well as wetlands with Sulphur springs.
History of the Park
Jeremy Thompson is thought to be the first European to enter the feared Maasai region of Empusel’. It was 1883, while he was astounded by the incredible variety of wildlife as well as the comparison between an oasis of swamplands and the drier regions of the dry lake beds, which still exists today. Amboseli was designated as the Maasai Southern Reserve in 1906, however it was given back to local control as just a game reserve in 1948. It was designated as a Kenyan national park in 1974 to safeguard it as the heart of this unique landscape. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991.
Location and how to get there
About 240 kilometers southeast of Nairobi, in the Oloitokitok District of Kenya’s Rift Valley Province, is where you’ll find Amboseli National Park. Amboseli National Park can be accessed by both air and road transport means.
By Air; At Empusel gate, the park has just one light aircraft runway known as Amboseli Airport (HKAM). Kilimanjaro Buffalo Hotel and the neighboring town of Namanga also have other airstrips.
Scheduled flights between parks are available and are usually booked as part of your tour package. Domestic flights from Nairobi depart from Wilson Airport (WIL), located 6 kilometers/4 miles south of the city. Scheduled flights are available with the following domestic airlines, Air-Kenya, Safari-link and Air Safari in Mombasa
By road; the primary route into the park is through Namanga on the Nairobi-Arusha Road (240 km), passing via Meshanani Gate. The alternate route travels 228 kilometers from Nairobi to Mombasa through Emali. The major route from Mombasa to Tsavo West National Park is by Kimana (Olkelunyiet) Gate.
The best time to visit Amboseli National park
The ideal year-round visit to Amboseli National Park is between June and October, which is believed to be the finest period for watching animals. The dry season, which occurs in January and February, is also the best time to visit the area. It is easier to identify several species of animals during the dry season because the vegetation is always sparse and thin.
Things to see in Amboseli National Park
Animals and wildlife
The Amboseli National Park is a popular destination on safaris in Kenya. The park is well-known for its large elephant populations and provides excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing. In dawn and dusk, elephants prowl the arid plains. The elephants spend most of the day grazing in the Ol Okenya marsh when they are partially submerged. The Amboseli elephants are quite comfortable around cars and bear particularly magnificent ivory due to their lengthy history of being protected from hunting.
Approximately 500 elephants have been recorded in the area, and you can observe them roaming freely through its plains. While being visible throughout the park, the greatest place to watch Amboseli elephants is along the shores of Lake Amboseli, where most of the big animals congregate, particularly during the dry season. Elephants in the Amboseli National Park are divided into 58 families, with approximately 300 male elephants in each. Female leaders of the herds protect the young from predators.
In addition to elephants, most of Africa’s well-known safari highlights may be seen here. Cape buffaloes, lions, cheetahs, leopards, spotted hyenas, Masai giraffes, Zebras, and wildebeests are some of these animals. Many large herbivores, like as Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelles, impalas, and hippos, can be seen on the plains. Buffalo, hippo, and elephant prefer to camp in the enkongo Narok marshes as well as other perennial swamps that split the grey landscape into large swaths. Groups of zebra, wildebeest, and impala can be seen nearby grazing.
Amboseli is a tourist place for Kenya bird watching safaris, with over 400 described species. The swamps in the park’s center are ideal for water-loving birds like egrets, herons, pelicans, and crowned cranes. During the wet season, significant numbers of flamingos could be present. The grassland regions are home to some intriguing ground birds, including Hartlaub’s bustard and the locally endemic Pangani longclaw. Several dry region specials can be found in the acacia woodland, including the steel-blue whydah, white-bellied go-away bird, and Von der Decken’s hornbill. Numerous different prominent bird species in the park also include African Jacanas, Goliath Herons, Grey craned cranes, Hartlaub’s bustards, Rufous chatterer, African swamphens, common redshanks, Taveta golden weavers, Von der Decken’s hornbills, Yellow-necked spurfowls, Dickinson’s kestrels, Eurasian thick-knees, Long-toed lapwings, Pangani longclaws, Rufous chatterers, Rufous-bellied herons, Spike-heeled larks, Steel-blue whydahs.
Elephant Research Camp
Tourists on a Kenya wildlife safari can gain knowledge more about elephants at the Elephant Research Camp. Dr. Cynthia Moss, author of The Amboseli Elephants and Elephant Memories, has made the Amboseli elephants among the most extensively studied in the world. The Amboseli Trust for Elephants maintains the research camp in the park’s heart. Although the camp isn’t really open to informal visitors, a one-hour lecture where the researchers describe their work and other elephant nature conservation can be arranged, with time for questions at the end.
The Lakes in Amboseli National Park
The park’s western region is home to the lakes, which are seasonal and mostly top up in the rainy season. They dwell in a portion of the ancient Pleistocene lake’s drained basin. The Kioko Lake, Simek Lake, Conch Lake, and Amboseli Lake, sometimes known as Embosel or Empusel, are the principal ones. Except during droughts, there is virtually always water in these basins. The Conch Lake, which translates to “shell lake,” gets its name from the shells discovered in its ground. They were unearthed in the 1950s as a consequence of a dry spell that depleted the lake totally.
In comparison with the other lakes in the park, Amboseli Lake is situated in the park’s western portion. It encompasses an extensive region outside the park’s boundaries, with a portion of it spanning beyond the Tanzanian border. It may be less picturesque than other Great Rift Valley lakes such as Manyara Lake, Natron Lake, and Magadi Lake, but it has a unique charm.
The marshes in Amboseli National Park
The Amboseli National Park has a network of marshes and swamps that provide animals living there with water. Marshes in the park are located in the center of Amboseli and shine out amid the parched and dusty plains of the park due to their vibrant green color. There are several marshes in the park, such as OI Tukai, Ologinya/OI Okenya, Enkongo or Ngong Narok Narok, and Engone Naibor.
Most of the marshes inside the park are fed by natural spring that seeps through the volcanic soils into to the valley from impressive Mt Kilimanjaro’s snowmelt. These marshes are a beneficial destination for viewing hippo, elephants, and various water bird species, including kingfishers, cattle egrets, herons, and black-winged stilts.
The observation Hill
This is the most beautiful vantage point for seeing the park’s endless plains, situated in the western region of Amboseli National Park. This hill, also recognized as a pyramid-shaped hill, is located in Amboseli National Park’s western province. The observation hill is a major destination for tourists who hike to the highest point of the hill to get a good view of Mount Kilimanjaro, the picturesque elegance of the park, as well as observe feral creatures up close, view marshes, savannah plains, and many other things. However, Amboseli National Park is the sole place where tourists are permitted to disembark from their vehicle while on a game drive to view the park’s gems along the stunning observation point, which serves as a stopping point.
The Masai people surrounding Amboseli National Park
The intriguing Masai people inhabit the park’s periphery, and seeing their village is essential while visiting Amboseli because it provides a glimpse into real African culture. You can experience Masai cultural customs at the Masai hamlet, including local culinary delicacies, Masai dances, traditional songs, and their distinctive form of addressing that is similar to the Karamojong of Uganda. You can also shop for Masai antiques. Also, a seven-day Masai gala is held every year in Loitoktok when the majority of the Masai culture, customs, and traditions are displayed. The Masai yearly Olympics are held in Kimana.
One of the tourist attractions in Amboseli National Park, it is plainly visible and offers worthwhile sights to visitors. At 5,895 meters above sea level, Mount Kilimanjaro is indeed the tallest and most magnificent natural mountain in Africa. It does, however, have a snow-capped peak with a beautiful scenery surrounding it, and from here, the vista of its summit is gratifying and magnificent for photography