Amboseli National Reserve

>>>>Amboseli National Reserve

Amboseli National Reserve

Crowned by Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, Amboseli National Reserve is one of Kenya’s most common tourist parks. The name “Amboseli” comes from a Maasai word meaning “salty dust”, an apt description for the park’s parched conditions. The reserve is one of the best places in Africa to view large herds of elephants up close. Other wildlife commonly spotted in the park includes big cats such as lion and cheetah as well as giraffe, impala, eland, waterbuck, gazelle, and more than 600 species of birds.

Nature lovers can explore five different habitats here ranging from the dried-up bed of Lake Amboseli, wetlands with sulfur springs, savannah, and woodlands. Look for the local Maasai people who live in the area around the park. Amboseli National Park, formerly Maasai Amboseli Game Reserve, is in Kajiado County, Kenya and located in Loitokitok district. The park is 39,206 hectares (392 km2; 151 sq mi) in size at the core of an 8,000 square kilometres (3,100 sq mi) ecosystem that spreads across the Kenya-Tanzania border.

The local people are mainly Maasai, but people from other parts of the country have settled there attracted by the successful tourist-driven economy and intensive agriculture along the system of swamps that makes this low-rainfall area (average 350 mm (14 in)) one of the best wildlife-viewing experiences in the world with 400 species of birds including water birds, pelicans, kingfishers, crakes, hammerkops and 47 types of raptor.

The park protects two of the five main swamps, and includes a dried-up Pleistocene lake and semi-arid vegetation.240 kilometers (150 miles) southeast from the capital city Nairobi, Amboseli National Park is the second most popular national park in Kenya after Maasai Mara National Reserve. In 1883, Joseph Thompson was the first European to penetrate the feared Maasai region known as Empusel (meaning ‘salty, dusty place’ in Maa). He, too, was astonished by the fantastic array of wildlife and the contrast between the arid areas of the dry-lake bed and the oasis of the swamps, a contrast that persists today. [read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less“]  

Amboseli was set aside as the ‘Southern Reserve’ for Maasai in 1906 but returned to local control as a Game Reserve in 1948. Gazetted a National Park in 1974 to protect the core of this unique ecosystem, it was declared a UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve in 1991. The park earned $3.5 m (€2.9 m) in 2005. On 29 September 2005, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki declared that control of the park should pass from the Kenya Wildlife Service to the Olkejuado County Council and the Maasai tribe. Some observers saw this as a political favour in advance of a vote on a new Kenyan constitution: legal challenges are currently in court.

The degazetting would divert park admission fees directly to the County Council with shared benefits to the Maasai immediately surrounding the park. Amboseli’s covers an area of 3,810 square kilometres in southern Kenya and is dominated by the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. It is justly famous for its big game – elephant, lion and cheetah are the main attractions – and for its great scenic beauty. There are five main wildlife habitats, plus a generally dry lake-bed – Lake Amboseli – from which the park takes its name. Habitats range from open plains to stands of fever trees, thick thorn-bush and swamps and marshes. All support good wildlife densities.[/read] 

Trip Advisor Ratings

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[su_tab title=”How to get to Amboseli Park” ]

Getting around by air

Airkenya has daily flights between Nairobi’s Wilson Airport (35 minutes) and Amboseli. You’ll need to arrange with one of the lodges or a safari company for a vehicle to meet you at the airstrip, which is inside the park proper, near Ol Tukai Lodge. Most lodges within the park charge around US$40 for the transfer from the air strip. There is a small airport in Amboseli, the Amboseli Airport (HKAM).

The park is located some 365 kilometers southeast of Nairobi and it can be accessed by either road or air transport. Driving from Nairobi to Meshanani Gate will take a traveler about two and half hours to reach the gate via Isinya and down the Magadi Road in Nairobi, afterwhich one will join the Nairobi – Arusha Road and will soon get to Namanga Town. This is the border town between Kenya and Tanzania from there it takes a traveler about 45-60 minutes to reach Meshanani Gate depending on the type of vehicle being used.

 

 From Mombasa the park is accessed through Tsavo West National Park via Kimana (Olkelunyiet) Gate, through this route the roads are absolutely beautiful and smooth passing through a small town known as Emali on the main road to Mombasa. It should be noted that the roads in the park have loose surfaces and hence it is a dusty and bumpy ride but it is totally worth it.

 

Flying to Amboseli National Park will take the traveler about half an hour or so.

Chartered flights from major cities like Nairobi and Mombasa land at airstrips located at Empusel Gate, Namanga and Kilimanjaro Buffalo Lodge. The minor setbacks however of flying is that one will miss out on the scenery and seeing more of the country.

Best time to visit the Amboseli National Park

Amboseli can be visited throughout the year, but the most rewarding wildlife watching is in the Dry season, from June to October, when animals gather around the marshes and other predictable water sources. When dry, animals crossing the sandy plains tend to kick up a lot of dust, offering some great photo opportunities when the light is low.

The months of Nov –Feb are good for bird-watching though November rains are a petty convenience, and elephants and lions stray beyond the park and between Mar-May rains mean wildlife disperses, but it depends on the year.

THE CLIMATE AT THE AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK

The Amboseli National Park generally has a hot and dry weather since the air discharges its moisture on Mount Kilimanjaro, where the rains occur and where it snows, therefore the air reaching this zone is usually devoided of moisture.

The only rains occur during the two rainy seasons: the season of the long rains from April to May and the small rainy season from November to December. The park is open all year round but the best time for sightings of mammals, who meet at the limited sources of water present here, is during the dry season from June to October, with warm and dry days and from January to March with hot and dry days. From November to January, it is the best time for birdwatching, in these months in fact in the park.

 In addition to residents, even birds migrating here during the palearctic winter, are present. During the dry season the park is very arid, its terrain consists of volcanic ashes spilled from Mount Kilimanjaro more than 250,000 years ago and, with the absence of rains a lot of dust is raised and, due to the terrain and drafts, this creates several reels. In addition, the crystallized salt, deposited on the soil surface as a result of the evaporation of rainwater filling the basin of the Lake Amboseli, often creates the curious effect of mirages. During the rainy season, sightings are a little more difficult because the water sources are available a bit everywhere in the park and then the animals are dispersed; furthermore, if the rains are plentiful, roads are likely to become muddy and more difficult to practice.

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Things to do in Amboseli National reserve

Amboseli’s National Park is undisputedly one of the most scenic national parks in Kenya. It is not only home to the Big Five, but also a rich playfield of diverse wildlife and vegetation ranging from antelopes, monkeys, hyenas, giraffes, crocodiles, peacocks and ostriches. Its vast landscape offers scenic hills and swamps in the stretch of 8, 000 square kilometers of land cover.

There are plenty of activities that you can indulge in while at this prestigious national park as listed below.

Wildlife Viewing

The landscape of the Amboseli National Park offers the most scenic views of wildlife.  The Amboseli is like a gigantic bowl of vast vegetation cover and numerous swamps that harbor wild animals of disparate species from the Big Five to unique birds such as, peacocks and spotty zebras.

 A cultural visit to the local villages

The local communities living around the Amboseli national park are a unique ethnic group in East Africa. The Maasai community is known for its traditional culture that has not been affected by modernization of the African continent. They lead a tribal way of life, which is worth exploring especially their traditional dances and clothing.

 Go on an epic Game Drive

Going on a game drive in the Amboseli is more than just landscape viewing and encountering animals. The Amboseli is a unique formation of nature that is driest and covered by dust from recurrent winds, which create a “dust devil” phenomenon. This happens from time to time depending on the changes in atmospheric pressure to build a mini-twister like impression in the air. However, as much it is enjoyable to watch, keep safe distance from it since it uncomfortable on the skin. Game drives in the Amboseli also provide a truly refreshing encounter of watching the sunrise and sunset in exceptional hues of colour change over the horizons.

 Nature photography

The Amboseli National Park is probably Africa’s irrefutable background of scenic brilliance. The beautiful scene of the ice-capped Mount Kilimanjaro; which is the highest mountain in the African continent- provides the perfect backdrop for nature photography. Make sure you carry a standard camera and back up storage cards to capture the beauty of nature and carry those moments with you! The Amboseli is absolutely the embodiment of the African jungle which can be compared to the prairies of the Americas. To get the best out of nature photography in the Amboseli, camp in the wild and watch the nature and animal behaviour unfold, from the roars of lions to the lightning speed of cheetahs hunting in the bush.

Make a visit to the Observation Hill.

A pyramid shaped volcanic hill which is the only place in the entire park where walking safaris are permitted. The hill is a mushroomed volcano on a predominantly flat park, from the hill the traveler can admire the view of plains and swamps against the backdrop of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The best places to see elephants in the park, also the hill attracts lots of tourists both local and international due to its scenic nature. To enjoy the hill a tourist is advised to bring a pair of binoculars to be able to view up close as the wildlife drink water from the numerous swamps below from the summit of the hill and a powerful lens for taking good pictures.

Visit the elephant research camp

This iconic research camp at the heart of the Amboseli is home to the most studied elephants in the whole world thanks largely to Dr. Cynthia Moss. A lot of books about elephants have been able to be written as a result of the research being carried out at this camp. also the documentary about Echo the elephant was filmed from the findings of the research camp. One major setbacks though about the camp is that it is not open for casual visits, although it is quite possible for a tourist to visit with prior arrangement. Here you will get to meet the researchers who will explain their work and other related issues relating to elephant conservation.

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[su_tab title=”What to See Amboseli Park” ]

Wildlife

The park is famous for being the best place in the world to get close to free-ranging elephants.  Other attractions of the park include opportunities to meet Maasai and visit a Maasai village. The park also has views of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

Amboseli was home to Echo, perhaps the most researched elephant in the world, and the subject of many books and documentaries, followed for almost four decades by American conservationist Dr Cynthia Moss. Echo died in 2009 when she was about 60 years old.

Amboseli offers some of the best opportunities to see African wildlife because the vegetation is sparse due to the long dry months. Amboseli National Park is home to many species, including African bush elephants, Cape buffaloes, impala, East African lions, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, Masai giraffes, plains zebras and blue wildebeest among other African animals. There is also a host of Kenyan birds, both large and small.

Amboseli is one of Kenya’s most popular parks, and offers great wildlife viewing. The park is famous for its elephants, but most big safari animals can be spotted here. Black rhino has unfortunately become extinct, but four of the other Big Five are present. The plains support an abundance of large herbivores including wildebeest, Burchell’s zebra and Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelle. Masai giraffe and impala can usually be found browsing from stands of acacia trees.

Amboseli’s specialty is its elephants. Big herds roam the dusty plains in the morning and evening. During the day the elephants mostly spend their time partially submerged, foraging in Ol Okenya swamp. Having been protected from poaching for a long time, the Amboseli elephants carry particularly impressive ivory and are very relaxed around cars.

Best time for wildlife viewing

Amboseli can be visited throughout the year, but the most rewarding wildlife watching is in the Dry season, from June to October, when animals gather around the marshes and other predictable water sources. When dry, animals crossing the sandy plains tend to kick up a lot of dust, offering some great photo opportunities when the light is low.

Normatior (Observation Hill)

This pyramid-shaped hill is one of the only places in the park where you can get out and walk. The summit provides an ideal lookout from which to orientate yourself to the plains, swamps and roads below. The views from here are also pretty special, whether south to Kilimanjaro or east across the swamps. Wildlife is generally a fair way off, but the views here put them in their context.

Sinet Delta

From Normatior (Observation Hill), the northern route runs across the Sinet Delta, which is an excellent place for birdwatching. The vegetation is thicker the further south you go, providing fodder for giraffes and also framing some of the park’s best Kilimanjaro views.

Lake Amboseli

Away to the northwest from the delta, this ‘lake’ occupies a large swathe of the park, but it’s usually bone dry, except after extended rains. At other times, it’s worth a journey out here if you’ve time to spare, not least because few vehicles make it out this way.

Wildlife of Amboseli

Elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah Maasai giraffe and buffalo are some of the big game you may see on a game drive. Plains game is prolific and includes Burchells’ zebra, eland, Coke’s hartebeest, white-bearded wildebeest, common waterbuck, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle and impala. In the dry bush country and arid area you may find gerenuk and fringe eared oryx. Smaller mammals always in evidence include black-faced vervet monkey and yellow baboon, black backed jackals, spotted hyena and bat eared foxes.

Birdlife

Elephant and pelicans, Amboseli National Park Bird life is abundant, especially in the vicinity of the swamps and lakes where you can see a large variety of water birds. There are pelicans, kingfishers, crakes, lilytrotters, egrets, hammerkops and the rare Madagascar squacco heron can sometimes be seen. So far, 47 raptors have been identified, including the rare taita falcon and southern banded harrier eagle.

Scenery

The park encloses an interesting variety of habitats including dusty plains and marshy swamps, but it is the backdrop of snow-capped Kilimanjaro towering above the Amboseli plains that attracts most visitors to this scenic park.

Animals & Wildlife in Amboseli National Park

Amboseli is one of Kenya’s most popular parks, and offers great wildlife viewing. The park is famous for its elephants, but most big safari animals can be spotted here. Black rhino has unfortunately become extinct, but four of the other Big Five are present. The plains support an abundance of large herbivores including wildebeest, Burchell’s zebra and Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelle. Masai giraffe and impala can usually be found browsing from stands of acacia trees.

Amboseli’s specialty is its elephants. Big herds roam the dusty plains in the morning and evening. During the day the elephants mostly spend their time partially submerged, foraging in Ol Okenya swamp. Having been protected from poaching for a long time, the Amboseli elephants carry particularly impressive ivory and are very relaxed around cars.

Best time for wildlife viewing

Amboseli can be visited throughout the year, but the most rewarding wildlife watching is in the Dry season, from June to October, when animals gather around the marshes and other predictable water sources. When dry, animals crossing the sandy plains tend to kick up a lot of dust, offering some great photo opportunities when the

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[su_tab title=”Accommodation in Amboseli Park” ]

Tortilis Tented Camp, is located in a quiet area in the southern reaches of the park and has spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro. The camp is situated around a small kopje. There is a busy waterhole below, and sitting in a comfortable armchair in the bar you may often see elephant, zebra, gazelle and giraffe come to drink. High up on the kopje, the dining and living room are superbly situated in a stone and thatch building, totally open on one side to Mount Kilimanjaro. The bar has deep comfortable chairs, lots of reference books and a highly polished gramophone in one corner. The dining room has lots of tables-with-a-view and serves superb buffet breakfasts and lunches and excellent three course dinners (Tortilis Camp grow a great deal of their own vegetables and herbs and food is always fresh and delicious). Nearby there is also a small curio shop. During the heat of the day, relax by the swimming pool and enjoy the never-ending views across the plains. Guests can also enjoy a massage if they need a bit of pampering after a long day on safari.

Walking along small stone paths down the hill you come to the 17 tents, spaced well apart in and around the tortilis trees and vegetation. Each tent is under thatch and has a large cool veranda with Swahili day bed as well as comfortable chairs. Inside, there are polished wooden floors, double or twin beds and simple en suite bathrooms. There is a family tent, too, which has two ensuite bedrooms and a private verandah overlooking Kilimanjaro. Sitting on the veranda of your tent you may see elephants coming to water, francolins scuttling from bush to bush or even mongooses and dik diks.

Porini Camp is a semi-permanent mobile camp an hour from Amboseli on Maasai land. It has the feel of a true mobile camp with six dark green tents situated under acacia trees in the deep bush. The camp is surrounded by trees and dense bush and arriving, you feel as if you’re really out in the wilds, which indeed you are. Small paths, lined with dry branches lead to six tents, spaced around the clearing.

Each tent is very spacious and has beds, simple canvas wardrobes and en-suite bathrooms with hot bucket showers and flushed. In the centre of camp the main dining and living area is under canvas and is simple with a few wicker chairs and dining table. Meals are served by the light of lanterns and food is simple but good. The camp is perhaps at its most delightful in the early morning when large flocks of Guinea fowl and francolins come to the small bird bath to drink. With the sun shining through the trees you can sit and enjoy breakfast and the birds together.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge is located within Amboseli National Park, which lies approximately 250 kilometers from Nairobi and close to the Tanzanian border. Set against the magnificent backdrop of Africa’s highest mountain, the glittering Mount Kilimanjaro, Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge enjoys a uniquely privileged position at the heart of this world-famous national park. Private within a grove of acacia trees, the lodge looks out over the golden savannah plains, with uninterrupted views of the mountain itself. Close by are a series of emerald green swamps, which are fed by the melting snows of Kilimanjaro. The luxury en suite rooms are accommodated in two single-stoned dedicated buildings, which lie to the right and left of the main reception and dining areas. Each tastefully-appointed room features a Maasai-inspired, hand-painted, wall fresco, king-sized bed or luxurious twins, lavish all-encompassing mosquito-curtaining, bathroom (with walk-in shower), writing/vanity unit, and private veranda. Triple rooms can be made available. The central dining area is reached by an internal timbered bridge over a melt-water stream, and is flanked by water gardens. The walls feature hand-painted wildlife murals while the décor reflects the traditional artifacts of the Maasai people. The spacious lounge and bar feature a broad terrace and a blazing fire-pit where evening cocktails can be enjoyed. The menus feature a salad buffet, soup, entrée, pudding, cheese and biscuits and tea or coffee. Vegetarian options are always available.

Ol Tukai Lodge

Dining Area

Lunch is served out on the veranda and on most occasions elephants, zebra and buffalo can be spotted metres away from the fence. The restaurant serves al a carte menus as well as set buffets. Theme nights are held throughout the week and include barbecues and Swahili fish menus. In addition, the kitchen has an in house vegetarian and Indian cuisine chef. For any special needs please speak to the chef, who will be more than happy to cater for your particular taste.

Elephant Bar

The Elephant Bar is situated between the lounge and dining room. This open-air bar serves a wide selection of beers, cocktails, liqueurs and fresh fruit juices. Above the bar a roof level deck offers a splendid panorama of the marshlands and Kilimanjaro.

There are 80 luxury chalet-style twin rooms, all with an uninterrupted view of the wetlands or Kilimanjaro. Stylish and comfortable, the rooms have private bath rooms and individual terraces. There are rooms allocated for special needs visitors. The beautifully appointed rooms provide quality, comfort and attention to detail. The presence of the wilderness can be felt in the silence of the night. The crystal clear waters of the swimming pool are shaded by the occasional acacia tree. The pool deck has sun beds for relaxation and soaking up the afternoon African sunshine before the evening game drive. Reception at Ol Tukai is friendly and welcoming catering to the desires of the discerning traveller.

Satao Elerai Camp is located in a quiet, unspoilt, unique setting on a 5000-acre private conservation area 12 kms south east of Amboseli National Park at the foot of Africa’s Largest mountain, Mt Kilimanjaro. The camp looks down onto the Amboseli National Park in one direction and up to Mt Kilimanjaro in the other direction, giving clients what is arguably the best location of any camp in Amboseli. The camp currently has 9 luxuries en suite mountain facing tents and 5 large luxurious lodge style suites. Both the tents and the suites are en suite with the suites also having luxurious baths. The facilities are supplied with hot running water provided by ecofriendly solar units. The elegantly furnished suite rooms have large sliding doors that open out onto your own private verandah overlooking the plains below and Amboseli National Park. Elephants, giraffe’s and zebra are seen most days from the comfort of your room. Designed using natural rock and acacia wood, the bathrooms have their own naturally crafted bathtub and shower which is unique to Elerai.Their Safari chefs provide the most sumptuous selection of cuisines to satisfy every taste. The dinning room looks out onto Kilimanjaro to the South and down across the resident waterhole to the plains of Amboseli to the West. For groups a bush dinner on the Elerai conservation area offers something completely unique and special.

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2017-12-20T21:22:21+00:00December 20th, 2017|Categories: Kenya Safari Parks|
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