highlights and main attractions amboseli national park

Set in the shadow of the majestically looming Mount Kilimanjaro, Amboseli National Park in Southern Kenya combines stunning scenery with prolific game wildlife roaming its plains. Backed by the silhouette of Africa’s highest mountain, this culminates in some of Africa’s most distinctive and quintessential imagery. With excellent year-round sightings and such enviable landscapes, it is understandably one of Kenya’s most attractive areas for safari exploration and can be busy during the popular months between July and October. 

Situated an hour's flight from Nairobi, or four hours by vehicle due southeast, Amboseli is fairly compact compared to other parks in Kenya, covering a total area of 392 square kilometres within the Rift Valley Province. 

Established as a National Park in 1974, it was also declared a "UNESCO Man and the Biosphere" Reserve in 1991.

amboseli national park

Eco-system and wildlife

The ecosystem of the park is comprised of mainly savannah and grassland plains, but there are various habitat types, which also include swamps, dry lake beds, marshland, thick thorn bush and acacia forest. Volcanic ash from the eruptions of Kilimanjaro a millennium ago form heat-wave mirages in the dry season, inspiring the name ‘Amboseli’, meaning ‘salty dust’ in local Maasai. The arid appearance is somewhat deceptive, however, as the basin is constantly fed by springs from the mountain’s ice caps in the middle of the park. The springs and their magnetism explain the famous diversity of wildlife and birdlife that can be experienced.

wildlife

Sometimes described as ‘Africa’s Elephant Park’, it is true that the area is one of the best places in Africa to observe family groups of elephants and large bull elephants at close range. Aside from this, there are 56 known animal species in the park, and you are likely to see Grevy’s and Burchell's zebra, white-bearded wildebeest, eland, buffalo, hartebeest, hippo, giraffe, wild dog, waterbuck, jackal, Thomson's and Grant's gazelle and impala. If you are lucky you may also come across big cats such as lion and cheetah, as well as hyena. 

The spring waters also attract a vast array of birds, such as hammerkop, kingfisher, pelican, crake, egret and 47 types of raptor.

Set on the slopes of the Chyulu Hills, which separate Amboseli and Tsavo West National Parks, we recommend using Ol Donyo Lodge as a base, whose rooms are all uniquely appointed. The area surrounding Ol Donyo is exclusively reserved for guests, and the lodge organises excellent game drives into the Amboseli and Maasai community visits.


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