Amboseli National Park
Amboseli national park is one of the top tier Kenya safari destination found in Kenya and located in Loitoktok district in the Rift Valley region, the park is situated in a distance of 240 kilometers southeast of Nairobi the capital city of Kenya. Amboseli national park is a premier Kenya wildlife safari destination getting its name from the local slag “Amboseli” meaning “Salty dust”, the park is also referred to as the “the land of giants” as a reference to the impressive big numbers of big tusked elephants free ranging in the savannah plains of the park.
Amboseli lies in the backdrop of the snowcapped summit of Mountain Kilimanjaro the tallest free standing mountain in Africa standing at the altitude of 589 meters above the sea level, the snow of the mountain contributes to the watering holes and mashes found in the park as it melts.
Amboseli national park covers an area of 392 square kilometers of unique ecosystem with a combination of special hydrology, topography, geological and cultural history. Amboseli encompasses of 5 different habitats that are open plains, acacia woodland, thorny bushes and palm trees covering rock formations, swamps, marshlands around Lake Amboseli. Lake Amboseli is a Pleistocene lake basin and a temporary lake in nature which floods during wet season where heavy rains are received in the park.
Amboseli national park was formed as a national park in 1974 and before being gazette as a national park, the park was formerly known as Empusel. The park was first established as a national game reserve in 1906 and it gained the status of a national park in 1974 and that’s when its name was changed to Amboseli national park. Because of the special combination of ecology and culture, Amboseli national was recognized by UNESCO as a Man and the Biosphere reserve in 1991.
Amboseli hosts numerous safari attractions including wildlife and birdlife species, Amboseli national park is a popular destination for Kenya wildlife tours for excellent game viewing safaris. Animals in Amboseli national park include big tusked elephants, cape buffaloes, lions, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, zebras, wildebeests, Grant’s and Thomson gazelles, impalas, hippos and many more.
Amboseli national park is recognized as an excellent destination for Kenya birding watching safari because of numerous species of birds recorded to be above 400 species living in the swamps, grasslands and acacia woodlands of the park. Birds in Amboseli include egrets, herons, pelicans, steel-blue whydah, hornbills, African swamphens, common redshanks, and taveta golden weavers, yellow necked spurfowls, painted dwarf gecko, Sudan mabuya, graceful chameleon, viraible skink, African stripped skink, and many more.
Kenya safari activities to do in Amboseli national park
Amboseli has been recognized for offering excellent wildlife viewing safaris and is listed among the best destinations for Kenya wildlife safari in Africa, Amboseli national park host large herds of elephants which are spotted wallowing in the muddy waters together with hippos. Animals in the park are viewed on morning and afternoon game drive and while on these experience you get to enjoy watching many animals such as lions, cheetahs, giraffe, wildebeests, zebras, spotted hyenas, antelopes and many more.
On game viewing safaris in Amboseli you get to enjoy viewing the spectacular African dawn and sunset over the landscape of Amboseli.
The park is top rated destination for bird lovers visiting Kenya on a Kenya birding tours, the park hosts more than 400 species of birds living across various habitants of the park including around lakes, swamps and in the savannah grasslands. Bird watching safari in Amboseli national park offers views of various species of birds living in the park such as egrets, herons, pelicans, steel-blue whydah, hornbills, African swamphens, common redshanks, taveta golden weavers, yellow necked spurfowls and many more.
Hot air balloon safaris
While on a Kenya safari in Amboseli, Hot air balloon safaris is an activity you shouldn’t miss. Hot air balloon safari is a thrilling safari activity offering excellent views of Amboseli national park from an aerial view from the ride suspended in the sky above the landscape of the park, hot air balloon experience starts as early as 6:00 am in the morning so as to enjoy the spectacular sunrise. As you ride in the hot air balloon safari you will enjoy views of large herds of elephants, wildebeests, zebras, giraffes, lions, leopards and snowcapped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Cultural encounters in Amboseli are amazing Kenya cultural safari taking you on a cultural encounter in the Maasai communities situated on the boundaries of the park, these tours are arranged and are done with a guidance of a game ranger who is knowledgeable about masai people and their culture. Cultural encounters offers an opportunity to learn more about the masai cultures, norms and traditions including cattle rearing, cultural dances and drama, interact with the elders and visit the bomas, schools and market centers of the Maasai people.
How to get to Amboseli national park
The park is situated 240 kilometers southeast of Nairobi the capital city of Kenya and a tourist hub, the park is accessed by road and air means of transport.
By road: By road, Amboseli lies in a drive of about 4 hours’ drive using the main road of Nairobi via Namanga leading to Meshanani Gate, another route used to get to the park is Nairobi Via Email of 228 kilometers on Nairobi Mombasa Road. While using road means of transport to get to Amboseli national park the best option of the vehicle to use is a 4X4 wheel vehicle.
By air: Amboseli national park is accessed using an airstrip for light crafts situated at Empusel gate, other optional airstrips one can use include one at Kilimanjaro Buffalo lodge and another in Namanga town. Chartered/domestic flights to Amboseli are from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport to some of the airstrips serving the park, domestic/chartered flights are offered by several airlines such as AirKenya, Safarilink and Mombasa Air Safari.
Where to stay in Amboseli
In Amboseli national park, accommodation is got from safari lodges and camps categorized into three that is luxury, midrange and budget. These include Kibo Safari camp, Kilima safari camp, Ol Tukai lodge, Amboseli Sopa lodge, Tawi Lodge, Campi ya Kanzi, Satao Elerai camp, Ol Donyo Lodge, Amboseli Serena Safari lodge among others.