ABOUT AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK
Amboseli national park was established in 1968 as a national reserve and was declared a national park in 1974. The name Amboseli means “land of dust” in the local Masai language. Amboseli national park is located on the southern part of Kenya immediately north-west of Mount Kilimanjaro, on the border with Tanzania. It is 216km from the capital city Nairobi and the size is 392 sq.km. It is part of an ecosystem that spreads Kenya and Tanzania border. The park is famous for being the best place in Africa to get close to free-ranging elephants among other wildlife species and spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world. The local inhabitants of the area are the Masai people who still practice the traditional way of lifestyle.
CLIMATE IN AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK
Being on the leeward side of Mt Kilimanjaro, Amboseli National Park experiences a modified tropical climate. The area is hot and dry (arid) with an annual rainfall of 300 mm. The hottest month- September has averages of 30 degrees centigrade and the coolest month have 27 degrees centigrade. Amboseli experiences two rainy seasons-April/ May; November /December. Evaporations rates are very high. The Aridity of the area makes it ideal for game sighting. During the dry months, animals congregate on the swamps.
The habitat in Amboseli national park includes acacia forests, palm trees, rocky formations, thorny trees, dusty open savannah plains, lakes and Marshes. During the rainy season, water collects in the seasonal salty Lake Amboseli attracting aquatic birds particularly flamingos.
WILDLIFE AND BIRDS OF AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK
The park is famous for being the best place in the world to get close to free-ranging elephants. Amboseli was home to Echo, the most researched elephant in the world and also a safe haven to an incredible bull elephant named Tim. This mighty pachyderm quickly became one of the major attractions with his size and iconic tusks that reached the ground and was estimated to be around 50 years old at the time of his death from natural causes on February 5th 2020. Other wildlife here include; Cape Buffalo, Impala, Lion, Cheetah, spotted Hyena, Masai Giraffe, Grant’s zebra, and Blue Wildebeest. 400 species of birds including water birds like pelicans, kingfishers, Greater and lesser Flamingos, Crakes, Hammerkops and 47 raptor species are found here.
Attractions for tourists to view during a safari in Amboseli national park include the following;
- Wildlife – Amboseli national park is a prominent home for wildlife. The park is more recognized for being a home to the largest populations of elephants. On a game drive, the park offers great wildlife viewing. Lions are the easiest to spot. Four of the Big Five are present here. Rhinos are absent, but big herds of elephants reliably move to and from the marshy swamps in the center of the park.
- Birds – Amboseli national park hosts a good population of birds estimated to be more than 400 species. These birds include; African jacana, Goliath heron, African swamp Hen, Hartlaub’s Bustard, Greater and Lesser Flamingos, Rufous Chatterer, common Redshank, Dickinson’s kestrel, Eurasian thick-knee, long-toed Lapwing, pike-heeled lark, steel-blue whydah, Taveta golden weaver, von der Decken’s Hornbill, yellow-necked Spurfowl and many more.
- Lake Amboseli – It is a seasonal lake with very alkaline water, usually dry and extremely dusty. Most of the lake is inside Amboseli National Park, although the southwestern end is outside park boundaries.
- Observation Hill – This is a pyramid shaped hill a great place for spotting wildlife species most especially on walking safari where you can stand at the summit and have a gainful observation of the park’s species such as herds of elephants, buffalos, hippos as well as swamps.
- Masai Culture – The outskirts of Amboseli park are dominated by the fascinating Masai people. A visit to a Maasai village is very much unavoidable as it offers the authentic African cultural experience.
- Swamp – Swamps in Amboseli national park which include Enkongo Narok swamp located at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro acts as a water point for wildlife species such as elephants, hippos, buffaloes.
There are numerous activities available that visitors can undertake at Amboseli National Park. They include;
- Game drives – Game drives happen through out the day. The best times to see animals is early in the morning and evenings. During the heat of the day animals will congregate in the swamps.
- Balloon Safaris – A hot air ballooning safari in this park is amazing. It offers you magnificent views of Kilimanjaro Mountain and the wildlife in the park. They depart at dawn with guests returning to their lodges after champagne breakfast.
- Bird Watching – With over 400 recorded species of birds, Amboseli is an ideal destination for birding. The best time to watch birds is at dawn or at dusk.
- Sightseeing Activities – These are normally conducted around the observation hill since it’s the only spot in the park where you get to see all the natural landscape surrounding the park including Mount Kilimanjaro and lake Amboseli among others.
- Filming and photography – Amboseli is famously known for its large-herds of Elephants. This has attracted activities like filming and photography by researchers and documentaries from around the globe.
- Cultural Experience – On your safari to Amboseli national park, have a great chance of meeting Maasai people and visit their home villages which is quite amazing. As you get to learn about their interesting life style such as their traditional dances
ACCOMMODATION IN AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK
Amboseli accommodations range from high end to budget with comfortable facilities, amenities offering full service bathroom, Wi-Fi, pools, on site restaurant and very many other amenities. These accommodation facilities provides a rewardable spectacular view of the ice capped Mount Kilimanjaro, beautiful scenery of park’s land scape, close sighting of wildlife species and many more. There are more outside the park within the boundary or closer. Accommodations inside the park tend to cost slightly higher compared to the ones outside the park. The cost of accommodation increases during the peak season.