AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK

AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK

Amboseli National Park is a spectacular National Park in Kenya, offering excellent sightings of free-ranging African elephants. It derives its name from the Maasai word meaning “salty dust” and provides remarkably breathtaking views of Mount Kilimanjaro. The park prides itself of diverse habitats consisting of woodlands, savannas, wetlands and Lake Amboseli. While on Kenya safari, there is an opportunity to also enhance your experience with authentic Masai community visits.

Location of Amboseli

Amboseli National Park Kenya is situated in Loitoktok District, along the Rift Valley Province. The park lies Northwest of Mount Kilimanjaro at the Kenya border with Tanzania. Amboseli spans on 392 sq.km, a compact area but featuring spectacular landscape with a myriad of faunal and floral species. Its ecosystem spans across the Kenya & Tanzania border.

Amboseli was originally designated as Southern Reserve in 1906 and its management was transferred to local residents in 1948 as Game Reserve. In 1974, Amboseli was gazetted as a National Park and was officially declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. Like most Kenyan National Parks and protected areas, Amboseli NP falls under the management of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

Lying in Kajiado County, Kenya, Amboseli N. Park is accessible about 240 km along the Nairobi –Arusha route and via Meshanani gate. The park records temperature range of about 28 degrees celsius, with annual rainfall amount of 200 to 700 mm.

Attractions to explore on Kenya safari in Amboseli National Park

Wildlife

Amboseli N.P is a rich habitat to interesting animal species. On a Kenya tour, the likely wildlife species to be spotted include hyrax, crocodiles, wild dogs, lions, elephants, zebras, buffaloes, leopards, mongoose, dik-dik, hyenas, gazelles, baboons, and more.

Birds

Amboseli National Park is endowed with an estimate of 500 species of birds. These include sacred ibis, Dickinson’s kestrel, African jacanas, rufous chatterer, Kori bustards, secretary bird, flamingos, steel-blue whydahs, lapwings, pangani long claws, African swamp hen, Egyptian goose, water fowls, Rufous-bellied herons, Von der decken’s hornbill, yellow-necked spur fowl,

African fish eagles, yellow-breasted apalis, lappet-faced vultures, pied cuckoos, yellow-spotted bush sparrow, fischer’s sparrow lark, pygmy falcons, black-faced waxbill, African dusky flycatchers, marsh warblers, little rush-warblers, red-billed buffalo-weavers, African black-headed oriole, spike-heeled lark, hartlaub’s bustards, common redshank, Eurasian thick-knee, slender tailed nightjars, African gray flycatchers, malachite kingfishers, verreaux’s eagle owl, marabou stork, Nubian woodpeckers, spur-winged goose, pygmy batis, brown breasted barbet, and many others.

The best time to visit Amboseli for bird watching is during around November, January, December, March, April and May. These are the perfect months of the year for birders to come across migratory bird species.

Observation Hill

The observation hill features a pyramid shape, lying in Central Amboseli National Park. It is a special spot offering incredible aerial view of the park, and while here, it is possible to undertake a guided nature walk.

Sinet Delta

If you are visiting Amboseli primarily for birding expeditions, then Sinet Delta should be a must-visit. This area features thickets that play a significant part as main habitats to diverse bird species. Besides, wildlife such as giraffes also confine in the area for food.

Amboseli Lake

Lake Amboseli is one of the main wildlife habitats in this park. It is a salty lake and hundreds of elephants, buffaloes plus other numerous wildlife confine in the area to link the salt. The boat rides can also be done on the lake, especially during the wet or rainy season.

Tourism Activities to do

Game drives

On Kenya safaris, not all parks are worth visiting for a game drive and for exceptional wildlife encounters, spending a holiday in Amboseli NP should be a must-do. A game drive in Amboseli presents nature lovers a lifetime opportunity to enjoy excellent view of animals in the wild, including buffaloes, zebras, hyenas, giraffes, elephants, lions, leopards, antelope families, bird species and more.

Birding

Birding in Amboseli N/Park is a great opportunity for you to get exposed to diversity of birds. The birds to identify at the park include long-tailed cormorant, African black duck, Madagascar pond, secretary bird, grey crowned crane, white-bellied tit, double-banded courser, greater honey guide, lesser masked weaver, falcon Neumann, black-tailed Godwit, common scimitar bill, Northern brown bull, Golden winged sunbird, hunter’s sunbird, lesser spotted eagle, curlew sandpiper, emerald spotted wood dove, white-browed sparrow weavers, golden breasted bunting, Jameson’s fire finch, superb starling, Abyssinian thrush, red necked francolins, Swahili sparrow passer, golden heron, white-bellied go-away bird, tambourine dove, parrot-billed sparrow, short-tailed lark,

Western yellow wagtail, black cuckoo shrike, rufous crowned rollers, fischer’s sparrow lark, black backed puff back, giant kingfishers, Eastern paradise, crimson-rumped waxbills, and many more.

Walking safaris

Walking/hiking tours are best conducted in the central area of Amboseli National Park. The main areas of interest for a guided hiking or walking safaris include observation hill where you enjoy uninterrupted view of wildlife and surrounding areas. The likely wildlife to be encountered includes giraffes, zebras, antelopes and bird species.

Hot air balloon tours

Hot air balloon expeditions in Amboseli offer remarkable aerial view of wildlife. It is a unique experience from the usual 4×4 game drive tour. It comes with not only animal sightings, but also scenic view of the park and its surroundings.

Cultural encounters

Amboseli National Park safaris provide more than animal encounters. Tourists also have a chance to visit the nearby communities, meet and interact with residents. The community visit includes exploring the daily activities of local residents in their communities thus enriching you with the unique cultures of Kenyans, especially the Masai people.

When to travel

The most favorite time to carry out a Kenya tour in Amboseli NP is during the dry months of the year- that is from June, July, August, September to October. During these months, a huge concentration of animals can be encountered along the Lakes, water sources and other water bodies. Different animal species confine here to cool themselves or to drink water.

Accommodation

Accommodation facilities run by KWS –Chui Cottages, Simba Cottages & Kilimanjaro Guesthouse; campsites –Amboseli Campsite while privately run facilities include Tortilis Tented Lodge, Amboseli and Ol Tukai Lodges.

Getting to the park

By road; Amboseli NP is reachable from Nairobi via Namanga, taking the Arusha route to Meshanani gate about 240km. Or drive from Nairobi via Emali- Nairobi-Mombasa route 228 km. Visitors setting off from Mombasa can drive via Tsavo West NP to Kimana gate. By air, fly from Nairobi to Amboseli airstrip/airport around Empusel gate.