If your dream has always been to capture the best of Africa’s diverse wildlife species then Amboseli National Park is remarkably a photographer’s paradise. Think of abundant wildlife in Kenya and considering visiting Amboseli National Park a must. This pristine wilderness area Kenya’s second most famous national park just after the Maasai Mara wildlife reserve. It lies about 260 kilometers off Nairobi just at the border with Tanzania making it also more accessible for you to realize your dreams. It is suitably set within the spectacular foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro thus offering the best of wildlife species a reason it is one of the most frequently explored safari destinations in the magical Kenya.
It is considered among a few incredible sites for photo shoot given its huge concentration of wildlife including numerous African elephants that total up to 900 and not to forget wildebeests among others. Besides, you also have a chance to catch a glimpse at several African lions, monkeys, zebras, hyenas, antelopes, buffaloes, cheetah, giraffes, hippos, waterbucks, civets, wildcats, jackals, impalas, yellow and olive baboons and black face vervet monkeys. Due to its diverse wildlife species, this park is undoubtedly one of a few most remarkable sites that is worth exploring for game viewing. For nature lovers, a nature walk through this park also rewards travel endeavors with amazing views over its hidden treasure especially varied tree species, insects, reptiles, birds, wildlife and flowers.
Besides, it is perfect for bird watching whereby you get a chance to explore some of its significant birds that make up about 425 varied avifaunal species 47 of which are raptors. Birding tours in this park are ideal between October and January as this allows you to sight most of Kenya’s migratory bird species like African skimmers, red and yellow bishops, goshawks, buffalo weavers and palm nut vulture and many more. Other bird species to sight include the beautiful sunbird, pelicans, kingfishers, crakes, Hammerkop, secretary bird, superb starlings and grey crowned cranes.
There is also hot air balloon ride which comes with the most stunning sunrise views of Mount Kilimanjaro, an aerial view of the authentic Maasai villages and many elephants as they roam across the park’s plains.
In 1968, this conservancy area was designated as a national reserve and in 1974, it became a national park. It spans for about 392 square kilometers which also makes up part of the 3000 square kilometer Amboseli ecosystem. This also comes with 5 varied wildlife habitats which include the open plains, acacia woodland, rocky thorn bush, marshes and swamps. This tremendous diversity that comes together with the dry spell rewards visitors with remarkable views of its huge African wildlife species while in the natural set up. Amboseli National Park features dry Pleistocene Lake basin which refuges a temporary Lake-Lake Amboseli that appears after it has rained.
Travelers on Kenya safari in Amboseli National Park have a great opportunity to view or hike through Mount Kilimanjaro, visit observation hill that offers incredible views over the park itself. The observation hill comes in a pyramid shaped volcanic hill and it stands as the only site in the whole protected area where visitors can engage in walking tours. The hill is an out crop volcano and lies on gentle slopes of the park and allows visitors to catch a glimpse of its spectacular swamps and several elephants as they roam in the national park. You can also supplement your experiences in the park with Maasai people and explore their cultures, traditions and lifestyles.
The weather and climate of Amboseli National Park
Amboseli area is generally hot and dry as it straddles at the rain shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro in the Northwestern part. The average temperatures differ slightly all year round with minimum average daily temperatures of 27 degrees Celsius and the maximum of 33 degrees Celsius. It receives rainfall amount of about 300mm between April and May, November and December. For any plans to pay a visit to Amboseli National Park, the ideal time is between January and February, from June to September. During this period, it is easier for visitors to navigate through the remotest routes to the park unlike those who travel around April and May which is a wet season.
How to get to Amboseli National Park
This park lies about 365 kilometers southeast of Nairobi and it is reachable both by road and by air. By road, you will need a 4 by 4 safari car/open topped minibus, safari van with guide or public means. You can take the Nairobi-Namanga route which is about 249 kilometers but expect some potholes around Namanga to the Meshanani gate. Namanga is a border town between Kenya and Tanzania and visitors spend around one hour while driving to reach to Meshanani gate but this will depend on the kind of vehicle that you will be using. You can also reach the park from Mombasa via Tsavo west national park, then to Kimana (Olkelunyiet) gate. Driving along this road rewards visitors with ultimate beauty of the surrounding areas via Emali town to Mombasa. The notable park gates include Kitrua, Kelunyiet, iremito llmeshanan and airstrips. Travelers should note that most of the roads connecting up to this protected area have mainly loose surfaces and this means that they can be dusty and bumpy.
By air, you will spend nearly 30 minutes or more to reach the park. There is a chartered light aircraft that flies from big towns especially Nairobi and Mombasa and they land in the airstrips around Empusel gate. The other airfields/airstrips are found around Namanga and Kilimanjaro buffalo Lodge. Visitors can also book for scheduled flights that leave from Nairobi to Amboseli. Whereas this is the quickest means of reaching to the park, visitors are also bound to miss the stunning scenic views of the countryside of Kenya.
Where to stay in Amboseli National Park
This national park features several safari lodges for you to spend a night while on Kenya safari. They include Amboseli Serena Lodge, Kimana Lodge, Tortilis Camp, Oltukai Lodge and Amboseli Sopa Lodge. Campsites include Abercrombie tented camp, Kent tented camp, Ker and Downy tented camp, Chyulu tented camp Kimbla campsite, cottar’s tented camp, leopard tented camp, Kibo Safari Camp, Tortilis tented camp which comes with about 18 tented rooms, nairushari special, Olgulului public campsite, Tawi lodge which features 12 chalets and it works hand in hand with the African wildlife foundation in ensuring progress and safety of the wildlife species in the park and others.