Crowned by Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak, the Amboseli National Parks is one of Kenya's most popular parks. The name "Amboseli" comes from a Maasai word meaning "salty dust", and it is one of the best places in Africa to view large herds of elephants up close. Nature lovers can explore five different habitats here ranging from the dried-up bed of Lake Amboseli, wetlands with sulphur springs, the savannah and woodlands. They can also visit the local Maasai community who live around the park and experience their authentic culture.
Amboseli is a land of giants, where huge herds of elephants stand strong against a dramatic backdrop of Africa’s highest mountain: Mount Kilimanjaro. Easily accessible and with effortless wildlife viewing, this popular national park defies its size and offers an impressive safari experience.
Amboseli National Park’s accessibility from Nairobi (one hours flight or approx. four hours by road) is one of the primary reasons for its popularity. Located in the Rift Valley province of southern Kenya, close to the Tanzanian border, it also enjoys some of the most dramatic views of Mount Kilimanjaro – more so even than in Tanzania. Sunrise and sunset are spectacular in many national parks, but here, over Mount Kilimanjaro, are some of the best.
One of Kenya’s smaller parks, Amboseli’s ecosystem is primarily savannah – and the low-lying vegetation makes the wildlife easier to spot. The park has a large concentration of wildlife, particularly in the dry season. There are over 1000 elephants here, including some of the largest in Africa. As well as the huge herds, catch sight of buffalos and lions in the open savannah, rolling hills and swamplands. Other wildlife inhabiting the grasslands wildlife includes cheetah, rhino, waterbuck, zebra and warthog amongst others. Though largely dry and dusty, Amboseli is also home to swamplands, fed by underwater springs from the melt waters of Mount Kilimanjaro. These lush green swamplands attract wallowing elephants and hippo, as well as buffalo and birdlife. More than 400 species of bird can be found, including the rare Taita falcon and the southern banded harrier eagle.
The hot and humid rainy season lasts from March to May, while the shorter rains fall during November and December. January and February are hot and dry. July to October is warm and dry, and is often seen as the best season for comfortable game viewing. For birdwatchers, the best months to see migratory birds are from October to January.
How to get there
Roads:The park has a tarmac road connection with Nairobi, a distance of 156 km north west of Nairobi on the main A104 road. The most commonly used route into the park is via the main gate, 4 km from Nakuru Town Centre. It is also possible to enter the park from the main Nairobi Nakuru road at Lanet Gate. The Nderit Gate is used by people accessing the park from Masai Mara or Elementaita.
Airstrips:The Naishi airstrip services the park for tourism and KWS activities.
Park Roads:The park has an adequate and well serviced motorable roads that make most parts of the park accessible.
Park Gates:The park has three gates, Main Gate and Lanet Gate that link the park with the Nairobi-Nakuru highway and the less used Nderit Gate.