Amboseli National Park

Amboseli is a small park that traces its name from a Masai word “Amboseli” meaning “salty dust”; originating from volcanic ash that occupied the area millions of years ago after eruption of Mount. Kilimanjaro, which covers 39, 206 Hectares (151 square miles / 392 square kilometers). The park is famous for elephants, stretching to northern Tanzania at the core of an 8,000 square kilometer ecosystem. A 5,885 meter height of Mt. Kilimanjaro above sea level is the logic behind Amboseli’s magnificent scenery.

Diversity of ecosystem in the park include wetlands with Sulphur springs, woodlands, millions of free-ranging elephants, savannah and dried-up bed of Lake Amboseli are some of the reasons to why the park has never run short of big numbers of visitors throughout the year. Amboseli NP immediate neighbors; the Masai people bless visitors with awesome cultural exhibitions that turn moments into memories. Visitors enjoy breath-taking moments of gazing at the huge cloudy skies as they disappear into far horizons and swampy springs.

The two water springs in the middle of the park have made life possible for both resident flora and fauna species.

WILDLIFE.

In addition to a number of elephants, Amboseli is home to buffaloes, Gravy’s and Burchell’s Zebras, elands, wildebeests, giraffes, wild dogs, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles, hippopotamuses, to mention but a few. A good number of animals congregate at Ol Okenya wetland during the day whereas elephants move majestically with their impressive ivory foraging and submerging in the swamp.

Leopards, cheetahs, and mongoose, lions, hyrax, Dik-Dik, lesser Kudu, porcupines, spotted and stripped hyenas, etc. are some of the nocturnal residents of the park.

BIRDING.

Amboseli is surrounded by wetlands which gather numerous water dwelling-birds like pelicans, crowned cranes, cattle egrets and herons. These are just a few of over 600 birds that are on record of the park. During the rainy months of March, April, May, October, November and December, pink flamingos become major occupants of the park.

Grassland-dwellers are; Hartlaub’s bustard, Rufous chatterer, African jacana and the localized Pangani long claw whereas acacia woodland and dry area lovers involve; Von der Decken’s hornbill, white-bellied go-away bird and the steel-blue whydah.

MORE CONSERVANCIES NEIGHBORING AMBOSELI NP.

Selenkay Conservancy.

15,000 acres in the northern wing of Amboseli border sits a 16 kilometer Silenkay conservancy, one of the oldest community-led conservancies in Kenya. Governments’ desire to encourage habitation and conservation of the then existing wildlife from poaching resulted into setting of this land aside by acquiring it from the Masai people. This resulted into creation of an alternative income source for livelihood of the natives replacing subsistence farming.

Just like Amboseli, Selenkay conservancy is home to 1000s of elephants which can be seen in respective bull groups and matrimonial families.

The area provides clear views of the mighty Kilimanjaro Mountains (best at dusk when skies are clearer). Best photography moments are enjoyed by the visitors as they view ice-covered Kilimanjaro summit along with low hanging clouds in early morning and late evening hours.

The conservancy can be accessed easily via well- built roads that lead to the heart of Silenkay. Only one tourist safari camp has been set up so far. The fact that the conservancy is based in remote area villages, wildlife is not familiar to human presence thus it is best for intrepid travelers.

Kitirua Conservancy.

Kitirua conservancy is 50% bigger than Selenkay and is located along Amboseli-Tanzania border making the access of Amboseli grazing land and wetlands an easier venture.

MORE TOURIST ACTIVITIES IN AMBOSELI NP.

Masai Cultural Tour.

Historical occupants of the park are Masai people; therefore one would miss a lot if he/she visits the park without visiting these hospitable people whose culture is attention-catching in nature.

Whether pastoralism, traditional dances, songs, stories, ways of dressing, art, craft, local foods, language, etc. A moment spent with the Masai can never be forgotten!

Sinet Delta.

This lake is famous for bird watching and Mt. Kilimanjaro viewing. The thickness of vegetation around the delta attracts a good number of giraffes.

Elephant Research Camp.

It is true that the park is dominated by elephants which attract thousands of tourists across the globe. In effort to serve the visitors with behind-the-scene experience about how elephants feed, graze and live, a research camp was established; however, it is not currently open to public, arrangements can be made for a small number of visitors on specific days of the week.

Nature Walk.

With the assistance of armed ranger guides, nature walks around the park are made possible. If you get tired of the vehicle you can stretch your legs as you explore birds, animals and vegetation in the park.

Observation hill.

This is a cone-shaped hill situated in the western part of the park which can bless your eyes with spectacular panoramic views of the neighboring plains and swamps. An opportunity to get out of the safari jeep is offered so that you can take pictures of the mighty Kilimanjaro Mountains from a distance.

Hot air balloon safaris.

This spectacular event happens around the vast savannah grasslands in the middle of the park around Nyika plateau and above the tropical forest. This enables one to enjoy the beautiful scenery and wildlife around the park.

VISITING AMBOSELI NP.

Amboseli NP is an open space for everyone to fly! The park is small, so it can be explored within one or two days. Its strategic location in the middle of safari-land neighboring  both Tanzania’s and Kenya’s popular destinations such as Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire, Lake Manyara and Kilimanjaro, Tsavo East and West, Masai Mara, and beach vacations at Mombasa is something that can never be taken for granted by any traveler. Other great neighbors of Amboseli NP are the small but awesome Chyulu Hills that are famous for hiking.

MOST APPROPRIATE TIME OF VISITING AMBOSELI NP.

Much as the park can be visited any time of a year, one would be right to say that the most appropriate moment for viewing beautiful scenery alongside wildlife is the dry season (between June to October and December to February).

This is because a multitude of animals congregate near water bodies in an effort to quench their thirst. This implies that predators will also have to come around in search of food.

HOW TO GET TO AMBOSELI NP?

Road access.

One can either use the main Nairobi-Namanga gate road (240km) or Nairobi-Mombasa highway (via Emali 228km). Important to note is that the last section of Nairobi-Namanga gate road (75km) is not tarmacked whereas the Nairobi-Emali section of the road is tarmacked much as its last section, Emali-Remito gate (64km) is also not tarmacked.

Accessing Amboseli N/Park is mainly through Tsavo west and entrance is at Kimana (Olkelunyiet) gate.

Air access.

A good number of airstrips are located within and outside the park some of which include; one at Empusel gate, Olekelunyiet gate and Namanga town.

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