Amboseli National Park covers 392km² (151miles²) and has a mixed topography of plains, acacia woodland, rocky thorn bush, swamps and marshes. This diversity, along with a long dry season, ensures excellent viewing of the large concentrations of African animals living in this natural habitat. With its awesome view of Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa's highest mountain at 5,895m), Amboseli National Park offers a unique and breathtaking backdrop for viewing Africa's animals. It also has a dry Pleistocene lake basin that houses a temporary lake, Lake Amboseli, after the rains.
Amboseli offers some of the best opportunities to see African animals because its vegetation is sparse due to the long dry months.
Amboseli National Park is home to wild animals, which include the African elephant, buffalo, impala, lion, cheetah, hyena, giraffes, zebra, and wildebeest among other African animals. There is also a host of Kenya birds, both large and small, to see if you keep your eyes open and stop at every sighting.
What to see, what to do at Amboseli national park
The main purpose of a wildlife safari is to see Kenya's wild animals in their natural state. Many people are surprised when they see birds perched within the reach of predators, or gazelles grazing near big cats. The truth is that predators generally only kill to eat, and for the rest of the time both predators and prey live harmoniously together.
Amboseli National Park is known for its large herd of over 900 free-ranging elephants. This is the best national park to visit to see these wonderful and huge creatures. View or even climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest freestanding mountain in the world.
Visit Observation Hill, which overlooks the park, swamps and, of course, the herds of free-roaming elephants.
Meet the Maasai people and learn about the Maasai culture and their indigenous lifestyle.
Bird watching is best between October and January if you want to see Kenya's migratory birds, including African skimmers, red and yellow bishops, goshawks, buffalo weavers and palm nut vultures, to name a few.
How to get to Amboseli National Park
By Road: Use your own vehicle, take public transportation, or book an open-topped minibus or safari van tour with a tour guide.
The road from Nairobi to Namanga (240km/149 miles) is tarmac, but becomes rough with potholes from Namanga to the Meshanani Gate. Access from Mombasa is generally best through Tsavo West National Park via Kimana (Olkelunyiet) Gate. Amboseli National Park has gates at Kelunyiet, Iremito, Ilmeshanan, Kitrua and Airstrips.
By Air: A chartered light aircraft may land at the airstrip at Empusel Gate. Other airstrips exist at Namanga and Kilimanjaro Buffalo Lodge. You can also book a scheduled flight departing from Nairobi to Amboseli.
Best time to visit Amboseli
January and February are good months to visit Amboseli, as well as June through September. Avoid April and May, which are the rainy season. There may also be some rain from November to December, which may make the roads in Amboseli impassable.
For birdwatchers, the best months to see migratory birds are October to January. The best times for viewing are early and late in the day, as animals tend to sleep in the hot midday sun.