Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park: Amboseli national park is undoubtedly one of the most visited parks in Kenya under the management of Olkejuado County Council and the Masai people since 2005 when the management was transferred from Kenya Wildlife Services by the then president Mwai Kibaki. The park is situated far north west of Kilimanjaro Mountain where part of Kenya borders with Tanzania thus easily combined with a visit to Tanzania while on an East African safari tour. Amboseli national park was first declared a southern reserve in 1906 and by the year 1968, it was gazette as a game Reserve and finally turned into a national park in the year 1974 covering a land area of 392 square kilometers Northwest of Mount Kilimanjaro one of the free standing volcanic mountain the world and the tallest in Africa. In 1991, Amboseli was declared a UNESCO world heritage site to ensure maximum protection of park’s ecosystem that comprised of different fauna and flora species.
The park was named after the local Masai word “Amboseli” which literally means a “salty dust” and up to date the name still holds. The vegetation cover of Amboseli comprises of both savanna grassland, savanna woodland, marshes, swamps among others which make it the best habitat for several wildlife species including over 80 mammals such as Elephants which are the most famous wildlife species found in Amboseli national park and one can never talk about Amboseli national park and fail to mention the word Elephants as these mammals are seen in a large population grazing freely in the park. Other wildlife include Buffaloes, wildebeest’s, Lions, zebras, antelopes, Hyenas, crocodiles, over 400 species of birds such as Flamingos, herons, weaver birds, and many more.
Top things/ tourist activities to do in Amboseli national park
Amboseli is amongst the best and most visited national parks in Kenya almost the second after Masai Mara national reserve due to the fact that t harbors a good number of wildlife species that attract several travelers on a Kenya safari to explore the beauty that lies within the wilderness of this park. Here are some of the top things to do while on a Kenya safari to Amboseli national park.
Wildlife viewing and sightseeing: Being a home to the big 5 games, Amboseli national park is indeed one of the top destinations to visit for wildlife viewing and sightseeing adventure as you get an opportunity to watch the vast vegetation cover filled wildlife such as mammals, birds, among others. The best wildlife spotting grounds in Amboseli national park include with the savanna grassland, woodland, swamps among others. Be sure to spot the big 5 game while on a wildlife viewing adventure including Lions, Elephants, Giraffes, Buffaloes and many more wildlife that thrill in the park without forgetting that the park is home to over 300 species of birds thus a birders paradise as well. Some of the bird species spotted in the Amboseli include; King fishers, herons, Jacanas, Flamingos, Storks and many more. The best spot for sightseeing and wildlife viewing in Amboseli national park is at Noomotio hill that offers a clear view of the wildlife in the park and beyond.
Game drive: This is one of the top things that should never miss out on any travelers’ bucket list on a savanna park like Amboseli as it enables one to closely encounter and watch the wildlife while on a drive. Experience the salty dust at a distance especially during the dry months as the wind blows it to make a twister in the air. Watch the grazing mammals while taking those eye-catching photographs of the mammals with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background as it crowns the park. The best way to explore Amboseli national park on a game drive is by opting opt for a full day game drive to experience both the sunrise as the nocturnal mammals return to their hiding place and the sunset as they return to start their hunt throughout the night. Amongst the wildlife seen while on a game drive in Amboseli national park include; Elephants, Lions, Cheetahs, Buffaloes, Zebras, Wildebeests, Leopards, Hyenas among others.
Filming and Photography: This is yet another fascinating thing done in Amboseli. All you need is a best camera fully charged before embarking on a photo-taking and filming adventure. You ought not to miss out a golden opportunity of capturing and recording the tallest mountain in Africa and free-standing dormant volcano situated in Tanzania and this is none other than Mount Kilimanjaro with in Mount Kilimanjaro national park. This activity is usually enjoyed by the researchers and other nature lovers.
Cultural visit: A visit to Kenya in Amboseli is incomplete without a visit to the local Masai People who reside just in the neighborhood of the park mostly as nomadic pastoralists. The Masai people entertain the tourists through dance and drama and even demonstrate their cultural practices to the tourists such as milking, traditional milk preservation methods among others.
How to get to Amboseli national park
Amboseli is situated south of Nairobi City, the capital city of Kenya and can be accessed either by road transport or by air depending on what the traveler wants.
By road, Amboseli is situated about 228 kilometers from Nairobi the Capital city of Kenya via Namanga and through the Meshanani entrance gate which takes about 3 hours on a road drive. While travelers can also use this same road but via Emali to access the park through the Kimana entrance gate and for the tourists who use the Nairobi – Arusha road via Isinya take 240 kilometers to drive towards Kenya Tanzania border and finally connect to enter the park through the Meshanani gate which is the most used gate. This implies that whichever route one chooses, they get to the park. Amboseli national park can also be accessed from other parks including Tsavo west national park.
By Air, there are flights from Nairobi at Wilson airport to Amboseli airstrip for travelers who intend to access the park by air.