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Amboseli National Park

Amboseli is renowned for its large herds of free-ranging African elephants. There are over 900 African elephants in Amboseli.

Overview

Amboseli National Park is 260km (160 miles) from Nairobi, on the border with the neighboring country of Tanzania. Its magnificent situation at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, combined with its excellent opportunities to view Kenya’s animals, make it one of the most-visited safari parks in Kenya.Amboseli is renowned for its large herds of free-ranging African elephants. There are over 900 African elephantsin Amboseli, as well as huge herds of wildebeests and many other animals including giraffes, African lions, monkeys, zebras, hyenas and antelope.

 

Background Info

Amboseli was declared a national reserve in 1968. It became a national park in 1974. However, in 2005, President Mwai Kibaki transferred control from the Kenya Wildlife Service to the Olkejuedo County Council and its residents, the Maasai tribe. This is still being contested in the courts because of its implications that could jeopardize Kenya’s other national parks.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, 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.When you arrive at the park, the warden will give you several common sense rules: do not get out of your vehicle, except at designated spots; do not harass the animals in any way; keep to the tracks; no off-road driving; and remember that the animals always have the right of way. The roads in Amboseli have a loose surface of volcanic soil that is dusty in the dry season and impassable in the wet season.

Climate

The climate in the Amboseli region is hot and dry. The national park is in the rain shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, as it lies on the northwest side. Average temperatures vary only slightly throughout the year. The minimum average daily temperature is 27°C and the maximum is 33°C. Drought is typical in this area, and evaporation is high. A total annual rainfall of just 300mm is expected during April and May, and again during November and December.


How to get there

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.