Amboseli National Park - Interesting Facts

Amboseli National Park is in southern Kenya. It’s known for its large elephant herds and views of immense Mount Kilimanjaro, across the border in Tanzania. Observation Hill offers panoramas of the peak and the park’s plains and swamps. Varied wildlife includes giraffes, zebras, cheetahs and hundreds of bird species. The western section is dominated by vast Lake Amboseli, which is dry outside the rainy season.
The word 'amboseli' is derived from the Maasai language and it means 'salty dust.' The things to know about it

Where to book your Amboseli wildlife Safari tour

There are many reputable options and travel agents to book a Safari tour to Kenya, and one of the best option we recommend our site visitors is to book one of these tour operators from Tanzania or Kenya specifically Africa Natural Tours designed for individuals and group tours. The packages normally include accommodation, travel to the park, park fees, English-speaking tour guides, food and other activities to capture that memorable experience in Amboseli and other Kenyan wildlife safari parks. Amboseli National Park is located in Loitoktok District, Rift Valley Province of Kenya. The ecosystem mainly savannah grassland spread across the Kenya-Tanzania border. The park is famous for being the best place in Africa to get close to free-ranging elephants among other wildlife species. Other attractions of the park include opportunities to meet the Maasai and spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world. By Road: The main road into the park is from Nairobi via Namanga (240 km) on the Nairobi – Arusha Road, through Meshanani Gate. The other road is from Nairobi via Emali (228 km) on the Nairobi – Mombasa Road. Access from Mombasa is mainly through Tsavo West National Park via Kimana (Olkelunyiet) Gate. By Air: Airstrips: The park has a single airstrip for light aircrafts at Empusel gate. Other airstrips exist at Kilimanjaro Buffalo Lodge and Namanga town

What animals can I expect to see in Amboseli?

“Elephants are easily the main draw of any Amboseli safari – they’re big, they’re beautiful and they’re always found in the Enkongo Narok, Olokenya and Longinye swamps that lie in the park’s heart. Bad-tempered hippos also lurk in the waters, occasionally emerging to do battle for territory. I’ve always been really fortunate on Amboseli tours with lions, cheetahs and spotted hyenas (including a den), while giraffe are often sighted amid the acacia’s in the park’s east. Other plains animals include zebras and Thomson’s gazelle in abundance, while baboons and vervet monkeys are similarly prolific. The swamps draw hundreds of bird species, especially waders, year-round but with a discernible spike in numbers from November when migrating species arrive from Europe.

Can you visit Mount Kilimanjaro from Amboseli?

“No. The grand old mountain may look so close that you can reach out and touch it, and the Kenya–Tanzania border is not far away (somewhere close to the lower foothills of the mountain), but there’s no crossing here. The nearest crossing if you wish to actually climb the mountain is east of here, at Oloitokitok, a busy Maasai border town with an immigration post. All told, you can expect to drive for half a day, including time spent at the border, from Amboseli to Marangu, one of the gateway towns to a Kili climb, or on to Moshi where many of the climbing tour operators have their base.”

Weather and climate in Amboseli national park

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.

Best Time to Visit – Amboseli national park

Although Amboseli can be visited at any time of year it is recommended to go in the dry months, which are from June to October and January to February. The short rains peak in November and the long rains in April and May – these months are not recommended for wildlife viewing. During these wet months, animals tend to spread out and are less inclined to come to predictable water sources. Views of Kilimanjaro are hit-and-miss, but chances are best early morning and late afternoon in the Wet season months from November to May, when the sky is clear of dust.

What is Amboseli Like?

‘Amboseli’ is an English corruption of the Maa word Empusel, meaning ‘salty, dry place’ but underground streams flowing from the melting ice-cap on Kili keep certain areas of the park well supplied with water, which in turn attracts elephants and plenty of birds. Parts of the forested swamp have been fenced off to prevent elephants from munching their way through the trees and to allow the vegetation time to regrow. During the long rains between about March and April, the dry plain can become a shallow lake, filled with wading birds (there are 400 species here alone). Because it is quite small, Amboseli is easy for rangers to patrol and is very well kept

About Amboseli national park

Amboseli lies immediately north-west of Mount Kilimanjaro, on the border with Tanzania. The Park covers 392 square km, and forms part of the much larger 3,000 square km Amboseli ecosystem. Amboseli lies immediately north-west of Mount Kilimanjaro, on the border with Tanzania. The Park covers 392 square km, and forms part of the much larger 3,000 square km Amboseli ecosystem. Large concentrations of wildlife occur here in the dry season, making Amboseli a popular tourist destination. It is surrounded by six communally owned group ranches. The National Park embodies five main wildlife habitats (open plains, acacia woodland, rocky thorn bush country, swamps and marshland) and covers part of a Pleistocene lake basin, now dry. Amboseli is famous for its big game and its great scenic beauty; the landscape is dominated by the towering Mount Kilimanjaro. The National Park embodies five main wildlife habitats (open plains, acacia woodland, rocky thorn bush country, swamps and marshland) and covers part of a Pleistocene lake basin, now dry. Within this basin is a temporary lake, Lake Amboseli, that floods during years of heavy rainfall.

Major Attractions in Amboseli national park

Mount Kilimanjaro; Observation Hill which allows an overall view of the whole park especially the swamps and elephants; Swamp below observation hill hosts many elephants, buffaloes, hippos and a variety of water fowl like pelican; Egyptian goose; contemporary Maasai culture and indigenous lifestyle; herds of elephants. Amboseli has over 80 different mammals to be found ranging from the tiny (and rarely seen) spectacled elephant shrew to the huge bulk of the African elephant. Few visitors will go home without superb elephant pictures with Kilimanjaro as a backdrop. There are over 400 bird species. Amboseli has a range of accommodation to suit all budgets, tastes and interests. There are very basic campsites where one can pitch a tent and sleep under canvas in the wild, well appointed safari lodges, luxury tented camps with large, fully furnished tents, small private camps for your exclusive use and much, much, more. The other road is via Emali (228 km) on the Nairobi- Mombasa Road. The road is tarmacked up to Emali and marram from Emali to Remito Gate (64 km) Access from Mombasa is mainly through Tsavo West via Kimana (Olkelunyiet) Gate.