If you are looking for the most exceptional safari destination to spend your vacation in Kenya then never miss to include Amboseli National Park in your bucket list. This national park is the second most popular wildlife conservation area in Kenya after the Maasai Mara wildlife reserve. It is situated 260 kilometers away from Nairobi and it lies at the border area with Tanzania just next to Namanga town. The park is Amboseli National Park is strategically situated at the base of Kilimanjaro Mountain which rewards travelers with splendid views of wildlife species and it features among the frequently explored national parks in Kenya.
It refuges intense number of African elephants that count approximately 900 individuals and numerous wildebeests and others. Besides, the park also offers refuge to most of the African lions, monkeys, zebras, hyenas, antelopes, buffaloes, cheetah, giraffes, hippos, waterbucks, civets, wildcats, jackals, impalas, yellow and olive baboons and black face vervet monkeys. This park features among the very few most spectacular safari destinations that shouldn’t miss out in your bucket list. Over 425 bird species thrive within the Amboseli National Park, 47 of these are raptors. Bird watching in the park is best explored between October and January and this rewards visitors with views of several migratory bird species in Kenya. The notable bird species for you to spot out at the park include African skimmers, red and yellow bishops, goshawks, buffalo weavers, palm nut vulture, beautiful sunbird, pelicans, kingfishers, crakes, Hammerkops, secretary bird, superb starlings and grey crowned cranes and others.
Tourists can as well participate in hot air balloon rides in the park this comes with the most spectacular sunrise views of Mount Kilimanjaro, an aerial view of the Maasai villages and many elephants as they roam across the park’s plains.
Amboseli National Park was designated as a national reserve in 1968 and became a national park 1974. The park covers an area of 392 square kilometers and it forms part of the 3000 square kilometer Amboseli ecosystem. This park is also proud of its 5 varied wildlife habitats that include the open plains, acacia woodland, rocky thorn bush, marshes and swamps. It also consists of the dry Pleistocene Lake basin that inhabits the temporary Lake-Lake Amboseli that appears after it has rained.
Visitors on safari to this park also have a chance to view or hike through Mount Kilimanjaro which features one of the highest peaks in the world, visit observation hill that which allows you to view the park. The observation hill comes in a pyramid shaped volcanic hill and it stands as the only site in the whole protected area where visitors can engage in walking tours. The hill is an out crop volcano and lies on gentle slopes of the park and allows visitors to catch a glimpse of its spectacular swamps and several elephants as they roam in the national park. You can also supplement your experiences in the park with Maasai people and explore their cultures, traditions and lifestyles.
The climate in Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is mainly hot and dry as it lies at the rain shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro in the Northwestern part. Its average temperatures vary throughout the year with minimum average daily temperatures of 27 degrees Celsius and the maximum of 33 degrees Celsius. Amboseli National Park experiences an annual rainfall amount of about 300mm especially between April and May, November and December. However, it can be best explored between January and February, from June to September.
Accessing Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park lies 365 kilometers southeast of Nairobi and it can be reached by road and air. If you are using road transportation, you will need a 4 by 4 safari car/open topped minibus, safari van with a guide or public means. You will take Nairobi-Namanga route which is about 249 kilometers but expect some potholes around Namanga to the Meshanani gate. Namanga is a border town between Kenya and Tanzania and you can spend one hour to reach to Meshanani gate but this will depend on the kind of vehicle that you will be using. You can also reach the park from Mombasa via Tsavo west national park and then you connect to Kimana (Olkelunyiet) gate. The notable park gates include Kitrua, Kelunyiet, iremito llmeshanan and airstrips.
By air, you will take half an hour for you to reach the park using chartered light aircraft that flies from big towns especially Nairobi and Mombasa and they land in the airstrips around Empusel gate. The other airfields/airstrips are found around Namanga and Kilimanjaro buffalo Lodge. Visitors can also book for scheduled flights that leave from Nairobi to Amboseli. Whereas this is the quickest means of reaching to the park, visitors are also bound to miss the stunning scenic views of the countryside of Kenya.
Accommodation in Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park has many lodges that offer visitors that excellent accommodation and comfort that he or she deserves while on safari in Africa. Each accommodation facility comes with its own prices and they range from budget to luxury and this means that visitors have a wide range of options to choose from. The notable safari lodges for you to spend a night in Amboseli National Park include Amboseli Serena Lodge, Kimana Lodge, Tortilis Camp, Oltukai Lodge and Amboseli Sopa Lodge. You can also go camping but all visitors who are interested in camping experiences are encouraged to come along with their own camping items. The best campsites in Amboseli National Park are Abercrombie tented camp, Kent tented camp, Ker and Downy tented camp, Chyulu tented camp Kimbla campsite, cottar’s tented camp, leopard tented camp, Kibo Safari Camp, Tortilis tented camp which comes with about 18 tented rooms, nairushari special, Olgulului public campsite, Tawi lodge which features 12 chalets and it works hand in hand with the African wildlife foundation in ensuring progress and safety of the wildlife species in the park and many more.