Amboseli National Park formerly was known as Amboseli game drive is located in Kajiado south constituency in Kenya. The park is known to have incredible views of Kilimanjaro Mountain which is the highest free-standing mountain in the world and also hosts large elephant herds. Amazingly, the park covers an area of 392 square kilometers and has high number of wildlife viewing and beautiful moments on sunset and sunrise. Amboseli national park was reserved in 1948 as a game reserve, in 1974 gazetted as a national park and in 1991 was listed under the world UNESCO heritage sites
The park has ecological system like the swamps, acacia woodlands, marshlands, Amboseli lake bed that inhabits over 400 bird species such as the pelicans, crakes, kingfishers, hamerkop and raptors among others. Other attractions are the Masai people who live at the edge of the park, hundreds of animals such as lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras and many others. The park has endless plains with enough water bodies originating from Mount. Kilimanjaro.
The Masai people are known to be the earlier settles of the park before they were evicted, these are cattle keepers and pastoralists. A tour to their community rewards interesting experiences as you interact and learn about their cultural story. The name Amboseli therefore come from the local Masai word which means ‘’Salty dust’’. This is because lakes that are located in this park are saline and they disappear during the dry season which lead to a dusty cloud and this might be a harsh environment but very beautiful.
There is a lot to do in Amboseli national park while on your safari to Africa and specifically Kenya and among others, include;-
The park is home to various wildlife including large herds of elephants. In addition, the endless plains with good views of Mount. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa offer the best experience of game drives.
Game drives are conducted in these plains with a help of the park ranger guide. They take visitors to open plains, acacia woodlands, rocky thorns, marsh land among others.
Most times, game drives are carried out all day but the best time to spot animals is from 6:30am to 11:30am and 3:00pm to 6:30pm. Animals that will be spotted include the hyenas, bush baby, serval cats, water bucks, gazelles, hippos, zebras, giraffes, elephants, lions, leopards, olive baboons among others. There are more everlasting moments such as the picnic lunch, sunrise and sunset, eye catching moments and many others.
There is a lot to explore on a guided nature walk and among others are the stunning views, wildlife species and varied vegetation. This is done with a help of the park ranger guide well-armed to protect you from danger or any attack. There are also designated tracks where nature walks take place that are less risky for predators like lions.
Visitors can also view animals like elephants, zebras, giraffes, buffalos, impalas and many others closer as they listen to different bird sounds or melodies and therefore, these moments will create everlasting memories.
The park boasts over 390 bird species and this makes it an ideal place for birding. This experience takes place in areas such as swamps, woodland forests and around the water bodies. Birds that will be spotted include lesser flamingos, rufous chatterer, spike-heeled herons, African swamp hens, tavete golden weavers, common redshanks, greater flamingos, eagles, egrets among others.
Birding is normally interesting during the rainy season from May to June and October to early December. This is because during rainy season fruits are in plenty compared to dry season. Additionally, the activity normally starts early in the morning and late evening when birds are active. Visitors are reminded to carry their binoculars for the best bird watching experience.
The cultural experience will take you to the nearby communities of the Masai people. These are early inhabitants of the park but they now stay outside after eviction. There is a lot to learn about this huge culture like their traditional dress code, traditional music and dances, cultural storytelling, traditional meals like blood and milk.
The overall experience can take about 3 hours and normally done after lunch. Visitors willing to take this experience are required to inform their driver guides in advance for better planning and preparation. Visitors can support the visited community by donation or buying the local handmade materials like bungles, ear rings among others.
This is a unique experience and therefore not common to East African national parks. This is normally done early in the morning with a short game drive from the lodge to the starting point. Visitors are offered a chance to fly in the skies in a hot air balloon to have a great aerial view of the park plains.
This experience takes two hours but extremely rewarding, because it takes you to a point where a tourist vehicle can not reach during game drives. Wildlife will be observed, which include elephants, zebras, giraffes, lions, buffalos, gazelles among others.
Visitors should note that there is no specific time to visit Amboseli national park, and all you need is to know that there are two rainy and two dry seasons. Each season has its importance depending on what a visitor would like to experience. For instance bird watching can be done during the rainy seasons - May to June and October to December.
Game drives are required to take place in dry seasons of June to September and January to April and this is because the roads in the park are dry and quite easy to access. Also, the grasslands are dry making it easy to spot the wildlife.