Amboseli National Park: Against the majestic Kilimanjaro backdrop

Encompassing a massive area of 392 square kilometres (151 sq miles), the Amboseli National Park is among the top ten largest game reserves in the world, and has definitely earned a place on the list of must-visit places in Africa. It gives off the iconic savannah scene, dotted with African wildlife, with the picturesque Mt. Kilimanjaro serving as the milieu of the landscape. The park itself is a part of the much larger ecosystem, which stretches all the way across the Kenya-Tanzania border. The landscape bears the signature stark contrast: the co-existence of a semiarid to arid vegetation, and the swampy springs formed from the volcanically-filtered water of the ice caps of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The dried up Pleistocene lake, also known as Lake Amboseli, gives off the arid setting of the ecosystem (the word Amboseli translates to “salty dust”), while surprising visitors with sporadic flash floods. At the same time, two of the five existing swamps in the region serve to deliver a quaint, boggy contrast to the exhilarating beauty of the land.

Day 1: The Drive

The Amboseli National Park is located approximately 240 kilometres (150 miles) southeast of Nairobi. It’s situated in the Kajiado District of the famed Rift Valley Province. The drive itself is a wonderful experience, as it takes the tourists through the heart of the African landscape, and delivers them right at the base of a photographer’s paradise: Mt. Kilimanjaro.Tourists are recommended to start early, as that broadens the time frame before daybreak, and allows for a timely lunch, followed by a swift drive by the game reserves. Food and accommodation will be taken care of at the lodging of your choice-whatever the mood is, there are ample lodges to select from. Daybreak will be accompanied by campfire meals at the heart of the savannah, followed by an overnight stay at the lodge.

Day 2: The Exploration

This is the day that every tourist looks forward to. The propitious start begins at dawn with an early morning game drive, where one gets to witness the splendid African sunrise. This will be followed by a full breakfast, and further trips down the savannah to witness the ever-changing landscape. This is where the tourists get to observe the contrasting ecosystems firsthand.  From the arid Amboseli Lake to the marshlands, tourists are offered a full view of the assorted terrain, followed by the magnificent wildlife populating it. The game drives will be accompanied by frequent pit stops for photography, and live interaction with the wildlife. Lunch will be served en-route, or at the lodge, according to respective preferences. Nightfall will be accompanied by traditional dinner, and overnight stay at the lodge.

Day 3: Final memories

The last day of the visit is likely to be a very memorable one; tourists will be welcomed with an early breakfast, and a final game drive before heading on the iconic drive back to Nairobi. The game drive also includes visiting the famed Maasai tribal villages, where one gets a firsthand experience of the rich regional culture. The return drive to Nairobi will be through the pictorial topography, where the tourists are encouraged to capture as many live moments as they can.

Notes to remember: The best way to reach Amboseli National Park

If you prefer quick travel, and would rather enjoy the on-ground scene first, then air travel is the way to go. The Amboseli Airport is right within the park, along with a few other private airstrips (belonging to the respective lodges). However, if you’d rather enjoy the long drive from Nairobi, then you may take the Nairobi/Arusha road via Namanga, which will grant you access to the park through the Meshanani gate. Alternatively, you may take the Mombasa route, which will lead you to the park through the Tsavo West National Park. This is adjacent to the Kimana gate. You are more than welcome to consult with your tour guide, and decide the best route for your travels early on.

The best time to visit

The dry season would be an ideal time to visit Amboseli, or any other national parks in Kenya for that matter. That’s the time the herbivores gather near the watering holes, and the carnivores follow suit. It’s also the season where the probability of seeing a hunt in action is the highest. There are two yearly slots for this: June to October, and December to March. You can plan your trip accordingly.

The important highlights

The following is a list of things which everyone is recommended to look out for-

  1. The magnificent herds of free-ranging elephants: These large tusked, gentle giants roam the savannah with their enormous herds, which undoubtedly is one of the main attractions of the Amboseli National Park.
  2. The Big 5: No safari is complete without a full sighting of the Big 5 at their very own abode. They include the lion, the leopard, the African elephant, the Rhinoceros, and the Cape buffalo.
  3. The mountainous terrain: Located right at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Amboseli plains offer a full view of the world’s highest free standing mountain. There’s also an observational hill, which allows the visitor a luxurious view of the park, along with its picturesque backdrop.
  4. The diverse habitats: As stated before, the Amboseli ecosystem is nature’s glorious cocktail of contrasting terrains. There are five habitats in total, ranging from the woodlands, to the sulphur springs, the savannah, the barren Lake Amboseli, and the vast plains.
  5. The local culture: The outskirts of the park region are inhabited by the local Maasai tribe. The tour includes a visit to the tribal villages, where you get to observe their traditions firsthand, and interact with a litany of members from the tribe.

Price Includes:

  • Full accommodation on a sharing basis in the lodging of your choice.
  • Transport in our 4×4 Toyota Land Cruisers (with pop-up roofs, radio calls, mini-fridges, and charging cables).
  • Charges for availing the services of our safari/tour guides.
  • Park entrance fees as per itinerary.
  • All airport transfers – where applicable.
  • Government taxes and levies known to us till date.
  • Additional drinking water in the vehicle (for use during game drives only).
  • Our meet-and-greet services.

Price Excludes:

  • All optional costs (activities which are outside the scope of our itinerary).
  • Tips to our guides.
  • Items of a personal nature, such as: passport, visa, and travellers’ insurance.
Duration: 3 DAYS / 2 NIGHTS
Location: Amboseli National Park