Visiting the Amboseli National Park

Located 360 km from Nairobi, close to the Tanzania border, Amboseli was founded in 1968 as a Nature Reserve and declared in 1974 as a National Park. In 1991, UNESCO declared Amboseli a Biosphere Reserve to protect the uniqueness of its ecosystem. The snow-capped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro (5895 mt) rising above the clouds dominates every aspect of Amboseli offering the park a breathtaking scenery.

Amboseli NP, a magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro view
Amboseli NP, a magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro view

The park consists of mainly savannah grassland. Still, it also showcases patches of acacia woodland, small and rocky hills, and several marshy swamps where vegetation is lush with yellow-barked acacias and phoenix palms. It’s known as “land of giants” for being the best place in Africa to experience elephants with massive tusks at close range.  Highlights of any Safari is to spot herds of elephant crossing the plains to head for swamps in search of refreshment and fresh grass.

Amboseli NP, a herd of big elephants
Amboseli NP, a herd of big elephants

The park also boasts a large number of mammals including buffalo, giraffe, hyena, wildebeest, Burchell’s zebra, baboon, gazelle, hippo, cheetah, leopard (rare) and lion (sightings are hit-and-miss). The park is also a birdwatcher’s paradise with its 400 and over species. Lining the swamps, you’ll spot the Egyptian goose, hadada ibis, sacred ibis, African jacana, blacksmith plover, malachite kingfisher, egrets, herons, pelicans, crowned cranes, flamingos and many others. Besides, the acacia woodland holds steel-blue whydah, white-bellied go-away bird and the Von der Decken’s hornbill.

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Amboseli NP, a flock of flamingos in a swamp

Other activities in Amboseli NP

Indeed the main activity is the game drive looking for magnificent sightings, but with the help of your accommodation, you can also enjoy a walking safari (next to the park – usually early in the morning before the game drive) and a Masaai village visit to find out how they live in complete harmony with their environment and the wildlife which surrounds them.

How to get there

The park is usually combined in a tour with other parks (click here to see our itinerary) but it’s also easily reachable from Nairobi driving along the A109 and C102, then turn on the C103 heading to Kimana Gate (360 km – 4.30 hr). Anyway, despite the fact you could arrange a daily tour to the Park from the capital city, the best way to enjoy its breathtaking scenery is to have overnight here. Click here to see our itinerary and general information.

Amboseli NP, zebras resting in a swamp
Amboseli NP, zebras resting in a swamp

Where to sleep in Amboseli

Very close to Kimana gate you’ll find a good range of accommodation, from tented camp to lodges. We sleep at Kibo Safari Camp (half board + a lunch box). You can also have a look at AA Lodge Amboseli, Sentrim Amboseli Lodge, Chui Banda, Kilima Safari Camp, Kibo Villa Amboseli, Masai Simba Camp, WE4Kenya Guesthouse, Kimana public campsite, KWS Campsite.

If you want to sleep inside the park, you can check Ol Tukai Lodge, Amboseli Serena Lodge and Tortils Camp.



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Best Time to Visit Amboseli

So as the other Kenya’s Parks, Amboseli can be visited at any time of year. Anyway, it is recommended to visit during the dry months (January – February, and  June to October) when animals usually gather at the water sources and the grass is shorter, making it easier to spot them. Also take in mind that the rain could interfere with your activities during the wet season, especially in April and May.

Notice: The risk of malaria is worst in the rainy seasons above all from April to May and mid-October to November

Amboseli park fee

Adults non-resident 60 USD per day; Children non-resident 35 USD per day

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Amboseli NP, elephant bathing in a swamp

 

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