Visiting the Amboseli National Park
Located 360 km from Nairobi, the chaotic capital city of Kenya, close to the Tanzania border, Amboseli was founded in 1968 as a Nature Reserve and declared in 1974 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 breathtaking sceneries.
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 the “land of giants” for being the best place in Africa to experience elephants with massive tusks at close range. The highlight of each Safari is to spot herds of elephants crossing the plains to head for swamps, searching for refreshment and fresh grass.
Fauna in the Park
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 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.
Other activities in Amboseli NP
Indeed the main activity is the game drive looking for magnificent sightings. Still, 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 by driving along the A109 and C102, then turning 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.
Where to sleep in Amboseli
Very close to Kimana gate you’ll find a good range of accommodation, from tented camps to lodges. We sleep at Kibo Safari Camp (half board + a lunch box). You can also look at AA Lodge Amboseli, Sentrim Amboseli Lodge, Chui Banda, Kilima Safari Camp, Kibo Villa Amboseli, and 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.
Best Time to visit Amboseli
So like the other Kenya 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, consider that the rain could interfere with your activities during the wet season, especially in April and May.
Warning: The risk of malaria is worst in the rainy seasons, above all from April to May and mid-October to November. It is highly recommended to consult a travel medicine specialist to assess travel-related risks and get information to ensure your health and safety. Don’t forget to take out your travel insurance!
Amboseli park fees
Adults non-resident 60 USD per day; Children non-resident 35 USD per day.