The word Amboseli was derived from a ‘Maa’ language word ‘amp-sel’ which literally translates to’ salty dust’. The park is remembered for its dry season ‘devil winds’. Maa is the language of the world famous Masai tribe who has stood the westernization wave to protect their cultures and traditions up to this 21st century. The park covers 392 km2 and is part of the larger; 3000 km2 Amboseli ecosystem.
Amboseli National Park which as formerly known as the Maasai Amboseli Game Reserve is found in Kajiado County within Kenya, and as explained above it covers an area of 392 square Kilometers (39,206 hectares) within a larger 8,000 square Kilometers ecosystem that extends into Tanzania. This wider ecosystem comprises of a number of different habitats among which are thick thorn bushes, swamps, acacia forests and arid lake beds although its plains are dominated by grasslands and savannah. About 1000 years ago, this area experienced the effects of Mount Kilimanjaro erupting and today during the hot dry-season there are heat waves formed by the volcanic ash in the area.
Amboseli National Park is popular for its beautiful huge skies and endless skylines as well as marshy springs, dry dust-ridden earth crushed by numerous animals. Amboseli is a Maasai word that can be translated to mean “salty dust”
The park is famous, first for its close proximity and excellent views of Mt Kilimanjaro, often referred as the rooftop of Africa, and makes it possible for a visitor to get a ‘postcard’ picture of elephants with the mountain on the background. This has earned it the name of “Kilimanjaro royal court”. The park is also famous for the largest Elephants, and big numbers of bird species as well as other plain animals and trees. This park is made up of five major habitats; open plains, acacia woodlands, rocky thorn bush, swamps and marshlands. This makes this park exceptionally a place of all seasons! The Lake Amboseli which is sometimes dry then acts as the icing on the cake!
Apart from excellent game drives in the park, activities also available for the tourists also include; horseback safaris and visiting nearby Masai villages to get a feeling and experience of their daily life, culture, traditions, and dance.
Some of the tours that takes you to Amboseli National Park is our 03 Day Kenya Safari Amboseli.
Amboseli safari offers the rare chance of taking famous the ‘postcards –photos’ of large elephants with Mount Kilimanjaro at the background. A Kenya safari to Amboseli can be done from Nairobi or starting from Mombasa, as part short or longer safari packages.
We offer best Amboseli Safaris in Kenya for the best prices and can offer lodge as well as basic camping safaris. Please contact our safari experts if you wish to include Amboseli in your safari to Kenya.
Amboseli National Park can also be combined easily in safaris from Mombasa with other parks in both short and longer safari packages. Such parks include Tsavo West National Park and or the Tsavo East National Park.
Best Time to Visit Amboseli National Park.
Like most of the parks in Kenya the Amboseli National Park is best visited during the drier months of January to March as well as June to October. However Amboseli is an all weather park where you can visit at any time of the year although basic camping safaris are not recommended during the wet season between April and May and November to Mid December.
Wildlife in Amboseli National Park.
Amboseli National Park is well known worldwide for it’s abnormally huge elephants but it is also one of the birders haven and a great spot to visit if you are an enthusiastic bird watcher. The Amboseli Ecosystem that includes several concession areas that act as a buffer zone for the Amboseli National Park allows for walking safaris and venturing in these areas on foot can be as much as rewarding if you are interested in Bird watching Safari in Kenya.
Believed to be among the most popular tourist destinations in Africa, Amboseli National Park is well-known for its picturesque landscape, numerous wild animals and the magnificent snow-covered peak of Mount Kilimanjaro forming a backdrop. Amboseli National Park will treat you to a variety of wildlife species with the stunning background of the exceptional Mount Kilimanjaro of Tanzania. It is located in Kajiado District of the Rift Valley Province in Kenya on the border with Tanzania. It is among the great places in Africa to see huge numbers of elephants.
Amboseli has a continuous supply of underground water which is purified through numerous layers of volcanic rock from Mount Kilimanjaro’s snowcap that channels into two transparent springs in the middle of the park. The climate constantly changes with the weather shifting from extremely dry conditions to heavy rains, evidenced by the incessant rain in the 1990s that made Amboseli a soggy wetland which later became barren after a few years of not experiencing rain and the grassland turned almost into a desert.
There are more than 55 different species of animals found in this park. The most common of them all are: the Grevy’s and Burchell’s zebras, impalas, white-bearded wildebeests, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles, elands, jackals, buffalos, waterbucks, hartebeests, wild dogs, hippos as well as giraffes.
The Safari Experience in Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is largely dry however it has a number of permanent springs that supply three swamps with water that is essential to the survival of the wildlife in the park. Huge animals like hippos, elephants plus buffaloes are usually seen around the swamps.
The swamps are enclosed by the open savannah plains. Amboseli is popular for its simple game viewing since it has a vast and open scenery and is an exceptional place to take photographs. We combine Amboseli National Park with other parks to offer multi day tours like our Mombasa safari tours.
What to do in Amboseli National Park
Enjoy game viewing at the observation hill which overlooks the entire park particularly the large herds of elephants as well as the swamps.
Game drives: While at Amboseli, you can opt to self-drive or have a guided game drive. The park is comprised of five distinct habitats varying from the savannah, wetlands with sulphur springs, woodlands plus the dried-up bed of Lake Amboseli.
Masai Cultural visits: You can also tour the surrounding Maasai community and appreciate as well as learn about their unique culture.
Private conservancies on the border of the park provide hot air ballooning, horseback safaris as well as walking safaris.
Some of the safari trips we offer that includes Amboseli National park include our 4 days Tsavo West and Amboseli safari.
Best time to visit | Climate in Amboseli National Park
The Amboseli area is mostly arid since it is located in the rain shadow of Mountain Kilimanjaro that is in the Northwestern part of the park. There is barely any deviation in the weather all year long because it is close to the equator. The temperatures vary from 27 to 30°C is close to the equator.
The national park has a diversity of wildlife all year long and it is recommended that you come to the park during the months of January and February as well as June to September if you want to keep away from the wet season.
How to get to Amboseli National Park
Amboseli Airport is situated within the Amboseli National Park however a number of accommodation facilities have their own private airstrips.
Amboseli National Park is about 240 km (150 miles) from Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. You can drive along the Nairobi/ Arusha road through Namanga and access the park using the Meshanani Gate. You could also use the Mombasa route in which case you will access Amboseli using the Tsavo West National Park via the Kimana Gate.