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AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK
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Amboseli National Park is located in Kajiado South Constituency in Kajiado County, Kenya. The park is 39,206 ha (392.06 km2) in size at the core of an 8,000 km2 (3,100 sq mi) ecosystem that spreads across the Kenya-Tanzania border. The local people are mainly Maasai, but people from other parts of the country have settled there attracted by the successful tourist-driven economy and intensive agriculture along with the system of swamps that makes this low-rainfall area, average 350 mm (14 in), one of the best wildlife-viewing experiences in the world with 400 species of birds including water birds like pelicans, kingfishers, crakes, hamerkop and 47 raptor species. The park protects two of the five main swamps and includes a dried-up Pleistocene lake and semiarid vegetation.
Amboseli which is the home of African Elephants is crowned by the African highest mountain that is Mt Kilimanjaro. It’s one of the most popular protected areas in Kenya, it’s the second, most visited national park in Kenya after Maasai Mara national reserve. Amboseli national park is one of the protected areas which is near the capital city Nairobi. The park got its name from the Maasai word ‘Amboseli’ which means the “salty dust”. It’s one of the best destinations in Africa where you can view hundreds of African Elephants matching. The gentle animals match gently with their young ones as they like scrolling on the red dusty soils at the park.
BEST TIMES TO VISIT
The dry season from June to October is generally considered the best time to see wildlife in Amboseli; with little rain falling wildlife retreats to the park’s swamps where underground water from Kilimanjaro wells up permanently year-round. However, this is also peak season – and as Kenya’s most popular national park (after the Maasai Mara) you’ll need to book early to secure accommodation during these months. Don’t expect to have the wildlife to yourself at this time of year – vehicles will congregate around the swamps and on the park’s limited network of trails. For a quieter safari consider January to February, after the short rains (which peak in November), have dispersed. Or, stay in one of Amboseli’s conservancies to avoid peak crowds – only 18 guests are welcomed at the Selenkay camp at one time, for example, and you’ll only venture into the conservancy if you’re a guest there. So even at full capacity, you’ll be gloriously secluded. The April and May long rains, which bring torrential downpours and washed-out roads, are best avoided.
HOW TO GET TO THE PARK.
Amboseli national park from Nairobi is just a throw of stone distance. You can easily access the park by road or air. By Road, it only takes 3 to 4 hours’ drive from Nairobi city to the park. The distance is 140 kilometres from Nairobi to Amboseli national park via Namanga on the main highway of Nairobi to Arusha. When using this route one access the park through its most popular gate that is Meshanani gate. One can also access the park through the Nairobi-Mombasa road passing via Email. This is the shortest route to access the park taking a short distance of 228 kilometres. If one is on the further side of the coastal area in Mombasa you can also access the park through Tsavo West national park via Kimana (Olkeluyiet) gate. For the guests who may not be very comfortable on long drives and spending more hours in the car. They can opt for the flights which are available daily from Nairobi Wilson airport to the only single Airstrip at the park which is near the Empusel gate. Other airstrips which are not in the park but near the park are those in Namanga town and in Kilimanjaro Buffalo lodge.
Amboseli National Park has a number and it’s surrounded by many hotels which include; Amboseli Serena safari lodge, Satao Elerai, Tortilis Camp, Ol tukai, Kibo safari camp, Sentrim Amboseli lodge, Kilima Safari Camp
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Things to do
Activities at Amboseli national park: To be specific, most of the activities in Amboseli national park rotate around wildlife since most of the other attractions are reached for purposes of viewing wildlife. There are several things to do while at Amboseli national park that one can engage in that will make your nature experience a fun-filled one.
- Visiting the Top sights in Amboseli.
These are considered as Amboseli’s major attraction spots including many other attractions. These are liked and visited by a large tourist as they provide a clear view of the rest of the other attractions in the land and as well the surrounding landscape. These top sights include, Enameshera mountain peak, Kitirua camping site, and the Noomotio observation point.
- Nature and Wildlife Tours.
This particular activity involves travelling all around the national park in buses and tourist vans, Game drives, off-road tours, viewing the natural landscape, the water bodies and a variety of other living creatures in the park. It gives an opportunity to tourists to move all around the park and get to see the different kinds of species of animals and birds as they tend to hide out in the bushes and grasslands resting or due to the weather conditions more so on the sunny weather when they try to look for shade or in water.
- Meeting the local people.
The ancestral tribe for the land are the Maasai people and the largest number of land and people in this particular region is dominated by the Maasai. However, there are other local people residing around Amboseli national park from Kenya and the neighbouring countries like Tanzania since the park is seated on the border between Kenya and Tanzania. It’s a great opportunity to get to know the local people around, get to know their culture, food, history and many more other things. For example, Tortilis arranges cultural visits to a Maasai homestead.
- Filming and photography.
Amboseli is famously known for its large herds of Elephants. This has attracted activities like filming and photography by researchers and documentaries from around the globe. It’s also referred to as the home to the “Big Five” referring to the most dangerous animals difficult to hunt on foot in the continent of Africa.
- Sightseeing Activities.
These are normally conducted around the observation hill (Noomotio hill) since it’s the only spot in the park where you get to see all the natural landscape surrounding the park, wild species moving to and fro the park at their feeding grounds, including other tourist attractions surrounding the park-like Mount Kilimanjaro among, lake Amboseli among many.
- Birding and wildlife viewing.
Amboseli is a home to a variety of birds and animal species found in the wild which are beautiful to look at. It has got a number of wild animals from the widely known Elephants, Lions, Buffalos, Leopards, Zebras, Cheetahs, wildebeests, Giraffes including a variety of birdlife like the Falcons and Kingfisher, African fish Eagle, Grey-crowned crane, African jacana, the vulnerable Lesser Kestrel, the Kori bustard, Flamingos, Marabou stork among many more other bird species.
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