Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is set at the foot of Africa’s highest mountain, 5895m Kilimanjaro, this park is one of Kenya’s most popular parks. It lies some 240kms. The snow-capped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro rising above a saucer of clouds dominates every aspect of Amboseli. Gazetted as a national park in 1974 it covers only 392 square kilometers but despite its small size and its fragile ecosystem it supports a wide range of mammals (well over 50 of the larger species) and birds (over 400 species). Years ago, Amboseli was the locale around which such famous writers as Ernest Hemingway and Robert Ruark spun their stories of big game hunting in the wilds of Africa.
A part of the Park is composed of a dried-up lake bed which in the shimmering heat produces mirages. Swamps and springs, fed by underground rivers from Kilimanjaro’s melting snows, form permanent watering places for the wildlife through times of drought. The lake bed is subject to sporadic floods and noxious salts in the gravel bed are dissolved to serve as a deadly poison for what is left of the local woods; very few of the fine acacias, once a feature of this region, remain.
Amboseli National Park the home of the Masai people, those tall, proud nomads whose legendary prowess in battle and single handed acts of bravery in fights with wild animals has spread across the globe. Perhaps more than any other communities in Kenya the Masai have learned to live in complete harmony with their environment and the wildlife which surrounds them. All round the park are occupied and abandoned manyatta – Masai villages – quickly built out of bent poles and sticks and plastered with cow dung and equally swiftly abandoned when the grazing is finished and the herds must move on.
The snows of Kilimanjaro, white and crystalline, form a majestic backdrop to one of Kenya’s most spectacular displays of wildlife – lion, elephant, leopard, rhino, cheetah, buffalo and hosts of plains’ game, creating Kenya’s most sought after photographer’s paradise.
It is also the home of the Masai people, those tall, proud nomads whose legendary prowess in battle and single handed acts of bravery in fights with wild animals has spread across the globe. The Masai have learned to live in complete harmony with their environment and the wildlife, which surrounds them. Part of Amboseli National Park is composed of a dried-up lakebed, which in the shimmering heat produces mirages. Swamps and springs, fed by underground rivers from Kilimanjaro’s melting snows, form permanent watering places for wildlife throughout times of drought.
Amboseli is not a large park, but it offers you the best opportunity of seeing endangered black rhino, as well as a spectacular range of wildlife. Most of Amboseli is flat and dusty and the best spots for game viewing are the two swamps (see “Activities”)