The very scenic Amboseli National Park is one of Kenya’s most popular parks. It’s located about 230 kilometres south-east of Nairobi on the Tanzanian border. Amboseli enjoys the backdrop of Africa’s most iconic mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, that lies on the other side of the border with Tanzania. The flat open landscape makes for easy game viewing.
Amboseli National Park is a profoundly biodiverse expanse of land in the cultural territory of the Maasai Nation, which spans the border with Tanzania. Continuing their historical ways as pastoralist herders of cattle and sheep, the Maasai are ever-present in their Amboseli region homelands. As you will learn, interacting with them is a highlight that graces the journeys of visitors to several national parks in Kenya. Amboseli’s name is derived from the Maa language of the Maasai, meaning “salty dust”. Many of the lakes in this region of East Africa are saline and partly (or completely) disappear during the dry season, resulting in dust clouds.
While Amboseli is considered relatively small, especially when compared to some of Kenya’s other reserves and parks such as the famous Masai Mara National Park, it remains a long-standing highlight of Kenya’s safari circuit. Well known for its high density of elephants, the Amboseli National Park forms the unfenced core of an 8,000 km2 ecosystem that includes large tracts of Maasai community land both in Kenya and across the border in Tanzania.
Amboseli National Park: The Experience
Within the National Park itself, the must-see focal point is undoubtedly the wildlife. At least 400 bird species – with some counts reaching 600! – can be seen, along with up to 80 mammal species. With the mammal glory far surpassing the classic Big Five of rhino, cape buffalo, leopard, lion and elephant, it is truly the elephants that Amboseli is famous for. Though Tim the Tusker, resident of Amboseli and Kenya’s most famous elephant, has recently passed, the Park and its region remains one of the standout areas in the country to see large, active herds. Amboseli National Park is centered around the transient Lake, which goes from waterhole to dust bowl, depending on the season. After heavy rains, it can fill to be a gathering place for thirsty mammals and innumerable flamingoes, returning to a salty, dusty pan (hence its name!) for the majority of the year.
Amboseli National Park: Birdlife
Amboseli national park is a home to a high concentration of birds thus making it a birding haven for bird enthusiastic tourists, Amboseli national park is a home to over 400 bird species and these birds include African Sacred Ibises, amaurornis flavirostra chick, Amboseli ostrich , ardea melanocephala, balearica regulorum, bradornis microrhynchus , buphagus africanus1 , eastern chanting goshawk , female struthio camelus massaicus , glareola pratincola , great white pelican , grey crowned cranes, haliaeetus vocifer , kajiado, Kori bustard, male struthio camelus massaicus, melierax poliopterus, numida meleagris, passer gongonensis, platalea alba, ploceus nigricollis melanoxanthus polihierax semitorquatus, pseudonigrita arnaudi , Scopus umbretta, struthio camelus massaicus, struthio camelus massaicus, struthio camelus massaicus, superb starling, Vanellus armatus, Vanellus coronatus, Vanellus crassirostris, Vidua macroura, yellow-billed stork and many more. These birds are easily sighted at the dried bed of Lake Amboseli, watering holes and the savannah grasslands of the park.