Destinations

Amboseli National park

Amboseli is often called the ‘Land of Giants’ – due to the impressive elephants here carrying massive tusks. The animals are set against breath-taking vistas of Mt Kilimanjaro, which makes an awesome backdrop to the small park. Aside from elephants, many plains animals are easy to spot. Fantastic photo opportunities are possible, and early mornings are best for clear views of Kilimanjaro.

Wildlife viewing in Ambroseli NP

Amboseli offers great wildlife viewing, and four of the Big Five are present. Rhinos are absent, but big herds of elephants reliably move to and from the marshy swamps in the centre of the park. Buffalo, wildebeest, Burchell’s zebra and gazelle are all very common. Lions are the easiest to spot of the big cats, but sightings are hit-and-miss.

Amboseli is one of Kenya’s most popular parks, and offers great wildlife viewing. The park is famous for its elephants, but most big safari animals can be spotted here. Black rhino has become extinct, but the other four of the Big Five are present. The plains support an abundance of large herbivores including wildebeest, Burchell’s zebra and Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelle.

Amboseli’s specialty is its elephants. Big herds roam the dusty plains in the morning and evening. During the day the elephants mostly spend their time partially submerged, foraging in Ol Okenya swamp. Having been protected from poaching for a long time, the Amboseli elephants carry particularly impressive ivory and are very relaxed around cars.

Best Time for Wildlife Viewing: Amboseli can be visited throughout the year, but the most rewarding wildlife watching is in the Dry season, from June to October, when animals gather around the marshes and other predictable water sources. When dry, animals crossing the sandy plains tend to kick up a lot of dust, offering some great photo opportunities when the light is low.

Scenery: The park encloses an interesting variety of habitats including dusty plains and marshy swamps, but it is the backdrop of snow-capped Kilimanjaro towering above the Amboseli plains that attracts most visitors to this scenic park.

Best Time for Bird Watching: Amboseli is a bird-watcher’s paradise throughout the year. Residents include unusual species that are spotted at any time. The migratory bird population fills the park from November to April. The months when rainfall is most likely to disrupt your bird-watching plans are November and April.

Weather & Climate: In Amboseli, the average daytime temperature sits around a hot 28°C/82°F, while at night, the average doesn’t go much lower than a warm 15°C/59°F. Temperatures peak towards the end of the Wet season (October to May), with the April heat particularly fierce. Things cool down a little in the Dry season (June to September), after the downpours of the ‘long rains’, and before the lighter showers of the ‘short rains’.

Best Time to Visit: The two drier periods of the year, between the area’s short and long patches of rainfall, and in the Dry season proper (June to September), are the best times to visit. Your game drive won’t be ruined by rain, and the animals can’t hide in the thin vegetation. The park does get quite busy at these times, however.

Getting there: Amboseli is located 365km/226mi southeast of Nairobi. Self-drive from Nairobi to the reserve is a good option. You can also drive from other parks if you’re doing a road trip around the country. The distance from Tsavo East or Tsavo West is about 460km/285mi and the driving time is about eight hours.

There are daily scheduled flights from Nairobi to Amboseli’s airstrip as well as flights from Tsavo West and the Masai Mara.

Nairobi is a popular entry point into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO), is located 15km/9mi southeast of Nairobi. The country’s second international airport is Moi International Airport (MBA), and is 9km/6mi west of Mombasa.