Amboseli National Park, set in the shadow of the majestically looming Mount Kilimanjaro, is at the centre of an 8000 squared km ecosystem that includes the Chyulu Hills and Taita, and extends across the border into Tanzania.
Amboseli National Park is a very popular destination due to the beautiful views of Kilimanjaro, the tallest single mountain in the world, and its large elephant population including some of the great last big Tuskers.
The ecosystem of the park is comprised of mainly savannah and grassland plains, but there are various habitat types, which also include swamps, dry lake beds, marshland, thick thorn bush and acacia forest and palm forest, for this varied ecosystem, the Amboseli National Park has been declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
The park occupies the area of a Pleistocene lake basin, now dry, which together with the volcanic ash of the eruptions of Kilimanjaro a millennium ago, inspired its name Amboseli, translation of the Masai word Empusei, which means its territory of dust or dry salty place.
The Amboseli area was established as a nature reserve in 1968 and upgraded to the status of a National Park in 1974, it has an area of just under 400 square kilometers.
Why visit the Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is famous for its huge and growing population of elephants and is considered one of the best places to observe elephants in the wild, so much so that it is sometimes described as Africa’s Elephant Park.
But the Amboseli is an extraordinary habitat for wildlife and there are 56 animal species recorded in the park including lions, leopards, buffaloes, jackals, caracals, servals, bush babies, baboons, cheetahs, Masai giraffes, wildebeest, spotted hyena, zebras and numerous species of antelope.
Amboseli National Park is among the best birding sites in Kenya and considering the fact that the park is home to over 420 bird species it is a paradise for travelers interested in bird watching.
The spring waters attract a wide range of birds, such as hammerkop, kingfisher, pelican, crane, egret, and 47 types of raptors.
The best sites to spot birds in Amboseli National Park are the swamps where mainly water birds are observed, the best time for bird watching in Amboseli National Park is in the period from November to April when migratory bird species are present joining the resident bird species.
The observation hill is aa view point that provides a perfect spot to observe the park and its animals from above, it is a pyramid-shaped hill where you can walk up, the only place in the park where you can get off the vehicles.
From the top you can enjoy splendid views of snow capped Kilimanjaro and the swamp below usually populated by hippos and elephants.
Amboseli Lake in Amboseli National Park is a dried up Pleistocene lake, the lake is usually dry but in the rainy season it fills with sporadic floods.
The lake is usually crowded with many animals and birds especially flamingos.
Swamps of the Sinet Delta
The Sinet Delta in the Amboseli National Park is an excellent birdwatching site in the park where many species of birds are spotted, the swamp is a permanent source of water for the park and is fed by underground rivers that come from Mount Kilimanjaro.
The swamp under the observation hill is a perfect habitat for a variety of wildlife such as elephants, buffaloes, hippos and various bird species such as pelicans, Egyptian goose and many more.
Views of Mount Kilimanjaro
Amboseli National Park offers splendid views of Kilimanjaro, Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano and the highest mountain in Africa at an altitude of 5,895 meters above sea level.
Observing the elephants against the backdrop of the Kili is an iconic image of the park and the dream of every photographer.