Amboseli National Park

Amboseli National Park

Known as the “home of the Giants”, Amboseli National Park is one of the most beautiful and popular Protected Areas in Kenya. Actually, it is the second most popular Protected Area in the country after Masai Mara National Reserve. The Park covers an area of only 392 square kilometers but is crowned by Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in the African Continent.

Amboseli National Park is situated within Kajiado County, in southern Kenya and is at the core of the 8000 square kilometer Amboseli ecosystem that extends across the Kenya-Tanzania border. This Park used to be home to Echo, the most studied elephant in the World who died in 2009 at the age of 60 years.


This magnificent National Park was gazetted as the southern Reserve in 1906, and then was handed over to the locals as a Game Reserve in 1948. In 1974, it became a National Park to protect the essence of the unique Amboseli ecosystem. It was later designated a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve in 199. Formerly known as Masai Amboseli Game Reserve, this Park protects two of the five stunning main swamps and also comprises a dried-up Pleistocene Lake as well as semi-arid vegetation. The first European to venture into the feared Masai region was Jeremy Thompson in the year 1883. He was fascinated by the wide array of wildlife as well as the difference between the arid areas of the dry Lake bed as well as the oasis of the wetlands, a change that still exists to date.

The name “Amboseli” is derived from a Masai word meaning “salty dust” because of the dried-up beds of Lake Amboseli an Sulphur springs. This Park is known for two things-large herds of big tusked elephants and the majestic views of Mount. Kilimanjaro in the neighboring Tanzania.

Wildlife and bird species

Amboseli National Park is one of the excellent, if not the best place in the whole World to get up-close to free-ranging elephants. In total, there are over 80 species of mammals in this Park and besides the elephants, other species here are Cape buffaloes, Masai giraffes, impalas, Grant’s zebras, gazelles, Hippos, spotted hyenas, lions, blue wildebeests, leopards, warthogs, cheetahs and many others.

These animals live in the five different habitats of open savannah plains, rocky thorn bush country, acacia woodland, marshland and swamps. Several bird species (totaling to 400) call this Park home and some of them include Egyptian goose, pelicans, African jacana, Goliath heron, Hartlaub’s bustard, Eurasian thick-knee, Rufous-bellied herons, Yellow-necked spurfowl, the threatened Madagascar pond herons, Rufous chatterer, lesser and greater flamingos, shoebill storks, lesser kestrel, grey-crowned cranes and many others.

Other attractions in Amboseli National Park are the observation Hill that rewards visitors with the 360-degree view of the entire Park, Mount Kilimanjaro in the neighboring Tanzania, and verdant swamp below the observation Hill where numerous Hippos, elephants and buffaloes can be views.

Masai cultural experience

Visitors to Amboseli National Park have the opportunity of visiting the local Masai community who stay around the park to experience their interesting and authentic culture. These people are known for their unique and authentic pastoralist culture that has surprisingly not been affected by modernization. You will be taken through their exceptional clothing, traditional dances and local homesteads (Manyatta) and local dishes.

Game Viewing

The spectacular landscape of Amboseli National Park rewards visitors with the amazing views of wildlife including the big five-leopards, Rhinos, Cape buffaloes, lions and African bush elephants, Grant’s zebras, Masai giraffes, Impalas and many others.

Walking safaris

Amboseli National Park’s remarkable landscape makes it interesting to discover the different habitats and their unique wildlife and bird species.

Bird watching

This Park is haven to over 400 species of birds than can be encountered through typical birding tours. Expect to see Kori bustard, lesser and greater flamingos, African fish eagles, grey-crowned cranes, Goliath heron, Hartlaub’s bustard, Eurasian thick-knee, Rufous-bellied herons, Yellow-necked spur fowl, lesser kestrel and marabou storks among others.

Nature Filming and Photography

Amboseli National Park takes pride in its scenic and unmatched photogenic background comprised of vast savannah plains, huge elephants and backdrop of the ice-capped Mount. Kilimanjaro. These create a fantastic backdrop for nature photography.

Where to stay?

This National Park boasts of a wide array of accommodation facilities, ranging from budget, midrange to upmarket and promises to satisfy the tastes and interests of every visitor. These are Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge, Amboseli Sopa Lodge, Ol Tukai Lodge, Kilima Safari Camp, Tawi Lodge, Kibo Safari Camp, Sasaab Safari Lodge, Elewana Tortilis Camp, Masai Simba Camp and many others.

How to get there?

Amboseli National Park is about 240 kilometers from Nairobi City and can be accessed through air and road transport. For air, this Park features an airstrip at Empusel gate for all kinds of aircrafts and another airstrip at Olekelunyiet park headquarters for light aircrafts. Other distant airstrips are at Namanga Town as well as Kilimanjaro Buffalo Lodge.

For road transport, there are two main routes with different driving distances/time, en-route attractions and connect to different entrance Gates of Amboseli National Park. You can use the Nairobi-Mombasa road via Emali and is about 228 kilometers. This route is tarmacked until Emali then followed by murram to Remito Gate (about 64 kilometers).

The second route is Nairobi-Arusha road via Namanga (approximately 240 kilometers) and involves accessing the park through Meshanani gate. This roads is also tarmacked to Namanga then marram to the park entrance gate that is about 75 kilometers away.

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