Paul Mannix

photo: Paul Mannix

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Overview

One of Kenya’s top safari destinations, Amboseli National Park is named after Lake Amboseli, a dominating blue presence on most maps of the park, but more normally a dry dustbowl that fills with water only after exceptional rains. It might as easily be called Kilimanjaro View National Park, since — clouds permitting – it offers the most inspiring view there is of the snow-capped dome of Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, towering three miles above the plains below. Kilimanjaro doesn’t merely provide Amboseli with a sensational backdrop. Molten snow and spring water from the mountain’s upper slopes feed a network of ...

One of Kenya’s top safari destinations, Amboseli National Park is named after Lake Amboseli, a dominating blue presence on most maps of the park, but more normally a dry dustbowl that fills with water only after exceptional rains. It might as easily be called Kilimanjaro View National Park, since — clouds permitting – it offers the most inspiring view there is of the snow-capped dome of Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, towering three miles above the plains below. Kilimanjaro doesn’t merely provide Amboseli with a sensational backdrop. Molten snow and spring water from the mountain’s upper slopes feed a network of subterranean streams that resurface in Amboseli to form an isolated network of marshland and lakes in the otherwise dry plains. These wetlands form the daytime playground for hundreds of elephants that feed outside the park boundaries at night, but return in the morning to spend the day wallowing and eating in the well-vegetated water. Amboseli also supports an abundance of wildebeest, zebra, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles, impala and giraffe, while muddy buffaloes haunt the fringes of the swamps. Predators are somewhat more scarce, but lions and spotted hyenas are likely to be seen over the course of a couple of days, and it is ideal cheetah habitat too. The central swamps are highly alluring to birdwatchers, with 50-plus aquatic species likely to be seen over a few days, while the acacia woodland harbors innumerable dry-country specials including rosy-patched bush shrike and steel-blue whydah.

Philip Briggs
About the Expert

Philip Briggs has written or contributed to 50-plus editions of Bradt, Insight, AA and Berlitz guidebooks to African destinations.

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Philip Briggs for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Amboseli National Park, formerly Maasai Amboseli Game Reserve, is in Kajiado District, Rift Valley Province in Kenya. The ecosystem spreads across the Kenya-Tanzania border.
  • Language: English, Kiswahili & numerous indigenous languages
  • Currency: Kenyan Shilling
  • Research: Wikipedia

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Game viewing is good all year through but best in the dry months of January, February and June-October. this is also the best time for views of Kilimanjaro.