Second in popularity after the legendary Masai Mara, Amboseli National Park not only offers great game viewing but it’s also the place to go for the best views of iconic Mount Kilimanjaro. The world’s tallest free-standing mountain actually stands just across the border in Tanzania, but Amboseli has a postcard-perfect view of its snow-capped peaks, rising almost six vertical kilometres above the savannah. The best time to view ‘Kili’ is at dawn and sunset when the clouds lift and the light is clear and soft. The name Amboseli comes from the word “empusel,” which in the language of the local Masai tribe means “salty dust.” Amboseli is indeed dusty, mostly because of its proximity to Mt. Kilimanjaro, a 19,340-foot-high snowy volcanic peak that lies just 25 miles away
Located about 200km south-east of Nairobi and accessible by road or air, Amboseli is an area of low scrubby vegetation and open grassy plains, all of which makes for easy game viewing. Accommodation is available in Amboseli in the form of several luxury safari lodges and you’ll explore the park on game drives, horse-back safaris and guided nature walks.
At only 392km² Amboseli is a small park and the range of animals is not as extensive as that of other parks in Kenya but streams from Kilimanjaro surface in the centre of Amboseli, creating wetlands that support a rich diversity of wildlife and most of the classic big mammals are there. The species list includes lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, spotted hyena, giraffe and cheetah, Rhinos, zebra, wildebeests and bird watchers will be happy with a bird list that tops 300 species.
Compact enough to experience in a day or two, Amboseli National Park is included on most Kenya safari itineraries and combines well with the Masai Mara and nearby Tsavo National Park.