Amboseli National Park (392 Sq. Km). A scenic park in its own right, Amboseli is synonymous with its a four (4) hour drive (240 km or 150 miles) location southeast of Nairobi, Amboseli National Park is well known for its majestic herds of big tusked elephants and glorious views of Mount Kilimanjaro in neighbouring Tanzania and thus Kenya’s second most popular national park after the Masai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli was declared a UNESCO-Mab Biosphere Reserve in 1991.
During heavy rains, the basin at the centre of the park floods, attracting hordes of wildlife. The reserve is an excellent place to view the Big Five, as well as lesser known and rarer wildlife species.
A vast area stretching from the present Masai National Reserve through Amboseli and then down to Tsavo National Park in the then Ukambani Province was established as the Southern Game Reserve in 1899. However in 1948, Amboseli’s 3,260 sq. kms. was cut from the larger Southern Game Reserve and made a separate National Reserve under the then Royal National Parks of Kenya Organisation and named “Masai Amboseli Game Reserve” to ensure that both the Maasai and wildlife co-existed peacefully in the area.
Today Amboseli supports one of the most varied Wildlife species in the country ranging from the grounds squirrels to dik dik, zebra, eland, wildbeest, black-rhino, masai giraffe, the famous black-maned Amboseli lions, elephants, grant’s and Thompson’s gazelle, cheetah, gerenuk, impala, leopard, water-buck, fringe-eared oryx, yellow-baboon, Jackals and spotted hyena. Birds are amazing plentiful with over 400 species having been identified. Commonest species are masai ostrich, white pelicans, egrets, hammerkop, white stork, herons, plovers, sand grouse, yellow-weaverbirds, superb starling, ibises, greater and lesser flamingo, ducks, vultures and many others.
Visitors to Amboseli always wonder how such a dry country supports such a large concentration of wildlife. The underground water riddle is the answer. The swamps have made Amboseli one of the best parks and undoubtedly the second most popular park in the country after Nairobi National Park. It is also one of the best homes of the famous Maasai people who have learned to live harmoniously with the wildlife which surrounds them. Their attractive traditions and rich culture add to the fascinations of this beautiful park. Its best game runs are around Enkongo Narok Swamp and Ol Okenya lake swamp.
Activities and Tourist attraction. The activities and tourist attractions within and around Amboseli National Park that are often preferred and that offer a stunning experience to wildlife enthusiast and holiday travellers include;
Wildlife game drive-viewing and birding. Referred as the home to the “Big Five” referring to the most dangerous animals difficult to hunt on foot in the continent of Africa, Amboseli is a home to a variety of birds and animal species found in the wild which are beautiful and can be sighted during a wildlife game drives in early morning, in the afternoon or later in the evening within and around the national park. It has got a number of wild animals from the widely known Elephants, Lions, Buffalos, Leopards, Zebras, Cheetahs, wildebeests, Giraffes including a variety of birdlife like the Falcons and Kingfisher, African fish Eagle, Grey crowned crane, African jacana, the vulnerable Lesser Kestrel, the Kori bustard, Flamingos, Marabou stork among many more other bird species. Every traveller who gets a chance to visit Kenya, noticeably appreciates that Amboseli National Park is a fascinating destination for a holiday travel experience.
Sightseeing Activities. These are normally conducted around the observation hill (Noomotio hill) since it’s the only spot in the park where you get to see all the natural landscape surrounding the park, wild species moving to and fro the park at their feeding grounds, including other tourist attractions surrounding the park like Mount Kilimanjaro among, lake Amboseli among many.
Meeting the local Maasai people. The ancestral tribe for the land are the Maasai people and the largest number of land and people in this particular region is dominated by the Maasai. However, there are other local people residing around Amboseli national park from Kenya and the neighboring countries like Tanzania since the park is seated on the border between Kenya and Tanzania. It’s a great opportunity to get to know the local people around, get to know their culture, food, history and more insights of how the Maasai Cultural continue to sustainably leave within the wildlife vicinity.