Amboseli National Park - The Land of Giants

Did you know that African elephants are the largest land animals on Earth? Adult males, or bull elephants, stand up to 3m high and weigh up to 6,000kg on average? 

Or that elephant calves can stand within 20 minutes of being born and walk within 1 hour?

Yes, these mammals are fascinating. What if we told you that you could witness these facts and more while on an Amboseli national park safari tour? 

Here's a brief overview of the park and the top attractions.

Brief Overview

Amboseli, one of the best safari parks in Africa, is located in Kenya's Kajiado County, some 240 kilometres from the nation's capital. Amboseli National Park is often referred to as the Land of Giants due to the large herds of elephants that roam the park freely. You also get magnificent views of the world-famous Mount Kilimanjaro. It is about 392 square kilometres, and its ecosystem spreads past the Kenyan border into Tanzania. 

Amboseli was made into a game reserve in 1948 before being gazetted into a national park in 1974 to protect its ecosystem from exploitation. The conditions of the park are typically hot and dry, with temperatures reaching 28°C during the day and 15°C at night (brrr!), so keep that in mind while planning an Amboseli national park safari tour. 

Amboseli has a semi-arid climate with two rainy seasons in the year. The landscape is diverse with woodlands and savannah, the dried-up bed of Lake Amboseli, sulfur springs and two swamps forming an oasis. This contrast evokes a sense of wonder in visitors. That's not all. The park has an endless supply of underground water. Kilimanjaro's ice caps melt, filter through volcanic rock, and funnel into two springs found at the heart of the park. Amboseli has a chain of seasonal lakes located in the western parts of the park. If you love bird watching, you will love the shores of these lakes, which act as havens for birds. 

The sparse vegetation in Amboseli makes it the best place for a Big 5 safari. You'll see free-ranging elephants with big tusks and other members of the big five, such as the buffalos, lions, and leopards. If you're planning a big five safari adventure, you'll not be disappointed by the rest of the wildlife. The park boasts impalas, fast cheetahs, spotted hyenas, giraffes, blue wildebeests, zebras, and many bird species. 

The Amboseli Conservation Program began in 1974. The program has aimed to research the ecosystem, develop conservation policies and practices, and promote sound environmental governance. Amboseli also has two ongoing research programs: the Amboseli Elephant Research Project and the Amboseli Baboon Research Project. You can happily go on an Amboseli national park safari tour knowing that the wildlife is being protected.

The Amboseli park entry fees are $70 for adults and $20 for children (2-11yrs) during high season (July - February) and $40 for adults and $20 for children during low season (March - June). While on a safari, you will have your choice in our vehicles explicitly made for East Africa safaris. Our off-road 4 x 4 Land Cruiser Jeeps and 4X4 safari vans are designed to give you a magical experience through the African bush. 

For tour planning assistance for Amboseli National Park safari tours, Please Contact Us.

Top Attractions at Amboseli National Park 

Here are the top attractions that await you at Amboseli national park:

1. Africa's crown jewels and the Big five

An Amboseli national park safari tour is incomplete without mentioning the elephants. Out of all the safari parks in Africa, Amboseli is the best for getting up close to elephants. Herds of elephants with large tusks spend their morning in the partially submerged Ol Tukai Swamp located at the heart of Amboseli Park. 

These Africa's crown jewels also roam the plains. Majestic lions, large cape buffalos, and beautiful leopards can be spotted easily in the park. Bird viewing is a strong selling point for the park, which has about 600 bird species. This includes aquatic birds like flamingoes, pelicans, herons, crowned cranes, and egrets. The grasslands are home to ground birds such as Hartlaub's bustard. Woodland birds such as steel-blue whydah, white-bellied go-away bird, and the von der decken's hornbill are a special treat for bird watchers.

2. Mount Kilimanjaro

When you enter Amboseli national park, your attention is drawn to the beautiful scenery and the breathtaking backdrop that fills the sky. In the distance stands Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa, rising majestically at 5895 metres above sea level. Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano with three volcanic cones: Mawenzi, Shira and Kibo. Have no fear, though. The most recent activity was about 200 years ago, and the volcano's last major eruption was 360,000 years ago. Whew!

3. Volcanic craters

The mountain has five climate zones. Evergreen forests, then shrubland at about 3000 metres, at around 4,000 metres the mountain becomes arid and rocky. Below the peaks, the mountain transforms into an alpine desert. At the top of Kilimanjaro are large glaciers between the volcanic craters. The snow-capped mountain is a favourite for climbers, with the first recorded summit occurring in 1889. It has since become a popular hiking spot for both locals and tourists. This is because mountaineering experience or gear is not necessary to reach the peak. 

Interesting Facts about Amboseli National Park 

Amboseli National Park is a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve site. The park was recognised in 1980 thanks to its ecological zones and the inclusion of local populations in its sustainable use. 

Amboseli was home to Echo, the world's most researched elephant. She was the subject of many books and documentaries until her death in 2009 at 60. The park was also home to Tim, an iconic bull elephant with massive tusks that touched the ground. Tim passed away from natural causes in 2020. 

Approximately 25,000 people attempt to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro every year. About two-thirds of them are successful. The fastest recorded summit happened in 2001 when Italian athlete Bruno Brunod reached the summit in 5 hours and 38 minutes. The oldest person to ever summit was 87-year-old Valtee Daniel. 

Going on an Amboseli National Park Safari 

The best time for an Amboseli national park safari tour is during the dry months, from June to October and January to February. The best time to view Mount Kilimanjaro is during the wet seasons when the sky is clear of dust. 

The park has several rules that visitors must follow:

  1. You can't leave your vehicle unless you're at a designated spot

  2. You can't harass the animals in any way

  3. No offroad driving

  4. You must stay on the tracks

  5. Always give animals the right of way 

Packing can be such a hassle; trust me, I know. So here's a list of what to bring with you:

  • Passport (must be valid for at least the next 6 months)

  • Health and Travel Insurance

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

  • Prescription Medication

  • Check with your GP what medication you need while travelling

  • Anti-malaria medication

  • Antihistamine for allergies and insect bites

  • Painkillers

  • Insect repellent

  • 2/3 pair of neutral–coloured cotton trousers or chinos (no jeans, remember temperatures can hit 28°C)

  • 2 pairs of shorts

  • At least 4 t-shirts or short-sleeved shirts

  • 2 long-sleeved t-shirts or shirts

  • Swimming clothes

For a complete list of what to bring, including the proper documentation and more clothes, you can check out our complete Safari Packing Guide.

An Amboseli National Park safari tour is one you'll never regret. The park has a splendid variety of climates within the park, full of some of the most famous animals in the world. At the same time, Mount Kilimanjaro looms in the background. Amboseli has earned its reputation as a premier spot for Kenya safari tours.

So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch via the contact form below for incredible and affordable Kenya safaris from Nairobi.