Located in the south-eastern part of Kenya, Amboseli National park is about 4 hours away from the capital city of Kenya Nairobi, and is the second most visited National Park after Masai Mara Game reserve. Best known for being home to the large African elephants, Amboseli is a good place for tourists who love game drives and watching the various animals. The best part of visiting Amboseli is that all the animals that are found in the National Park are permanent which means that you can view all of them all year round. Amboseli National Park is a small national park and it can be explored fully using the different means of nature walks and game drives to get around.
Amboseli National Park a home to a wide range of animals that are found in the different habitats of the National Park. Some animals live in the water, those around swampy areas, and the open savannah grasslands. The different animal habitats that are found in Amboseli include:
- The Acacia woodland
- Open dry planes
- Savannah grasslands
- Rocky and bushy vegetation
- Lakes and swamps.
These have greatly helped in conserving the ecosystem of Amboseli and this has led to a big concentration of the different types of animals found in the National Park. Viewing of the animals can be done in the open grasslands especially during the dry season because this is when the vegetation is thin and sparse making it easy to spot the animals.
There is a long list of different types of animals that are found in Amboseli National Park and these include zebras, giraffes, antelopes, wildebeest, hyenas, the big five, and elephants, cheetahs although rare, kudus, wildebeests, crocodiles and many more others.
The huge African elephants are the highlight of Amboseli National Park. The Park has over 500 elephants that have been recorded and these can be seen strolling freely around the National park. The best however for viewing the Amboseli elephants is at the banks of Lake Amboseli where most of the large animals gather especially during the dry season.
The elephants are grouped into 58 families and these have over 300 male elephants. The elephant herds are led by folder females and these keep the young ones safe from predators. The female elephants have a gestation period of about 660 days to know more about the Amboseli elephants, book early enough so that you can gain entrance into the research center which was set up to conserve the elephants. It is quite difficult to access the research center but with prior communication, you might get lucky.
The big five
Many tourists who come to Africa for safaris look out for the big five and the same thing applies to the Amboseli National Park. Amboseli was a fully-fledged place for watching the big five but at the moment the black Rhinos are missing due to poaching. You can, however, see the other big five which include lions known to be the kings of the jungle, elephants, leopards which are lethal and at the same time shy, and buffalos.
Activities in Amboseli for animal viewing
Different activities can be carried out in Amboseli that give good views of the animals. These activities include the following:
Balloon safaris in Amboseli
Balloon safaris offered in Amboseli National Park are paid differently from the park entrance fees and are normally carried out in the morning hours. The ride carries a minimum of 8 people and a maximum of 16 people and the ride is another chance to watch and observe the animals from above. The ride also gives you a clear view of Kilimanjaro Mountain, birds, animals, landscapes, and surrounding areas of the Amboseli National Park. Balloon rides normally take you where the wind blows so each ride is a new one and you get to do this in an hour that will end with the toasting of champagne.
Game drives are the best and most used way of getting around the National Park and viewing the animals. The park carries out two game drives that are in the morning and evening game drives. On special occasions and in the conservancies, night drives are also offered to tourists at an extra cost. The morning game drives that start as early as 6:30 in the morning are the most rewarding because many of the animals are up and about searching for food in the morning and it is also the best time for one to go for birding. The afternoon drives are also rewarding and start at about 2 or 3 pm and till 6:00 pm. Night drives give you a chance to view the nocturnal animals including the big cats.
These are carried out along the Amboseli and are best for viewing the water animals like hippos. During the dry season, many animals converge around Lake Amboseli to cool down making it the best place to view the Amboseli animals while on a boat cruise.
Nature walk safaris
Nature walks in Amboseli are one of how the animals can be viewed. Note that you will not be allowed to walk around the park alone as this might be dangerous but you can walk with the guidance of a Masai guide and an armed ranger. Nature walks are best done in the mornings and late afternoons and they get you closer to the animals.
Rules and regulations in Amboseli National Park
The Amboseli Park rules were set up by the management to protect the animals from being hurt by tourists, and reduce poaching while at the same time protecting the tourists. These rules have to be followed and failure to do so brings about fines. They have so far improved the conservation of the National Park’s ecosystem. Below is a list of some of the rules that you must follow while on a safari to Amboseli.
- Do not feed the animals.
- Do not litter the National Park
- You are not allowed to over speed while driving in Amboseli National Park
- Keep a distance between you and the animals
- Do not approach the animals.
- You are not supposed to approach the animals
Best time for visiting Amboseli
The dry season which is experienced in January and February and then from June to October is considered the best time for viewing the Amboseli National park. The grass is always thin and sparse during the dry season which eases the spotting of the different types of animals.