Safaris in Amboseli National Park take place in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro and under the watchful eye of its many elephants
Your breath stills and the focus stirs as you ready yourself to capture that exact moment a herd of elephant crosses your field of view. Finally, the click of the shutter disrupts the otherwise silent air just as the snow-capped Kilimanjaro frames your perfect shot; your Amboseli safari isn’t just about the wildlife species you can tick off your list, it’s also about taking in the park’s epic backdrops as you do. Dusty plains dotted with acacia trees meet the deep greens of meltwater-fed marshes and swamps where elephants in large family herds wade elbow deep and a crash of hippos wallow, all with the world’s highest free-standing mountain as an ever-present and inspiring landmark.
We love Amboseli and understand why you’ll want to return time and again to experience the fantastic game viewing and make the most of those iconic mountain views. We’ve hand-picked the best lodges and tented camps with the most knowledgeable guides who know exactly where to go to find the wildlife you’ve always dreamed of seeing. Our Kenya experts are on hand to tailor your safari so pop in store or give them a call.
- One of Kenya’s smaller game parks, its ecosystem is primarily savannah – and the low-lying vegetation means that the game viewing here is excellent, as the wildlife is easy to spot.
- Maasai villages and cattle ranches surround the park, so there are opportunities to visit Maasai communities and get an insight into the local culture.
- Although Mount Kilimanjaro is in neighbouring Tanzania, here is where you’ll find some of the best and most dramatic views of Africa’s highest mountain.
- For birdwatchers, the best months to see migratory birds are from October to January.
- Amboseli can be combined with a safari in Tsavo West which gives you a real variety of landscapes in which to spot wildlife.
Best time to visit Amboseli
The hot and humid rainy season lasts from March to May, while the shorter rains fall during November and December. January and February are hot and dry. July to October is warm and dry, and is often seen as the best season for comfortable game viewing. For birdwatchers, the best months to see migratory birds are from October to January.
Amboseli holiday highlights
Amboseli is home to a large number of wildlife, particularly during the dry season when watering holes are few and far between. There are around a thousand elephants that live in the park or migrate through it, following a path set down by their ancestors many years before. This is one of the last places on the continent to see the ‘big tuskers’, so called because of their incredible tusks that are so long that they almost skim the ground. Huge herds can be seen wherever you look, either feeding in the swamps or crossing the park in a carefully curated order, crossing tracks and enforcing the unwritten rule of ‘elephants always have right of way’. This is the sort of traffic jam you’ll be more than happy to be caught up in.
It may be hard to believe it but Amboseli isn’t all about the ellies. Buffalo, Grant’s zebra, wildebeest and antelope roam the plains, stalked by big cats, and opportunistic wild dogs and hyenas are never too far away. And then there are the bird species. Egrets stick with the elephants like faithful servants, some riding on their backs and others picking at the ground disturbed by hundreds of plate-sized feet; a flock of ostriches sprint across the plains; secretary birds, seemingly dressed for a day in the office, search the grasslands for snakes; and grey crowned cranes forage in the park’s marshes. You may find yourself stopping more to tick off another type of bird than to watch one of Amboseli’s many mammals.
Where is Amboseli?
Amboseli National Park is located in the Rift Valley in southern Kenya, close to the border with Tanzania. It’s around four hours south-east of Nairobi by road or one hour by air. The 15,000-acre Selenkay Conservancy, where we feature a bush camp, is located to the north of the national park boundary.
When to visit
Amboseli can be visited at any time and its lodges are open year round. The most popular time to visit –when wildlife viewing opportunities are at their best – is during the dry months from June to October and in January and February. The park can get particularly busy from July to September as those who visit the Maasai Mara to experience the Great Wildebeest Migration often add a few days in Amboseli to see the famed elephants and mountain vistas. In October, which usually marks the end of the dry season, there are just a few watering holes left and the concentration of animals around these water sources is quite high. The short rains usually arrive in November and last for a couple of months and the long rains begin in April and may last until mid-June. During this time, you should be able to get a great value deal at camps and lodges, but it’s worth weighing up the fact that game drives may be affected by bad road conditions and floods. Birders will love visiting in this off season as there are many migratory birds in the park which have flown south to escape the Northern Hemisphere’s winter.