Amboseli, at the foot of Africa's highest mountain, snow-capped Kilimanjaro, is one of the most visited of Kenya's national parks
Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park lies approximately 240km south-east of Nairobi very close to the Tanzania border. The snowcapped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro rising dominates every aspect of Amboseli and is the perfect backdrop to a safari. Proclaimed as a national park in 1974 it is relatively small and covers only 392 sq km. Despite its size and its fragile ecosystem, it supports over 50 mammal species and has a rich birdlife. Years ago this was the locale around which famous writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Robert Ruark spun their stories of big game hunting in the wilds of Africa.
This region is also the home of the noble Maasai people. These tall, proud nomads have established a legendary reputation for their prowess in battle and single handed acts of bravery in fights with wild animals. Perhaps more than any other community in Kenya, the Maasai have learned to live in complete harmony with their environment and the wildlife which surrounds them. All round the park are occupied and abandoned manyatta - Maasai villages - quickly built out of bent poles and sticks and plastered with cow dung and equally swiftly abandoned when the grazing is finished and the herds must move on. A part of the Park is composed of a dried-up lake bed which in the shimmering heat produces mirages. Underground rivers from Kilimanjaro?s melting snows feed permanent swamps and springs. These serve as watering places for the wildlife through times of drought. As a result, this area is particularly good for game viewing during the dry season.
The National Park is surrounded by numerous private concessions. These are normally areas run in conjunction with the local Maasai communities and help to make the Park a substantial wildlife conservation area.
Game viewing includes lion, elephant, leopard, rhino, cheetah, buffalo and hosts of plains' game, creating Kenya's most sought after photographer's paradise. Amboseli?s popularity is also causing serious concern. The combination of wildlife, tourist vehicles and Maasai cattle are destroying the delicate but precious grassland. Park rules now insist that vehicles stick to roads and tracks. The Park's best game tracks are around the swamps and there is a fine lookout on Observation Hill which offers views over the whole of the Park and beyond.
The intended change of management at Amboseli National Park: On 28th September 2005 prior to elections, The Minister for Tourism and Wildlife published an official notice declaring that Amboseli National Park was to become Amboseli National Reserve. The intention was for Amboseli National Reserve to be placed under the care of Olkejiado County Council. Amboseli National Park had been managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service up until this point. Olkejiado County Council is formed of a coalition of Maasai communities who have lived in and around the Amboseli region for centuries. The intention of the change from Amboseli National Park to Amboseli National Reserve is to directly put all revenues generated from visitors entering the reserve into the hands of the owners of the land, the Maasai Community. The Maasai community of the Amboseli area had been waiting for the return of their land for over 30 years. The plan is for Kenya Wildlife Service to cooperate with the Maasai Community assigned to manage the Amboseli National Reserve and further assist with conservation of one of Kenya's most prized natural resources. However, these plans have not yet been put into law, and currently Amboseli still has National Park status.
Featured Amboseli National Park safari lodge maps
Amboseli Lodge map: The Lodge is set amongst lush tropical gardens and tranquil ponds with spectacular views of Kilimanjaro.
Amboseli Porini Camp map: The camp is located in the Selenkay Conservancy, just north of Amboseli National Park
Serena Lodge map: Serena Lodge is situated amongst giant Acacia trees and a gently flowing natural spring.
Tortilis Camp map: A tented camp situated in a lush acacia grove at the foot of the majestic, snow-capped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro.