Amboseli National Park
The 392 sq km Amboseli National Park lies due south of Nairobi, within clear sight of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain at 5896 m. The waters of the mountain feed the seasonal swamps and marshes on which the game and birds which live in the park rely. It is here that photographers will hope to shoot the classic picture of the elephant or giraffe standing against the dramatic backdrop of the snow capped mountain.
The park takes its name from the seasonal lake Amboseli, which in dry weather resembles a massive salt pan. In recent years it has become world famous as the home of herds of elephant, which lived here in comparative safety throughout the times of intense poaching during the 1980s and early 1990s.
For years the Maasai shared the area with the wild animals. They were pre-occupied with their own herds of cattle and seldom bothered the game but in dry seasons there is insufficient pasture for game and cattle.
The large herds of elephant can most often be found grazing in the permanent swamps. On the plains there are still large herds of buffalo and plains game such as gazelle and zebra, and wildebeest abound. Families of warthog trot off through the all-pervasive dust while hyena and jackal vie with the flocks of vultures over the carcasses left by the occasional lion or cheetah.
The birdlife in this area is magnificent. During the wet season waterbirds may be found within the swamps and after the rains it is a common sight to see large flocks of flamingo wading in pools of water below the mountain. Raptors soar in the thermals rising from the hot ground, ostrich and bustard stamp across the plains, and weavers and other colourful smaller birds are found in the grounds of the tourist lodges.
There are several tourist class lodges and permanent camps within the park. There are also campsites which are generally used by Kenya residents.