Amboseli means the place of the salty dust in the Maasai language. Amboseli National Park has a range of landscapes, from the savannas and hills to wetlands, sulphur springs, open forests and even a pre-historic lake bed. It has one of the highest concentrations of elephants in Kenya and the region is the traditional homeland of the Maasai people. Crowning it all is the iconic Mt Kilimanjaro, an ever-present backdrop of Amboseli. Volcanic ash spill from Kilimanjaro created the dust terrain seen in Amboseli.
By road it is a 4-5 hour drive on tarmacked road from Nairobi. Take A109 (Nairobi-Mombasa highway), then at Emali town turn onto A103 which leads to the Iremito park gate.
The climate is Amboseli is very pleasant. It is generally warm and dry in the daytime hours and cooler at night. Average temperatures range between 20°C – 28°C. The rainy seasons are room mid-March to June, and November to December.
Best Time to Go
Amboseli National Park is open year-round. The best times to visit the park is in between the rains which is also the most favourable times for viewing wildlife. This would be from December to March and July to October.
What to Do
This is elephant country and one of the best places to view these giants up-close. While on a game drive you can explore the ever-present marshlands that form their own ecosystem of wildlife. After the extended rains the normally dry Lake Amboseli fills up with water and attracts lots of birdlife. All the park roads are murram so a vehicle suitable for off-road driving is recommended.
Observation Hill of Amboseli is a marvellous place for sundowners or a picnic breakfast. It is one of the only places in the park where you can step out of your vehicle. After a short hike to the top of the hill and you have a birds eye-view over plains, marshes and wildlife. Here you get clear sightings of Mt Kilimanjaro (when not covered in clouds) and amazing sunsets. Various safari camps also have their secret spots for sunset viewing over cocktails.
Get some cultural immersion with a visit to a neighbouring Maasai manyatta (homestead). These semi-nomadic and pastoral people have lived and grazed their livestock in this region for centuries. Though some have modernised and embraced different livelihoods, others maintain their cultural dress and ways of life.
Places to Stay
Have a look at Nomad’s list of recommended places to stay.