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The Amboseli National Park
The Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya is a land of endless skies and sweeping horizons; processions of mighty elephant herds crossing a landscape of grassy plains and geography of volcanic earth punctuated with swampy springs and in the distance the skyline is dominated by the iconic vision of snow capped Mount Kilimanjaro.
The dust that blows around the park is in fact ancient volcanic ash whose salt crystals shimmer when fully exposed in the heat of the dry season. Fortunately the park has a plentiful underground water supply that originates from the ice capped mountain and filters through thousands of feet of volcanic rock before appearing as two clear natural springs in the very heart of the Amboseli.
Game reserves are not immune to climatic changes and Amboseli was subjected to a season of unrelenting rains in the early 1990s that turned land to a swamp that just a few years later became a dust bowl when rains failed completely.
Amboseli National Park is one of Kenya’s smaller game parks but nevertheless can offer a superb game viewing experience and it is well known for its huge herds of habituated elephants that take advantage of the surface water created by the springs. There are plentiful numbers of plains game such as buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe, impala, gazelle, warthog and zebra. In complete contrast to the peaceful grazing herbivores the park is also home to a full compliment of hunters – lion, cheetah and leopard. Tragically rhino have disappeared completely from the park due to poaching.
On the expansive plains, the combination of low lying grass and volcanic ash creates a flat landscape that highlights the wildlife into centre stage and reveals the interaction between predator and prey.
The period July through to October, the warm dry season, is a great time to visit Amboseli as the wildlife becomes concentrated around the available water sources and is therefore ideal for game viewing activities. This season is followed by the short rains during November and December and a hot humid period between January and March before the rainy season brings the year full circle.
The ranch areas belonging to the local Masaai people surround Amboseli National Park and visits can easily be arranged to go to local villages. The safari operators work in partnership with local communities to ensure benefits for all concerned. By supporting community projects, education and by training and employing local Masaai as camp staff and guides visitors can experience the full authentic passion and pride the people have for their land.
The park is a popular choice for a safari in Kenya as it enjoys easy access to Nairobi by short scheduled light aircraft flight and has a range of excellent luxury safari accommodation. The properties for visitors to Amboseli National Park are situated both inside and on the borders of the park and range from small intimate semi permanent camps, small lodges with cottage style accommodation to larger lodges. The common link throughout is that they are all comfortably furnished, built to encapsulate the best of the natural surroundings, with wonderful cuisine, friendly staff and facilitate excellent game viewing opportunities.