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Amboseli National Park, Kenya

Apart from Maasai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli National Park is another top destination in Kenya to arrange a safari. Located about 250 kilometers south of Nairobi and close to the border with Tanzania, the park is home to a variety of wildlife and diverse types of vegetation, e.g. savannah grasslands, acacia forest and thorn scrublands. Additionally, interesting features within the park include Lake Amboseli, swamps (OloKenya, OlTukai), Observation Hill and a magnificent view of Mount Kilimanjaro.

The park has been considered the best place in Kenya to spot elephants, which are best seen grazing in the early morning hours or late at night. It is a wonderful sight to see large herds of elephants roaming across the plains. Other wildlife in the park are zebras, impalas, giraffes, buffaloes, leopards and a variety of bird species.

Although Mount Kilimanjaro is located in Tanzania, from the park you can have a clear view of the mountain, this is one of the reasons why domestic and international visitors flock to the park. At dawn, the mountain appears covered with clouds in its cap, however, on a clear day, the mountain peak appears covered in snow in the early morning and late afternoon.

Lake Amboseli is a small lake that dries up during a long drought. the dry lake bed appears to glisten white from the dried salts of the lake water. However, during the rainy season the lake basin fills with water and the lake reappears. Groundwater flowing from Mount Kilimanjaro has formed swamps and marshy areas within the park. Hippos make their homes in these swamps while elephants constantly visit to drink and bathe. Papyrus and elephant grass grow in the marshes and provide food for herbivores.

Amboseli is one of the best national parks to visit in Kenya due to the ease of spotting wildlife, this is enhanced by the fact that the park’s vegetation is sparse due to the long dry spells. From Observation Hill, an elevated point within the park, visitors have good views of the park’s plains, swamps, marshes and herds of elephants.

Accommodation within the park is available at Amboseli Sopa Lodge, Amboseli Serena Lodge, OlTukai Lodge, Tortilis camp, Cheli and Peacock camp and self-catering KWS bands. The bands are designed to cater to the budget tourist by offering reasonable prices. Public campsites include Ol-Kilnyiet, which is located near park headquarters and has running water, showers, toilets and firewood.

Amboseli National Park is accessible via tarmac road using the Nairobi-Namanga route via the Meshanani Gate. However, the stretch from Namanga to the gate is murram and has a few pot holes. A second option is to use the Nairobi-Mombasa road and take a detour at Emali to access the park through Erimito Gate. The park is also accessible by air. Air Kenya and Safarilink provide flights to the park.

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