Where do I even begin, Amboseli National Park, to put it simply, what a special place. I recently returned from hosting a private safari in Amboseli and what a safari it was. Amboseli National Park was formerly known as the Maasai Amboseli Game Reserve, this Reserve in terms of size is not very big and is roughly 400 kilometers squared, but what it does have is incredible diversity, from landscape to wildlife, I don’t think I have ever visited a Reserve with such a high concentration of wildlife in such a small area.
Amboseli is an absolute paradise for any safari goer and is a wildlife photographers dream. It is home not only to an abundance of wildlife, but also 400 different species of birds.
The landscape consists of mainly marsh areas – which was last dry in about 2017, and since then has seen an increase in water levels every year.
One of the main attractions of this Reserve is being able to see Mount Kilimanjaro, it isn’t always easy and we were very fortunate that we got at least a glimpse of the mountain every day. Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano with its last activity occurring about 2.5 million years ago. Kilimanjaro is also the fourth highest mountain in the world coming in at 5,895 metres (19,341 ft) above sea level.
This wasn’t the first time I have seen Kilimanjaro, but I was the first time I got a chance to truly appreciate its beauty.
Considering the size of the park, you would think that a day or two is all you need. Well, you would be thinking wrong. My guests and I spent 5 nights in Amboseli and we could still not get enough of it. Although you are driving similar areas, with such a diverse range of wildlife, everything is constantly changing and the exciting part is that there is ALWAYS something to see. We often spent our afternoons around the Marsh areas and did quite a bit of bird photography. Our focus was also to photograph the gentle giants of Amboseli. The afternoons would often have plenty of elephants in and around the marsh areas which provided for some unique and great photographs, We even had an amazing opportunity to photograph a giraffe and a herd of elephants with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background! What a special sight that was.
Just to give you all an idea of how lost in the wildlife you can become, on the day of our arrival, we landed in Amboseli and had about a 20 minute drive to camp, well, 20 minutes quickly became almost 3 hours! The reason for this was, landing in Amboseli you are instantly blown away by the landscape, and on top of that, there are birds and animals literally EVERYWHERE! It is simply impossible to just keep driving and driving, one needs to stop and take it all in. It’s true what they say, ‘’time flies when you having fun’’ well time flies when you on safari, especially when the adrenaline is pumping and there is a constant buzz of wildlife around every corner.
Amboseli is a safari destination that really has something for every safari goer and when it comes to predator viewing, there is no exception. We saw lions every day, one day we saw them on a Wildebeest kill that they had made sometime in the evening. It truly was a great sighting as we had one male, two females and a bunch of cubs all feeding on the carcass. To sit and watch the interaction between the individuals was particularly interesting. The male was clearly dominant over the kill but he allowed youngsters to feed while he fed and then the females once he was done. There was plenty of growling and snapping at one another during feeding which always makes for a great sighting and experience.
On our second last afternoon, we came across a cheetah( which is fairly rare to see in Amboseli) which also had a kill, it had caught a reedbuck. This sighting was also very special. As we sat there, we had the cheetah feeding on the kill, an elephant bull feeding close by as well as a herd of buffalo feeding in the the marsh, but that wasn't all, we were also treated to an incredible sunset and view of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Amboseli is definitely a bucket list destination for any safari goer, whether you have been on safari multiple times or perhaps it’s your first time, it is well worth putting it on your list. I would also recommend staying at least between 3 to 5 nights, this would definitely go a long way to maximizing your experience.
Until next time,