Amboseli National Park is situated on the border with Tanzania and is located in SE Kenya. The most notable aspects of the Amboseli National Park safari are its large population of free roaming elephants and also the iconic views of Mt Kilimanjaro.
Unfortunately, Mt Kilimanjaro actually lies on the Tanzanian side of the border. However, at 5895 meters (above sea level) it is the tallest mountain in Africa and is a very prominent feature on the horizon.
Mt Kilimanjaro is of volcanic origin although it is currently dormant and the last eruption occurred over a million years ago.
Amboseli means “salty dust” in the local Maasai dialect. The landscape is indeed very dry and scrubby. However, the park also features 2 large swamps which offer a year round water source for wildlife in the park. This is a huge benefit for photographers because it makes the animals easy to locate.
Amboseli National Park safari features a wide diversity of animals such as elephants, African buffalo, hippopotamus, hyena, baboons and over 400 species of bird. The swamps are a good place to find the elephants and we set out at first light to locate them for some photographs.
Amboseli National Park Elephants
Fortunately, we were able to find the elephants straight away. They had been bathing in the swamps and the mineral content of the mud gave them a ghost like appearance.
The white elephants of Amboseli had just emerged from a bath. However, the objective of an elephant bath is to actually get dirty rather than clean. This helps the elephant stay free of parasites which can attach themselves if the elephant’s skin is unprotected.
Additional Safari Animals
Other fascinating animal species at Amboseli include the hippopotamus. Due to their heavy weight load the hippos are not able to travel very far so they need a permanent water source. Hippos spend most days completely submerged and usually only enter dry land at night to forage for food.
The grey crowned crane is a species of bird found frequently in sub Saharan Africa. It is the national bird of neighboring Uganda and it is also featured on the Uganda national flag. Although the grey crowned crane has recently been listed as an endangered species, it is commonly sighted in Kenya at Amboseli National Park.
Elephant Sunrise at Amboseli National Park
On the last day we left the lodge at sunrise and were able to get some iconic photos of a massive elephant standing in front of Mt Kilimanjaro. It appears that it had snowed on the mountain the night before as the snow had crept much further down the mountain compared to the day of our arrival.
Capturing this iconic photo on the last day of our safari was icing on the cake. We had been on safari for one week at Maasai Mara, Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha and finally Amboseli National Park. The safari parks in Kenya truly are the best in the world and I hope to visit them again in the future.