Amboseli National Park Safari Plus Mt Kilimanjaro

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.

Mt Kilimanjaro seen at the gate to Amboseli National Park.

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.

Amboseli National Park elephants
The Amboseli National Park elephants.
Baby Elephant Amboseli
Baby elephant under protection of the herd.
Adolescent Elephant
Adolescent elephant at Amboseli National Park.

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.

Amboseli National Park Elephant Dust Bath
Elephants also enjoy a good dust bath to supplement their recent mud bath.
Twisted Elephant Trunk
The elephant’s twisting trunk makes the picture look surreal.
Twisted Trunk
This herd of elephants is what is known as a matriarch herd because they are breeding elephants.

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. 

Hippopotamus Amboseli national park
These 3 hippos appear to be in search of cooler water.
Hungry Hippopotamus
This hippo is getting ready to bite the other one on the rump.

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.

Grey Crowned Crane
The grey crowned crane is a very photogenic bird.

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.

Mt Kilimanjaro Amboseli National Park
Sunrise photo as we are leaving the lodge. A large bull elephant posed for photos and the classic “snows of Kilimanjaro” are seen in the background.

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.

Mt Kilimanjaro elephant
I was lucky to get this sunrise photo of the elephant and Mt Kilimanjaro in the background.