Probably second only to the Maasai Mara in popularity, Amboseli is a fairly small park known for its vast elephant herds. They’re often photographed with nearby Mount Kilimanjaro as a backdrop. Only 200 km from Nairobi, Amboseli combines well with a number of other game parks for an outstanding Kenyan safari experience.
Amboseli National Park is on the Tanzanian border, just north-west of Mount Kilimanjaro (or Kili as it’s known to locals), and provides the most iconic and majestic views of the world’s highest free-standing mountain. It’s probably one of the most photographed wildlife areas in the world. You’ll see it typically showing huge herds of game pictured in front of the backdrop of snow-capped Kili.
1. Where is Amboseli National Park?
Amboseli National Park is located in Loitoktok District, Rift Valley Province of Kenya. Amboseli lies immediately north-west of Mount Kilimanjaro, on the border with Tanzania. The Park covers 392 square km, and forms part of the much larger 3,000 square km Amboseli ecosystem.
Amboseli lies immediately north-west of Mount Kilimanjaro, on the border with Tanzania. The Park covers 392 square km, and forms part of the much larger 3,000 square km Amboseli ecosystem.
Because of its location, visiting Amboseli National Park can be combined with a safari in other excellent game reserves in Kenya: Tsavo West, Tsavo East National Parks, and Masai Mara Game Reserve. Tsavo West and Tsavo East are nearby (2h and 4h respectively by car). Masai Mara Game Reserve is also at 4 h drive away from Amboseli.
2. How to Get to Amboseli National Park
Most visitors fly into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO), which is a large transport hub in this part of Africa.
Most often the transfer from the airport to the park is included in the safari cost, but make sure to check with your safari operator for details.
The short distance between the airport and the park makes it a good option for a self-drive safari. Especially if you want to combine it with a road trip to the near-by Tsavo East or Tsavo West, which can be reached by car from Amboseli in about 4 hours.
3. Wildlife in Amboseli National Park
Amboseli’s specialty is its elephants. Big herds roam the dusty plains in the morning and evening. During the day the elephants mostly spend their time partially submerged, foraging in Ol Okenya swamp. Having been protected from poaching for a long time, the Amboseli elephants carry particularly impressive ivory and are very relaxed around cars.
Best Time for Wildlife Viewing
Amboseli can be visited throughout the year, but the most rewarding wildlife watching is in the Dry season, from June to October, when animals gather around the marshes and other predictable water sources. When dry, animals crossing the sandy plains tend to kick up a lot of dust, offering some great photo opportunities when the light is low.
4. Birds in Amboseli National Park
Amboseli is also rich in Bird-life and it’s a good destination for viewing, filming and watching bird-life as it habits over 400 bird species recorded in the land compared to other parks. One of the most easily spotted birds in the park is the Marabou stork. This is often referred to as the undertaker Bird for its appearance from behind.
Amboseli national park also habits a number of other bird species which include the globally known Kingfishers and Falcon, Madagascar pond, Heron, Lesser kestrel and the other common locally known species such as the African jacana, Goliath heron, Grey crowned crane, Hartlaub’s bustard, Rufous chatterer, Chestnut sparrow, Rufous-napped lark, the African fish Eagle, Pied kingfisher, Falcon, Double-banded courser, white browed coucal, Fischer’s sparrow lark, Mosque swallow, the vulnerable Lesser kestrel, Falcon naumanni which uses the park during its migration period, the steel-blue whydah, the spike-heeled lark among many other bird species.
5. Climate at Amboseli National Park
Here are some average weather facts in Amboseli National Park:
- During the month of April, May, June, July, August and September you are most likely to experience good weather with pleasant average temperatures that fall between 20 degrees Celsius (68°F) and 25 degrees Celsius (77°F).
- On average, the warmest month(s) are January, February and December.
- The months of February, March, November and December have a high chance of precipitation.
- The warmest month is January with an average maximum temperature of 29°C (84°F).
- The coldest month is September with an average maximum temperature of 20°C (68°F).
- April is the most wet month. This month should be avoided if you are not a big fan of rain.
- July is the driest month.
6. Amboseli National Park Entrance Fee
The park fees to visit Amboseli National Park are:
- Adults non-resident 60 USD per day
- Children non-resident 35 USD per day
The fees are subject to change. Please note that the park fees are likely included in the safari cost but do make sure to check with your safari operator.
7. Things to do in Amboseli National Park
There are plenty of activities that you can indulge in while at this prestigious national park as listed below.
- Wildlife Viewing: The landscape of the Amboseli National Park offers the most scenic views of wildlife. The Amboseli is like a gigantic bowl of vast vegetation cover and numerous swamps that harbor wild animals of disparate species from the Big Five to unique birds such as, peacocks and spotty zebras.
- A cultural visit to the local villages: The local communities living around the Amboseli national park are a unique ethnic group in East Africa. The Maasai community is known for its traditional culture that has not been affected by modernization of the African continent. They lead a tribal way of life, which is worth exploring especially their traditional dances and clothing.
- Go on an epic Game Drive: Going on a game drive in the Amboseli is more than just landscape viewing and encountering animals. The Amboseli is a unique formation of nature that is most dry and covered by dust from recurrent winds, which create a “dust devil” phenomenon. This happens from time to time depending on the changes in atmospheric pressure to build a mini-twister like impression in the air.
- Nature photography: The Amboseli National Park is probably Africa’s irrefutable background of scenic brilliance. The beautiful scene of the ice-capped Mount Kilimanjaro; which is the highest mountain in the African continent- provides the perfect backdrop for nature photography.
Make sure you carry a standard camera and back up storage cards to capture the beauty of nature and carry those moments with you! The Amboseli is absolutely the embodiment of the African jungle which can be compared to the prairies of the Americas.
8. What is the Best time to visit Amboseli National Park!
The best time to visit Amboseli National park is fromJuly to October where the wildlife in Amboseli National Park congregate around very few watering holes during the dry season and disperse when the rains increase the availability of water throughout the park.
The average temperatures in the park are moderate throughout the year. Little to no rainfall occurs during the dry season from July to October, this is the best time to consider travelling to Amboseli Park. Dry season is peak tourist season, as the wildebeest migration in Masai Mara brings visitors from around the world, many of those combine the trip with a stay in the Amboseli Park.
9. Accommodations in Amboseli National Park
If you are looking for Amboseli National Park holiday accommodation,
SafariNow has a selection of Tented Camp, Safari, Guest House holiday accommodation in Amboseli National Park and surrounds. Here are some of the best accommodations in the NP
- Amboseli Eco Camp
- Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge.
- Satao Elerai Amboseli
- Kibo Safari Camp
- Ol Tukai Lodge Amboseli
- Kimana Amboseli Cultural Camping
- Teen Ranch Kenya
- Tawi Lodge
It’s easy to book the perfect holiday accommodation for your Amboseli National Park visit via major platforms like Agoda.com.
10. Safety and Security in Amboseli Park
Crime issues are not a problem in any of the developed parks and reserves in Kenya. Amboseli is no exception, and in our opinion, is a very safe destination for visitors. However, if you are traveling independently around Kenya, you should exercise caution in cities and towns between parks. More information is in ‘Cities & Urban Areas: Safety Precautions’ below.
Malaria and Vaccinations Safety
Before a trip to Kenya, seek advice about required vaccinations from your doctor. Malaria is a concern, especially at the heights of the rainy seasons – from April to May and October to November. It is advisable to bring antimalarials, and to take other preventative measures such as covering up in the evening, and applying mosquito repellent (those containing DEET are most effective). Spraying the room every evening before bedtime is a good idea if you aren’t sleeping under a mosquito net.
Wildlife Viewing Safety
When watching wildlife, it is important to behave sensibly and listen to the instructions given by your guide at all times. Remember that the animals are wild, so their behavior is unpredictable and possibly dangerous. Incidents are very rare though, so there is no reason to be paranoid.
Conclusion Summary on Amboseli National Park
Although Amboseli can be visited at any time of year it is recommended to go in the dry months, which are from June to October and January to February.
Views of Kilimanjaro are hit-and-miss, but chances are best early morning and late afternoon in the Wet season months from November to May, when the sky is clear of dust.