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Introduction - Road - Park & Map - Places/Things to see - Pictures - Park fact - Wildlife - Fees - Climate - Camping - Lodges

Very near from the capital city Nairobi, Amboseli National Park is the third most visited wildlife park in Kenya after Maasai Mara National Reserve and Nakuru National Park. The visit can easily be done in a weekend.

In 1883, Joseph Thompson was the first European to penetrate the dreaded Maasai country known as Embosel (meaning dust in Maa) and he was astonished by the fantastic contrast between the arid areas of the dry-lake bed and the oasis like swamps -
Read "Through Maasai land".

Gazetted National Park in 1977 in order to protect this unique ecosystem, the park is famous for being the best place in Kenya to spot elephants. Furthermore, it is a must to photograph the majestic Mt KilimanjaroN (5,985 m - 17,685 ft), the greatest single moutain of the world standing amidst large herds of elephantsN wandering in the swampsN.
How to get there :
From Nairobi, take Mombasa road up to the Athi river junction then take the A104 road going South to Namanga town (Tanzanian border). Just before the custom offices, take the small road on your left going up to the main gate (Meshanani gate - the only place where you can reload your Smartcard). The tarmac road is very good and the reparation of the non-tarmac portion is in progress.
Distance Nairobi-Namanga (A104) : 162 km (tarmac road) & Distance Namanga-Gate : 76 km (non tarmac).
From Nairobi, take Mombasa road upto Emali. Then take direction Kimana. Kimana gate is located at the East part of the park.
Distance Nairobi-Emali (A109) : 125 km & Distance Emali-Erimito gate (C102) : 96 km.

The salted lake of Amboseli, most of the time dry, is a large area of dusty desert. Once you crossed this arid dry-lake bed, beautiful green swampsN, hidden nature's treasures irrigated by ground water coming from the largest single mountain of the world, Mt KilimanjaroN, offer an amazing ecosystem, a reminder of paradise and freshness.

The main attraction is the view of elephantsN grazing in front of the majestic mountain - only visible early in the morning or late afternoon.

The Amboseli ecosystem suffers a lot from its growing salinity but also from the large numbers of cars/buses driving off-track or forgetting park's basic rulesi, killing the little vegetation remaining. So keep the track and no off-road.

Most lodges are situated in the center swamp Ol Tukai and one public campsite is located at the South border of the park near the Observatory HillN.
 AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK      Flash (full size) --- GIF (full Size)
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buffalo at amboseli
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 WILDLIFE IN THE PARK :  Amboseli National Park is one of the best places to see elephants in Kenya with Maasai Mara National Reserve and Samburu National Park. In addition to the elephants, you are sure to see the zebra, gnu, hippopotamus, buffalo, spotted hyena, waterbuck, maasai giraffe, Thomson's and Grant's gazelle, impala, lion and cheetah. Note also the rare presence of the gerenuk and the fringed-eared oryx in the arid northern part of the park. Most mammals stay aroung the swamps during the day and move towards the hilly countryside (southern section) before night. The birdlife is also abundant as about 420 species of birds have been recorded in the park ! - See full list of wildlife seen in the park - Print a checklist for your next safari !!

kilimanjaro at amboseli
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 KILIMANJARO BEST SPOT :  It is a must to get some pictures of elephants grazing fresh grass from the swamps in front of the mount Kilimanjaro. To do so, you will need to wake up early (not later than 7 am) as the Kilimanjaro is becoming a mass of clouds after 10 am (even if the sky is blue and unclouded). Then, go around the main Ol Tukai and Olokenya swamps as elephants are coming down from the moutain to feed in the swampy areas. Stop your car, drink your hot coffee and photograph to the sound of pulled out grass !

hill at amboseli
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 OBSERVATORY HILL :  Located at the southern part of the park (a few kilometers after the airstrip, near the "Sinuet" causeway), this small hill was used in the past by K.W.S. Rangers to fight poachers offers an impressive 360° panoramic view over the park and the moutains surrounding the park : the Ol Doinyo Orok (2'717 m - 8'151 ft) near Namanga, the Mt Longido (2'629 - 7'887 ft) and the Mt Meru (4'565 m - 13'695 ft) both in Tanzania. The only place where you are allowed to go out of your vehicle and have a short and pleasant walk.
At the top of the hill, you'll easily catch the contrast of vegetation, locate wildlife and swampy areas.

lake at amboseli
 LAKE AMBOSELI :  This flat and dry area was 10'000 years ago a large and permanent lake of 40 meters deep. Since, the whole lake dried up and is today a small seasonal lake existing only after heavy and prolonged rains. Most of the dry-lake bed is covered by alkaline white ashes, remains of the eruption of the Kili a few thousands of years ago. Ashes are responsible of the constant dust in the park, the growing salinity of the soil and the destruction of woodlands ! When leaving the park, the Kitirua road towards Namanga is a good alternative as the road is smooth, not dusty and it crosses the dried lake in Maasai land.

zebra at amboseli
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 ENKONGO NAROK / OL TUKAI / OLOKENYA SWAMPS :  Swamps are oasis in a arid and dry surroundings and are the finest areas of the park, as they offer a wide variety of habitats for mammals and birds (e.g. large pools for hippopotamus, elephants and buffalos and small pools for antelopes, zebras, waterbuck and gnus) and many fresh grasses and aquatic plants. The presence of swamps is due to the streams running down from the Mt Kilimanjaro towards Amboseli plains. All streams are underground; there are no permanent rivers around the park

.  PICTURES GALLERY - DIAPORAMA.        See snapshots for Amboseli       SEARCH: in
Big Game (28 pic.)
Buffalo (5) - Elephant (21)
Hippopotamus (2)
Landscape (27 pic.)
Kilimanjaro (16) - Observatory Hill (9)
Swamps (6) - Other Views (2)
Other pictures (18 pic.)
Zebra (7) - Hyena (3) - Warthog (1)
Gnu (4) - Maasai (2)
Bird (1)
Elephant at Amboseli Kilimanjaro view at Amboseli Zebra at Amboseli

 Altitude : 1,100 - 1,210 m (3,300 - 3,630 ft)
 Area : 392 km2
 Localisation : South of Kenya at the Kenyan/Tanzanian border (District of Kajiado)
 Distance : 238 km from Nairobi
 Entrances : park has one main gate (Meshanani/Namanga gate), three secondary gates (Ol Kelunyiet, Erimito and Kitirua gates) and one airstrip.
 Historic : Opened in April 1948 and gazetted national park in 1974, Amboseli is the oldest national park of Kenya.
 Habitats : 5 different habitats (open plains, yellow-barked acacia forests, thorn-bushlands, swamps and marshlands).
 The Warden : Senior Warden, Amboseli National Park, P.O. Box 18 Namanga - Kenya.
Tel: +254 (0)456-22251, Fax: +254 (0)456-22250, E-mail:amboseli.nga@africaonline.co.ke
 Attractions :
   o Splendid views of the mount Kilimanjaro & mount Meru.
   o Maasaï Cultural conservation (projects, Kiminani).
   o Large herds of elephants, black rhinoceros and birds viewing (up to 428 bird species).
   o Springs, swamps and wells soaked all the year round.

 WILDLIFE/VEGETATION  --> Just click on the name to see snapshots and a fact sheet of the animal...
!! Print a checklist for your next safari !!
Antelopes and gazelles (per alphabetic order) :
Bushbuck - Dik-dik (Kirk's) - Duiker (Abbot’s) - Duiker (Common) - Duiker (Harvey’s) - Eland - Gazelle (Grant’s) - Gazelle (Thomson's) - Gerenuk - Gnu (White-bearded) - Hartebeest (Coke's) - Impala - Klipspringer - Kudu (lesser) - Oryx (Fringe-eared) - Reedbuck (Bohor) - Steinbok - Waterbuck (Common) -
Other ungulates and mammals :
Buffalo (Cape) - Elephant (African Bush) - Giraffe (Maasai) - Hippopotamus - Hyrax (Bruce’s) - Hyrax (Eastern Tree) - Hyrax (Rock) - Hyrax (Southern Tree) - Rhinoceros (Black) - Warthog (Common) - Zebra (Common) -
Carnivores :
Aardwolf - Caracal - Cat (African Wild) - Cheetah - Civet (African) - Dog (Hunting) - Fox (Bat-eared) - Genet (Large-spotted) - Genet (Small-spotted) - Hyena (Spotted) - Jackal (Black-backed) - Jackal (Common) - Jackal (Side-striped) - Leopard - Lion - Mongoose (Banded) - Mongoose (Dwarf) - Mongoose (Grey) - Mongoose (Marsh) - Mongoose (Slender) - Mongoose (White-tailed) - Ratel - Serval - Zorilla -
Primates :
Baboon (Savannah) - Bushbaby (Lesser) - Monkey (Blue/Sykes/Diademed) - Monkey (Green Vervet) -
Others (rabbits, hares, insectivores) :
Aardvak - Hare (Cape) - Hare (Spring) - Porcupine (Crested) -
Vegetation :
The national park is caracterised by a gradient of vegetation from bare and dry main lake in the north-western part to Acacia woodland (Acacia xanthophloea and Acacia tortillis) in the south-eastern part. Underground water from the Kilimanjaro upwells big swamps and marshes, rich in cyprus and cyprus papyrus, which provide water and forage for wildlife during dry seasons. The main vegetation of the plain is elephant grass, high tuff of whitish-yellow grass sometimes as high as elephants. Trees are absent in the plain as they suffer from the growing salinity of the soil and dry-up. Once dried, most of them are destroyed by elephants. Some preserved tree-areas have been fenced to protect the few woodlands remaining. Trees are mainly palmtrees and acacia trees. The greenest part of the park in the southern and south-western section (near the Iimbireshari hill) as the area is hilly and the vegetation is composed of scattered green bushes and dry grasses.

Smartcard is needed to enter. K.W.S. control within the park.

Source : K.W.S. park tariffs
Adult resident - 500 Kshs
Children resident - 200 Kshs
Adult non resident - 30 US
Children non resident - 10 US

Less than 6 seat - 200 Kshs
6 to 12 seats - 500 Kshs

Olgulului Public Campsite and Nairushari Campsite :  There are two campsites in Amboseli National Park. They are both located in a non-dusty area in the southern part of the park where vegetation is composed of green bushes and dry grasses. They are near the Nairushari and Iimbireshari hills, last slopes/hills of the Kilimanjaro (few kilometers south the Observatory Hill). One is a public campsite managed by K.W.S. and the other one is managed by the Maasai community.
Lastly, there has been a real commitment by K.W.S to open and run bandas and special campsites in order to provide medium budget accommodation to attracts foreign as well as local visitors wanting to experience a closeness to the wild away from the beaten track. Bandas are welcome and popular, therefore booking in advance is a must.

Warden's guest house comprises one self-catering guest house with three bedrooms (one with a double bed and the others with 2 single beds. Bed linen, towels, kitchen ustensils and gas cooker are provided
Maximum capacity is 6 persons.
Low (January - June) and high season (July - December) prices are identical :
Ksh 900 per person for residents & Ksh 1,300 for non residents.

Reservation through the warden (see park facts) or at Nairobi K.W.S. Headquarter.
For more information (current prices and contact), consult the K.W.S. website


 LODGES, TENTED CAMPS & HOTELS (in/around the park) Report broken link - Keep me up-to-date
Amboseli Serena Lodge :  Booking/Contact - Visit their webpage
Serena Hotels, 4th Ngong Avenue, P.O. Box 48690, Nairobi. Tel:(254-20)2710511.
"In the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro stands Amboseli Serena - one of Africa's finest safari lodges at Amboseli."

Ol Tukai Lodge :  Booking/Contact - Visit their webpage
Block Hotels, Lusaka Road, P.O. Box 40075, Nairobi. Tel:(254-20)5540780 or 5535412.
"Ol Tukai Lodge was opened in June 1996 and lies at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro and is probably the best wildlife arenas to view elephants at close range."

Tortillis Camp :  Booking/Contact - Visit the most pertinent webpage
Tortillis Camp, Private Bag 39806, Nairobi. Tel:(254-20)4604053/54
"Seductively embraced by a romantic hillside setting, Tortillis Camp lies on the edge of Amboseli National Park."

New Amboseli Lodge :  
We are still searching for contact, website and email. Sorry !!
"New Amboseli Lodge offers a spectacular view of Mount Kilimanjaro and set amongst lush tropical gardens and a veritable oasis."

Amboseli Sopa Lodge :  (previously called Kilimanjaro Buffalo Lodge) Booking/Contact
P.O. Box 72630 Nairobi. Tel:(254-20)3750183 or 3750235.
"Located near Kimana Gate (25 mn), Sopa Lodge provides a reserve for the Maisha trust - organisation for conservation and sustainable management of environment and wildlife."

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