Amboseli

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Amboseli

 Amboseli Properties by Star Rating:
 
Amboseli contains a wide variety of East African wildlife. And of course, Amboseli hosts the iconic safari image – elephants roaming the grassland plains with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background, the great mountain looming up out of the southeastern horizon almost 20,000 feet above the plain. Maasai villages and ranches surround the borders of the park (the area was once part of their range), and the Maasai gave Amboseli its name, which means “place of water.”
 
Quick Facts
Amboseli National Park covers 244 square miles – small by East African standards. This salty dusty soil of the region results from Kilimanjaro, once an active volcano. Kilimanjaro is also responsible for the swamps and freshwater marshes in the middle of the park. Melting snow and rain runoff from the mountain travels underground and feeds these springs year round.
 
The Wildlife
 Amboseli is famous for its elephants, which are plentiful and ubiquitous from the plain to the marsh. In fact, there is some evidence that the elephants have become too plentiful at Amboseli. The trees that support them are disappearing, perhaps as a result of over-grazing. The Kenya Wildlife Service, which was charged with eradicating elephant poaching in the 1980s, has now turned its attention to devising ways to protect the habitat of the creatures they protected so well. In addition to the Big Five and scores of other mammals, about 600 different species of bird live here.
 
Significant Mammals  
Impala – Buffalo – Baboon – Leopard – Elephant – Lion – Cheetah – Thomson's Gazelle – Giraffe – Grant's Gazelle – Wildebeest – Hippopotamus – Zebra – Crocodile – Dik-dik – Hyrax
 
Significant Birds   
Hamerkop – Ostrich – Grebe – Pelican – Cormorant & Darter – Heron – Egret & Bittern – Hoebill – Stork – Ibis – Spoonbill – Secretary Bird – Vulture – Kingfisher
 
Game Drives
Early morning game drives begin just before sunrise, when one wakes up to a cup of Kenyan highland coffee. As the sun rises, you are comfortably aboard your safari vehicle, experiencing the reserve and its wildlife. Afternoon game drives begin late after the mid-day heat has relented and end just before darkness falls. You are accompanied by a local Master Guide who is knowledgeable about the flora, fauna, landscape, and Kenyan culture.
 
Bird watching
In Amboseli, bird watching is done during safari walks or game drives accompanied by competent bird guides. Because so much of the reserve is open grassland or bush, the birds are relatively easy to spot.

 
Balloon Safaris
Typically, a balloon safari begins at the break of dawn, and the ride lasts for about an hour, during which you will drift silently over the plains and its wildlife. Your balloon ride is followed by a champagne breakfast "in the bush," with a well-laid meal and waiters on hand for a fitting finale to a memorable flight.
Balloon flights are available daily and launch from designated sites where the disturbance to wildlife is kept to a minimum. Space is limited; plan ahead.
 
Cocktails
The best way to catch the African sunset is with a cocktail in hand!
 
Bush Meals
Drive, walk, or ride to a secluded gathering place in the wild. Enjoy a selection of local dishes as a bonfire warms the chilly evening air and Maasai dancers introduce you to their vibrant culture.
 
Cultural Visits: 
Kenya’s Maasai have a long history with Amboseli and the region. The park was first set aside as a reserve for these striking nomadic herders and their grazing cattle early in the 20th century, and for centuries before that, much of this corner of Kenya was the domain of the Maasai. They have never been cultivators, living instead off the milk, blood, and meat of the cattle that are the foundation of their culture and economy. When the park was set aside as an exclusive, wildlife-only reserve by the Kenya Wildlife Service in the 1970s, the Maasai were moved to large communal ranches on the borders of the park.
Today a percentage of the park’s entrance fees supplements their traditional cattle-based economy. During a cultural visit, you will take a brief peek into the Maasai way of life. A visit to a local school will introduce you to eager students and to pioneer teachers who struggle to bring education to the bush.
 
How to Get There :  
Amboseli is 150 miles (240 km) southeast of Nairobi.
By Road: The drive from Nairobi to Amboseli  takes about four (4) hours.
By Air:  A flight from Nairobi to Amboseli is 45 minutes.