Amboseli National Park is a 392 square kilometre park that is part of a much larger 8000 square kilometre wildlife ecosystem that extends into Kenya. The park is home to the African elephant, cape buffalo, impala, lion, cheetah, hyena, giraffe, zebra, and wildebeest among other African animals. There is also a host of Kenyan birds, both large and small, to see if you keep your eyes open and stop at every sighting.
The park has several rules to protect the wildlife: do not get out of your vehicle, except at designated spots; do not harass the animals in any way; keep to the tracks; no off-road driving; and animals always have the right of way. The roads in Amboseli have a loose surface of volcanic soil that is dusty in the dry season and impassable in the wet season
The sight of photographing largest mammals walking in front of Kilimanjaro is a sight that has drawn many photographers to East Africa. The elephants of Amboseli are some of the most relaxed anywhere having been studied for more than two decades by the researcher Cynthia Moss. They have also been the subjects of two BBC documentaries.
The elephants of Amboseli are some of the most relaxed in Africa, and this is largely thanks to the American scientist Cynthia Moss and her team of elephant researchers, who studied them constantly for more than 25 years and are still doing so today. One particular herd, led by matriarch Echo, has been the subject of several BBC wildlife films including Echo and its sequel The next generation.
Long lines of thirsty elephants walking across a dry, dusty moonscape beneath the imposing form of snow-topped Kilimanjaro have become one of the quintessential images of Africa. It has also made Amboseli, which is the place to see this unforgettable sight, the second-most visited park in Kenya after the Masai Mara.
Like all mountains, Kilimanjaro, is often hidden behind cloud so you need to be lucky and also patient to capture its true glory.
The Mara is a relatively small park that covers about 1300 square kilometres. It takes its name from the Masai word for spotted which might refer to the small islands of tree clumps that cover much of its rolling green plains. It is a beautiful region bisected by various rivers including the Mara, Sand and the Talek and known for its large concentrations of predators especially lion, leopard and cheetah which can be seen remarkably easily thanks to the openness of the terrain.Elephants, buffalo, black rhino, and the distinctive Masai giraffe also occur here along with a diversity of antelope including Thompson’s gazelle, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles, impalas, duikers, Coke’s hartebeest and large herds of zebra.
The Mara is part of the much larger 27 000 square kilometres Serengeti Mara Ecosystem which includes the Serengeti National Park and also communal Masai land bordering the region where Masai herdsmen graze their cattle alongside the herds. Rainfall and the availability of grazing triggers the migration of three million
ungulates across the Serengeti Mara Ecosystem each year. It is undoubtedly one of the great natural wonders of the world and nowhere is it more spectacular than in the Mara, where the animals gather from July to October. At
this time, the vast herds are not only in enormous concentrations, but they are forced
to cross rocky and crocodile-infested rivers. Seeing the animals gathering, massing and
finally diving into the waters was one of the most dramatic wildlife events of my life.
The Mara itself is a national reserve that has large numbers of daily visitors and when visiting the main crossing points it is not uncommon to see 100 other vehicles. Over the past 10 years private concessions have seen the boundaries of the conservation land bordering the park increasing considerably. Many of these private concessions such as Mara North and Olare Orok provide some of the best game viewing in the region and also an exclusivity which is not found in the park. Off road driving, night drives and walks are other privileges which guests can enjoy in the private concessions.
The park has more than 460 species of birds.