Amboseli National Park history
Amboseli national park history dates back over 1500 years ago. The park which was formally called Maasai Amboseli Game reserve is one of the isolated park located in the Southern part of Kenya in the border of Kenya and Tanzania. Its immediate neighbour is the world’s highest free standing Mountain that is Mt Kilimanjaro. By then game reserve were first inhabited by hunter gatherers that took longer staying in this open area which was not yet gazetted but just a home of both wildlife and humans. Amboseli national park is located in Kajaido constituency in the South. It is among the premium protected areas not only in Kenya but entire East African region. It covers a total land area of only 392 square kilometres making it among the smallest protected areas in Kenya. Its ecosystem spreads across the two countries of Kenya and Tanzania especially around the border area. The park was originally gazetted as a game reserve in 1948 covering the large area of around 3,261 square kilometres when the human settlement in the area was low. The Chagga and the Kamba speaking people were among the first residents at this area. Later the bantu speaking people starting arriving at the theme as they were following the great lakes region and settled around Lake Amboseli. In the 17th century the Maasai people also started coming and joining other tribes as they were looking for fresh water and green pastures for their live stoke. The maasai enter to the park from the Northern side.
In 1883 the protected area received the first European explore called Jeremy Thompson that entered to the feared territory of the Maasai region. The region was feared and nick named as the Empusel which meant the salty dusty place in the Maasai local language Maa. Thompson was on its trip the African largest fresh water lake that is Lake Victoria. Thompson becomes the second European to view Mount Kilimanjaro from the side of Kenya while in Amboseli national park. He was second to the German Missionary called Johann Rebmann who was the first to have a view of Mt Kilimanjaro. Its from Jeremy discoveries of the abundant wildlife in this area that opened the park to the colonial masters by then. The semi-arid area was dominated by the astonished fantastic arrays of wildlife that habited the dry belts of Lake Amboseli. Later in 1906 Maasai Amboseli game reserve was set aside naming it the Southern Reserve for the Maasai people. This was to safe guard the wildlife from the hunters. After some achievements and progress realised at the area, the protected area was declared a game reserve in 1948. After few years, the reserve was upgraded and uplifted as national park in 1974. The main aim of upgrading the reserve was to protect the unique nature and wildlife found at the area. The Kenya wildlife Services took control of the area as one of the national parks in Kenya. Due to over whelming number of wildlife species and nature, the park was decleared as UNESCO site in 1991. To date Amboseli national park remains of the most visited national park in Kenya. In 2005 the Kenyan president by then ordered that the park should be under the control of Olkejuado County Council from the Kenya Wildlife Services. This was to make the park comunial like other counter parts like Masai mara national reserve. This motion did not work as many looked it as political move to solicit votes by the president. They saw great challenges ahead if the park was degazetted and lowered to the status of the game reserve once more where it had passed long time ago.
The Amboseli national park history is such a good background that has lead to the rapid growth of the park. The Amboseli national park history highlights that the reserve had all the five members of the African big 5 when the reserve was cutting across up to Namanga, Mto and Siya to Oloitokitok in Tanzania. It was running up to Oldoinyo Orok Hill where the largest population of Elephants and Rhinos were found. After the world war 11 the rhinos were poached that was one of the reasons why the reserve was elevated to the game park. After the park was elevated to the national park status the size was reduced as some of the land was given to the Maasai locals to settle in with their cows. It was not an easy decision to take but government played their role well as they balanced human rights and wildlife conservation. The Maasai did not want to surrender the water catchment areas at the park for their animals yet this was very vital points of the park for the wildlife to.
Poaching of wildlife led to the fled of some animals like Rhinos which are no longer found at the park till date. The population of lions also was affected since the local Maasai men killed many of them as they were protecting their cattle as well as one way of initiating the young adults in to warrior hoodness according to their culture. However water remains as one of the big challenge that is faced by the local communities around the park especially during the dry season. This makes the locals to sneak in with their cattle in the park as they are looking for water.
In nut shell, Amboseli national park history tresses back in the origin and arrival of the Maasai people in this area. The good historical background of the park opened gateways to the outside world to come and enjoy not only the big game viewing but classic Amboseli national park history.