Tourist attractions in Amboseli National Park
Tourist attractions in Amboseli National Park: Amboseli national park is a premier Kenya wildlife safari destination often referred to as the land giants because of the huge herds of elephants with big tusks, Amboseli national park is endowed with the magnificent back drop of the snowcapped of Mountain Kilimanjaro the tallest free standing mountain on the African continent standing at the altitude of 5895 meters above the sea level. Amboseli National Park is located in the Loitoktok district in the rift valley region of Kenya, the park is situated about 240 kilometers south of Nairobi the capital city of Kenya.
As very rewarding destination for Kenya tours, Amboseli national park is gifted with a variety of tourist attractions and this safari article highlights the attractions in the park.
Amboseli national park is one of the most fascinating destinations for Kenya wildlife tours offering excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, the park is a home to a variety of wildlife species and famously known for its large herds of elephants with big tusks roaming around in the dusty plains of the park. Big tusks elephants are the most notable animals in Amboseli national park and they have been noticed to spend most their time (morning and evening) in the Ol Kenya Swamp which is partially submerged. These elephants are also seen in the Ol Tukai situated in the heart of Amboseli national park, the Ol Tukai is characterized of woodland yellow fever and doum palm tree and its name Ol Tukai is a Swahili slag meaning “a cool retreat for elephants”
Apart from the beautiful herds of elephants, Amboseli national park is a home to other amazing African safari gems such as cape buffaloes, lions, cheetahs, leopards, spotted hyenas, masai giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, grant’s and Thomson’s gazelle, impalas, hippos and many more.
Amboseli national park is a notable excellent destination for Kenya birding watching safaris hosting more than 400 bird species recorded to be living in the park’s savannah plains and forest galleries, birds in Amboseli national park are categorized depending on their habitat. The swamps around lakes inhabit water-associated birds such as egrets, herons, pelicans, crowned cranes and large concentration of flamingoes, the flamingoes in Amboseli national park are present in the wet seasons that is in the periods of march – May and October –December. The grassland areas of Amboseli national park inhabit and are best sites for watching ground birds such as hartlaub’s bustard, localized pangani and many more. The acacia woodlands of Amboseli national park inhabit some of the dry country specials such as steel- blue whydah, white-bellied go-away bird, von der decken’s hornbill and many more.
Other birds in Amboseli national park include African jacanas, African swamp hens, goliath herons, grey crane cranes, Eurasia thick knees, long toed lapwings, pagani longclaws, rufous chatterers, rufous bellied herons, spike heeled larks, steel blue whydahs, taveta golden weavers, von der Decken’s horn bills, yellow necked spurfowls and many more.
As an excellent destination for Kenya birding tours, Amboseli national park consists of various sites excellent bird watching opportunities. These sites include the shores of Kioko Lake, the Simek Lake, the conch lake, Amboseli Lake which are best for sighting water birds. Other sites include acacia woodlands, grasslands area and many more.
Amboseli national park comprises of a chain of seasonal lakes situated in the western region of the park, these lakes occupy the region of the drained basin of an ancient lake of the Pleistocene and the lakes usually get filled during the rainy season. These lakes are many and the main ones include
- Kioko lake
- Simek lake
- Conch lake
- Amboseli lake
Amboseli national park is the major lake among these lakes as it is the lake from which the park gets its name, Amboseli Lake is situated in the western region of the park
These lakes’ shores feature swamps with thick papyrus thus being resident for aquatic bird species in Amboseli national park, lakes in Amboseli national park are the best sites for bird watching most especially water birds and for wildlife viewing as animals frequent the lakes to drink water.
Amboseli national park features a chain of marshes and swamps which are important source of water feeding the park and its animals, these marshes are mainly found in the central part of Amobseli national and they feature intense and bright green color thus standing out in the arid and dusty plains of the park. Marshes in Amboseli national park include
- Enkongo or Ngong Narok Narok
- Engone Naibor
- Ol Tukai
- Ologinya/Ol Okenya
Marshes in Amboseli national park are feed by spring water coming from the melting snow of Mountain Kilimanjaro, the spring water penetrate the volcanic soils down into the valley and resurfaces in the marshes of the park. Marshes and swamps are the only permanent water sources in the park and they attract a lot of animals as they come to drink water, marshes and swamps are prefect spots in Amboseli national park for spotting animals like hippos, elephants and many birds such as herons, black-winged stilts, kingfishers, egrets, white pelicans and many more.
The observation hill in Amboseli national park is another attraction every tourist should lookout for while on a Kenya wildlife tour, the observation hill is a pyramid-shaped hill situated in the western region of Amboseli national park. Previously this hill was inhabited by Ndorobo the hunters and gatherers people and up to date some traces are still visible, because of this the area was named a nomatior by the Masai meaning “the place of pottery”. The observation hill is said to have been formed during the formation of Mountain Kilimanjaro and it resulted from the activity of Pleistocene.
The observation hill features a stair case curved from the volcanic rocks which are used by the tourists to reach the summit of the hill referred to as the observation point, the observation hill in Amboseli national park is the only place where tourists of a Kenya game viewing safari in the park are allowed tio get out of their safari vehicles and have a walk. From the observation point of the hill, you get 360 degrees of Amboseli’s swamps, marshes, savannah plains and many animals.
Elephant research camp
The elephant research camp in Amboseli national park focuses on carrying more research about the elephants in the park and these elephants are listed among the most studied elephants in the world, the research about elephants in Amboseli national park is spearheaded by Dr. Cynthia Moss whose works is depicted in books like The Amboseli Elephants and Elephant Memories. Dr. Cynthia Moss is also behind the famous documentary DVD in the names of the Echo of the elephants
The elephant research camp is situated in the heart of Amboseli national park operating under the guidance of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, this camp is not open for casual visits from tourists on a safari. The elephant research camp is visited on an arranged one hour lecture, in this lecture researchers explain their work and other related issues concerning elephant conservation.
Amboseli national park is gifted with scenic backdrop of the snowcapped summit of Mountain Kilimanjaro, mountain Kilimanjaro is the tallest free standing mountain in Africa standing at the altitude of 5,895 meters above the sea level. This mountain features a snowcapped summit dominating the landscape and very much visible from Amboseli national park, the snowcapped summit of mountain Kilimanjaro creates a very magnificent scenic view ideal for photography.
If you are considering to visit Africa for a safari particularly Kenya, Amboseli national park should be on top of your bucket list because it a very rewarding Kenya safari destination.