Photography, camping, game and scenic viewing plus bird watching are all activities that take you down the south of Kenya, to Amboseli. Declared a national reserve in 1968, and a national park in 1974, it earned the UNESCO habitat title in 1991. It was the home to Echo, the most researched elephant in the world. Echo has appeared in books and documentaries. In addition to enjoying over 4 decades of Dr. Cynthia Moss works (an American conservationist). He died in 2009 at 60 years. In 1883, Joseph Thompson was the first European to cross these much feared Maasai territory, called Empusel; meaning ‘salty dusty place in Maa – the origin of the word Amboseli.
Amboseli, known for its close range free roaming elephant herds, gives you the best scenic experience of the great savanna wilderness. What of Mt. Kilimanjaro towering in the horizon? The highest free-standing mountain, in the world serves the most tantalizing view from the wild. With its snow-capped peaks covered by the clouds, the astounding mountatin is just majestic. Not to forget the flat-topped acacia trees that give food to the graceful giraffes. For that African feel, you can visit their villages as well.
Spreading across the Kenyan-Tanzanian border, Amboseli National Park is located in the Rift Valley, about 160 miles (260km) from Nairobi. It is right at the foot of Kilimanjaro, with seasons shifting from floods to droughts. The topography covers open plains, rocky thorn bushes, acacia woodland, swamps and marshy lands; a part of the dry Pleistocene lake basin. The seasons shifting from drought to floods – July to October and January to February are the best visiting seasons as there is little or no rain whatsoever. From April to May, and November to December it is rainy. This location also experiences high evaporation resulting in massive drought, while the rains bring newness and restoration of life.
Melting Kilimanjaro ice caps provide for unlimited underground fresh water supply, filtered through volcanic rocks, over thousands of feet. The water funnels clear water to springs feeding the dotting swamps and wetlands in the park. Upon visiting the park, Observation Hill is a must locate. This is for those stunning sunsets over sundowner, for the photography lover and to appreciate the mesmerizing views.
Trumpeting elephants beckon you to the wilderness and beyond. Predators like the lion, cheetah, and leopard keep you enchanted as they stalk their pray right before your eyes. Restless impala and wildebeest herds alert you of the hunting escapades as the heart-pounding chase raises clouds of dust, running for their dear lives. Such moments are sure to take your breath away as the anticipation of a kill bubbles your adrenaline. Remember to keep shuttering away, this is an experience of a lifetime.
Elands, grants gazelle, zebras, warthogs, waterbucks, coke’s hartebeests, buffalos and other grazing herbivores will keep your camera busy. The elusive hunters and scavengers, from the hyenas, jackals, civets, lions, and cheetahs, to the yellow and dive baboons and the black-face vervet monkeys, this is a wildlife paradise. Bird lovers are spoilt for choice too; with over 425 resident and migratory birds recorded yearly, cranes, starlings, sunbirds, and the secretary birds among others make for the most elegant shots.
The stunning vista at dawn or dusk at Amboseli National Park, with the majestic elephants, wildebeest or zebra herds arising from the slopes is the most picturesque view you will capture for eons. The backdrop of the giant mountain making for an intriguing array of photoshots. This tells the story of the mysterious secrets of the mountains.
You haven’t gone on a safari, without landing at Amboseli National Park; my motherland is breathtaking.