Amboseli National Park
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Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is 392 square kilometers (151 square miles) in size at the core of an 8,000 square kilometres (3,100 square miles) ecosystem that spreads across the Kenya-Tanzania border. The local people are mainly Masai, but people from other parts of the country have settled there attracted by the successful tourist-driven economy and intensive agriculture along the system of swamps that makes this low-rainfall area (average 350 mm) one of the best wildlife-viewing experiences in the Kenya. Amboseli National Park is the third most visited game area in Kenya after Masai Mara National Reserve and Lake Nakuru National.
Amboseli is renowned for its large herds of elephants which include some impressively tusked bulls hence famous world researchers on elephant are based here. But the most impressive giant of all is Mt Kilimanjaro. Africa’s largest mountain lies just over the border in Tanzania, but the most impressive views of its snow-capped peak are to be found in Amboseli. The early light of dawn turns the mountain a dark hue of purple, and its snows into an ethereal pink. The sight of Kilimanjaro high above herds of elephant crossing the plains of Amboseli is a timeless African image.
This park is home to more than just Elephants, and herds of wildebeest, zebra and impala graze on the open plains. There are areas of acacia forest that make for good birding, and are home to many small mammals. Cheetahs are also often sighted here. The park is centred around a large hill, with fantastic views of the surrounding plains, often crossed by whirlwinds that send winding columns of dust into the sky. This open country is good walking territory, and we can organise game walks or trips to spend time in a local Masai village.
Amboseli was set aside as the ‘Southern Reserve’ for Maasai in 1906 but returned to local control as a Game Reserve in 1948. Gazetted as a National Park in 1974 in order to protect this unique ecosystem, it was declared a UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve in 1991. The Park is run by the Kenya Wildlife Services with participation of the local community, the Maasai tribe. There is an airstrip, the Amboseli Airport. This seasonal swamp of 3,810 sq. km, is one of the finest areas in the country for big game photography, attracting a vast population of wildlife.