Guide to visiting Amboseli national park – Popularly known as the “Land of Giants”, due to the massive tusks that the elephants carry, Amboseli National Park has got one of the best and classic East-African landscapes after the Masai Mara Game Reserve, this Kenyan National Park offers excellent wildlife viewing and majestic views of Mountain Kilimanjaro.
With its proximity to the Tanzanian border, an African safari in Amboseli National Park can be easily combined with visiting Arusha National Park or Serengeti National Park or with visiting Masai Mara Game Reserve. If you have Amboseli National Park on your bucket list, read some useful information on how to get to the National Park, what to do, where to stay, and what animals you can spot in this National Park.
Amboseli National Park is found in Southern Kenya, Northwest Kilimanjaro, and close to the Tanzanian border. The distance to the capital, Nairobi, is 365kilometres or 226miles by road.
Amboseli National Park can be combined with a safari in other excellent game reserves in Kenya according to its location: Tsavo West, Tsavo East National Parks, and Masai Mara Game Reserve. Tsavo West and Tsavo East are nearby 2hour and 4hour respectively by car. Masai Mara Game Reserve is also a 4hour drive away from Amboseli National Park.
You can fly into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport which is a large transport hub in this part of Africa. Most often the transfer from the airport to the National Park is included in the safari cost, but make sure to check with your safari operator for details.
The short distance between the airport and the National Park makes it a good option for a self-drive safari. Especially if you want to combine it with a road trip to the near-by Tsavo East or Tsavo West, which can be reached by car from Amboseli National Park in about 4 hours. Read more about when to visit Amboseli in kenya
Adult’s non-resident 35 USD per day
Children non-resident 20 USD per day
The fees are subject to change. Please note that the park fees are likely included in the safari cost but do make sure to check with your safari operator.
Stay on a conservancy, where profits from safaris go directly to local Masai Mara communities who work in and manage Lodges and Camps on their land. And you will have a chance to enjoy intimate walking safari adventures and night-time game drives not permitted in the park. The National Park’s compact size means travel times are short, and with wildlife packed into a small area, little ones will be well entertained so bring your family. Sitting in the rain shadow of Kilimanjaro, Amboseli National Park receives little rain, and its vast, flat lakebed has a reputation as being a bit of a dust bowl so be prepared to get dusty where its name reflects its dryness coming from the Masai word for ‘salty dust’.
Guide to visiting Amboseli – It takes just four hours to travel the 240kilometres to Amboseli from Nairobi by road and on the best and smooth part of tarmac road. So light aircraft flight for your holiday is not a necessity. Great Adventure Safaris recommends not flying there.
There’s no law against driving yourself around Amboseli National Park only that you will need a 4×4 vehicle if you do. You will learn so much more by traveling with an expert ranger who will know how to find wildlife and share their knowledge of the park’s ecosystems and habitats.
Amboseli National Park may be a conservation success story now, but periodically this National Park and its wildlife has been brought to its knees juggling an influx of tourists, protectionist conservation strategies, and a frustrated local Masai population. This makes you think that conservation success has been plain sailing.
Joseph Thomson, a Scottish geologist was the first explorer, to get into the Masai region in 1883, during a trip to the shores of Lake Victoria. He was struck by the abundance of wildlife and the landscape. In the early 20th century, the colonial government decided to protect the area from hunting and established the Southern Masai Game Reserve. In 1948, Amboseli National Park was declared a Natural Reserve.
The Masai people were allowed to continue living in the reserve. However, population growth and the increasing number of tourists lead to the establishment of the National Park in 1974. The wildlife frequently fled from the areas where the Masai were grazing their cattle and went to arid areas where they could not survive.
After Amboseli became a National Park, the Masai people were no longer allowed to live in the protected areas. They didn’t accept abandoning their ancient villages willingly. They began to kill the black Rhinos and Lions in the park. This forced authorities to relocate the remaining Rhinos elsewhere, while the Lion population still suffers. In 1991, UNESCO declared Amboseli a Biosphere Reserve to protect the uniqueness of its ecosystem.
Amboseli National Park spans over 392kilometres and protects two of the main swamps in the area.
The National Park has five main wildlife habitats: open plans, rocky thorn bush country, acacia woodland, swamps, and marshland that covers part of a Pleistocene lake basin, now dry. Within the basin, during the heavy rainfall, there’s a temporary lake: Lake Amboseli. It is famous for the views of big games against the backdrop of the majestic Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Guide to visiting Amboseli national park – The Park is one of Kenya’s most popular National Parks and is famous for its giant Elephants. They are commonly known for having very big tusks as a result of being protected from poachers for many years. You can see big herds that roam the dusty plains in the morning and evening. During the day, you can see them foraging in Ol Okenya swamp.
The black Rhino has become extinct but four of the Big Five can be found here and these are: Elephant, Lion, Cape buffalo, and Leopard although the number of lions is low. Other animals present in the Amboseli National Park include Wild Dogs, Hyenas, Cheetahs, Zebras, Wildebeest, Hippos, and Giraffes.
Amboseli National Park is also a good bird-watching destination. Large numbers of flamingos may be present during the wet season. Other interesting bird species that are common include the Hartlaub’s bustard, Grey-crowned Crane, Heron, and many more.
A passport is required for all foreign visitors to enter Kenya. It must be valid at least 6 months after the date of the intended departure.
The United States and British citizens require a visa to enter Kenya, but an e-Visa can be obtained by applying online. It is valid for 3 months and the processing time is 2 business days. Or you can get the visa on arrival.
If you are planning an African safari to Amboseli National Park, do not forget to pack the following items:
Camera (and lenses)
Hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
Malaria medication as instructed by your health care provider
Long-sleeve blouses or jackets, long trousers for the evenings and mornings
Over the counter medication (such as ibuprofen, anti-diarrhea pills, and anti-histamines)
Quick-dry, loose-fit clothing in natural colors
Waterproof day pack.
In Amboseli National Park, you can choose between self-catering guest houses and cottages, a Campsite, and privately-owned Lodges. The Campsite offers basic facilities such as a toilet, shower, and running water.
The self-catering units include a fully equipped kitchen and dining room. The privately-owned lodges offer a luxury experience, with pools, restaurants, and bars on-site, rooms with balconies, en-suite bathroom, AC, and outdoor dining area.