There are two reasons to visit Kenya's Amboseli National Park. One, to see the magnificent population of elephants and two, to witness the extraordinary view of Mount Kilimanjaro. It is from Amboseli National Park that you can see the iconic view of the roof of Africa that is so well known from movies and magazines.
This is not that View
Unfortunately we arrived in Kenya at the beginning of the rainy season so Mount Kilimanjaro was shrouded in cloud. We never did get to see the roof of Africa in all her glory, but every once in a while her glacier peeked out from above the clouds. The lower mountains were in full view and they made for a spectacular sight in their own right and this is the view at sunset just before we settled into our lodge in the centre of the park.
If you travel to Kenya during the high season or dry season, you will definitely have a good chance of seeing the iconic mountain. If you are interested in more of Mount Kilimanjaro, check out our climb up there in 2008 while visiting Tanzania.
Lodging at Amboseli
We stayed at the Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge nestled in the heart of the park. Sitting on a high plateau, one can enjoy high tea while looking out over the African Savanna. We watched zebras and baboons saunter in the long grass below while enjoying the African sun. The hotel is surrounded by rich vegetation and swamps fed by the melting snow of Kilimanjaro. From the comfort of a lounge chair, you can spy elephants and hippos going about their day as monkeys play in nearby trees.
We only spent one day in Amboseli National Park and while we felt ready to move on to see more of Kenya after an evening and morning safari, we did love the lodge so much we could have spent days enjoying the pool and magnificent views.
Our First Kenya Safari
We met our guide from Journeys International, Makau at 4:00 pm to begin our evening safari. Sunset is when all the animals come out, so we were hoping to spy a few of the ‘Big 5.' (Buffalo, Rhinos, Elephants, Lions & Leopards – aka – BRELL)
Within minutes of leaving the lodge, we spotted several elephants. Amboseli is known for it's elephant population and it lives up to the hype. You will see elephants at every turn. It is an exciting thing to see an elephant in the wild for the first time. They are so peaceful and elegant. An elephant seems to glide over the land with ease. They look as if they are moving slow, but if you follow them for a distance you will see how much ground they cover quickly.
They stay close to each other and protect their young. While watching the elephant, I cannot understand how poachers can senselessly kill them for nothing but their ivory tusks to sell to the Asian market. I plea to the people of Asia to stop buying ivory for medicinal purposes or ornaments. It must be stopped.
Time goes quickly on a Kenyan safari and the sun started to go down fast. We kept our eyes peeled for more wildlife and we managed to see quite a bit in Amboseli. Besides the usual impalas and gazelle,s we saw hyenas, giraffes in the distance, zebras, hippos hiding in the water and our very first warthog. The Warthog has become my new favourite animal. Our guide Makau told us that the warthog has a very short attention span. They spook easily and run away when you approach, but they quickly forget why they were running in the first place and stop to have a look. We caught this guy as he was having a look. They're absolutely adorable to watch as they scamper around the Savanna.
As our safari at Amboseli came to an end we gave up on spotting any big cats of Africa here. That was going to have to wait until the Masai Mara, but we did manage to spy the serval cat. We noticed something running through the long grass and to our delight two serval cats were playing. They didn't seem to mind us being around and kept playing while we watched from our safari van. This was just a sign of things to come.
Our time at Amboseli was drawing to a close. We had seen a few of the animals that one can only see in Africa and we were now itching to see more. Amboseli is one of Kenya's most popular national parks, but I had a feeling that the next two stops were going to be far more exciting when it came to spotting wildlife. Bring on Lake Nakuru and the Masai Mara.