Amboseli National park is 260km (160 miles) from Nairobi and lies immediately North West of Mt. Kilimanjaro, on the border with Tanzania in southern Kenya. The Park was established as much larger 3,000 km2 Amboseli ecosystem. Its magnificent location at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro combined with its excellent opportunities to view Kenya’s animals, make it one of the most-visited safari parks in Kenya. It is surrounded by 6 communally owned group ranches.
The Amboseli National park embodies 5 main wildlife habitats (open plains, acacia woodland, rocky thorn bush country, swamps and marshland) and covers part of a Pleistocene lake basin, now dry. Within this basin is a temporary lake, Lake Amboseli that flood during years of heavy rainfall. Amboseli is famous for its large herds of free-ranging African elephants, there are over 900 African elephants in Amboseli, as well as huge herds of wildebeests and many other animals including giraffes, African lions, monkeys, zebras, hyenas and antelope not forgetting its great scenic beauty – the landscape is dominated by Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Amboseli National Park is in the rain shadow of Mt. Kilimanjaro hence its climate is mainly hot and dry. The maximum average temperature of the warmest month is 33ºC during the day, while that of the coldest is 27-28ºC. An annual rainfall of 300mm per annum is distributed in two seasons: April/May and November/December. Recurrent droughts and potential evaporation of 2200mm per annum typifies the region (KWS, 1991). The best times to visit are January and February as well as June to September.
The main road into the Amboseli National Park from Nairobi is via Namanga (240 km/149 Miles) on the Nairobi-Arusha Road, via Meshanani Gate. The road is tarmac upto Namanga but is badly corrugated and potholed in places from Namanga to Meshanani Gate (75km)The other road and via Emali and murram from Emali to Remito Gate (64km). Access from Mombasa is generally best through Tsavo West National park via Kimana (Olkelunyiet) Gate. Amboseli National Park has gates at Kelunviet, Iremito, ilmeshanan, Kitrua and the Airstrips.
By Air, one can use a chartered aircraft, the Amboseli National park has a single airstrip for light aircraft at Empusel gate. Other airstrips exist at Namanga and Kilimanjaro Buffalo lodge. You can also a book scheduled flight from Nairobi to Amboseli.
There are various safari Lodges and campsites in and around Amboseli National park.
Safari Lodges: These include; Oltukai Lodge, Amboseli Sopa Lodge, Amboseli Serena Lodge and Tortilis camp which is a luxurious and award winning eco-tourism Lodge.
The Campsites include; Nairushari Special, Olgulului public Campsite, Abercrombie and Kent Tented Camp, Chvulu Tented camp, Ker and Downy Tented Camp, Kimbla Campsite, Cottar’s Tented Camp, Tortilis Tented Camp and finally Leopard Tented Camp.