AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK :
The Amboseli national park offers one of the most classic and breathtaking views of Kenya, the gigantic Kilimanjaro mountain, with its 5,985m dominating the plains like a powerful god ruling the world from his silver throne. Before the discovery of the mountain for the western world by the missionary Johannes Rebmann in 1848, ancient swahili and arab legends used to tell about a great inland mountain, in the summit of which lived a terrible god who punished those who dared to approach his dwelling by paralysing their hands and feet. In this very poetic way the inhabitants of the tropical shores described a phenomenon that was alien to them: freezing.
Long a favourite of Hollywood film makers, Amboseli National Park's 392 square kilometres form the perfect auditorium for scenic views of Arfica's highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world. The image of elephants wandering across grass plains with the snowy peak of Mt Kilimanjaro in the background is one known even to armchair travellers. This epitomises Amboseli National Park and highlights the stark contrasts Africa has to offer.
In Amboseli's case it is big skies and far horizons combined with swampy springs and dry and dusty earth trammelled by hundreds of animals. Amboseli has an endless underground water supply filtered through thousands of feet of volcanic rock from Kilimanjaro's ice cap, which funnel into two clear water springs in the heart of the park. However, the climatic pendulum can swing from drought to flood, and in the early 1990's ceaseless rain changed Amboseli into a swamp. A few years later the rains failed and the grass-covered plains turned to dust.
Amboseli's dust is ancient volcanic ash, whose salt crystals shimmer on the surface of the parched lakebed during the dry season. This creates hazy mirages which make you question just what is real.
Surrounding Amboseli are ranch areas where the Maasai share the land with the wildlife. Wild animals tends to avoid the village areas as there are far too many people and the grazing has already been eaten by the Maasai's all-important cattle.
Animals & Birds:
This park is renowned for its elephants, which may be seen in herds over 100 strong drinking from the surface springs. There are so many of them that their penchant for pushing down trees is destroying the habitat that sustains them. Big old bull elephants carry some of the largest tusks to be seen anywhere in Africa and is a renowned feature of this park.
Also happily roaming the grasslands are buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, giraffes, impala and warthog. Attendant carnivores include lion, leopard, caracal, cheetah, jackal, hyena and serval cat.
Unfortunately any rhino are long gone from this area after intensive poaching. Birdlife is extremely good and you can expect to see pelicans, bee-eaters, kingfishers and many types of eagles.
Rainy Season: The long hot and humid rainy period starts around April and lasts until June, then the short rains come during the warm months of November and December.
Dry Season: January through to March are hot and dry, while July to October are warm and dry. The warm dry season is the best for game viewing and for personal comfort.
· Majestic Mt Kilimanjaro backdrop
· Large herds of elephants
· Big old tuskers
· Contemporary Maasai Culture