Known as the “Kilimanjaro Royal Court”, Amboseli National Park is nestled at the foothills of Africa’s highest mountain. Amboseli is a top destination in Kenya for wildlife and one of the classic African images is that of a herd of elephants strolling across the plains with the snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro in the background. It is to catch this sight that people flood to Amboseli National Park. While Kilimanjaro is actually across the border in Tanzania, Amboseli has a perfect view of the world’s tallest freestanding mountain which rises an impressive 5895 metres above the plains.
Amboseli is approximately a half-day drive from Nairobi, meaning you can leave early in the morning and arrive in time for lunch and an afternoon game drive. Some of the lodges and camps in the area offer a walk with local Maasai warriors and it’s definitely worth taking the opportunity for a sunset or sunrise walk to view Kilimanjaro. The best time to view the majestic mountain is at dawn, when the clouds lift and the light is clear and soft. Early morning walks are very good photo opportunities as you witness the African sunrise lighten the mountain and distribute golden rays to the dry savannah of Amboseli National Park.
You can spend a full day game driving in the park, which contains swamp grounds where elephants and hippos are in abundance. A variety of plains game, antelopes and birds can also be seen.
There are several camps and lodges both inside and outside the park. Maasai Simba Camp is run by the local community and profits support the hospital and schools in the neighbouring village. Kibo Camp is very close to the main gate and offers outstanding service at a very reasonable price. Inside the park is Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge which won Africa’s Leading Eco Hotel in the 2013 World Tourism Awards. Part of the Serena Hotel chain, a stay here includes game drives with professional guides, bush dinners with a campfire and Maasai dancing, and village visits. Tortilis Camp is a classic luxury safari camp with stunning views of Mt Kilimanjaro. In nearby Selenkay Conservancy is Porini Amboseli Camp where your stay includes game drives in Selenkay Conservancy plus one full day with picnic lunch in Amboseli National Park and a visit to a Maasai village.
If driving 250km is not your thing, Amboseli also has an airstrip with regular flights from Wilson Airport in Nairobi.