Amboseli National Park

Amboseli National Park is situated about 250 km to the south-east of Nairobi and covers an area of approx. 400 square kilometres on the border with Tanzania. It is famous because of its backdrop: the highest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro. The sight of the snow-capped Mt. Kilimanjaro rising as a backdrop to this park makes it one of the most photogenic in Kenya.

The Park is based on two areas of swamp in the arid surrounding plains, and because of the low rainfall in the area they are central to the lives of the animals that live in the park. Because of these swamps, with their water and grazing, Amboseli is home to an abundance of game, from lion, cheetah and leopard to giraffe and buffalo. It is especially famous for its elephants and the work of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants which was established in 1972.

The west of the park is the dried bed of Lake Amboseli, usually dry and dusty, which makes the lush green of the swamps even more startling. The swamps themselves are fed by underground streams that come down off Mt. Kilimanjaro, producing areas of wetlands and pools large enough to support the game and for hippos to live in them. As the snows on the summit of Kilimanjaro diminish, there are great concerns as to the future of this water supply and the rising salinity of the water.

Amboseli was originally set up as a reserve in 1906 and reached full National Park status in 1974. Recently control of the Park was moved from the Kenya Wildlife Service to the local council, a move that has worried many as to whether the revenues will still benefit the local Masai. It also puts a question mark over the future of Kenya's other parks. Most lodges are based in the central swamp area, known as Ol Tukai. The other main landmarks are Observation Hill, where the more exclusive camps offer sundowners and picnics, and lake Amboseli.

Amboseli is bordered by several small coonservancies including Kitirua home to Tortilis Camp, and Selankay home to Porini Camp.

Further afield on a giant lava ridge you have the spectacular and little visited Chyulu Hills. This area is really off the beaten track and a great place for those who have been to Kenya before, are looking for something different and have the budget to do so! Camps are exclusive - Ol Donyo Lodge, part of Great Plains Conservation and Campi Ya Kanzi - both wonderful places to stay, safari, walk and horse ride. Magic.