Amboseli Safari

Amboseli Safari

Things to do - general


Watch over 900 free-ranging elephants by taking an exhilarating Amboseli safari.

This event happens at the Amboseli National Park that is situated only 250km from Nairobi.  Even though it is small, this park continues to attract legions of visitors because it is very accessible.

This park is the most popular after Maasai Mara Game Reserve and has been lauded as the best place to view elephant herds up close. It borders Tanzania and is situated at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

As a result, Amboseli National Park has an endless underground water supply that is filtered through volcanic rock. This water then funnels into 2 clear water springs at the heart of the park which attract animals of all sizes – elands, waterbucks, zebras, the big five, jackals, hyenas and other scavengers.

The name Amboseli comes from the Maasai word Empusel which means ‘salty dust’. If you’re a nature lover, this Amboseli safari will expose you to 5 different habitats ranging from the wetlands with Sulphur Springs, the acacia woodlands, the dried up bed of Lake Amboseli, the rocky thornbush and the savannah.

Expect to see big blue skies combined with swamp and dusty earth that has been trampled by hundreds of animals.

Amboseli’s climate can change from drought to flood. Ceaseless rain can change the area into a swamp and prolonged lack of rainfall turns the grass-covered plains to dust.

With its magnificent view of Africa’s highest mountain, this park offers a unique backdrop for game viewing. It also has a dry Pleistocene lake basin that houses Lake Amboseli and migratory birds after the rains.

After it was declared a national park in the 1970s, the Maasai felt excluded, so they exterminated the longhorn black rhinos and lions. As a result, lions and other predators are hard to come by at the Amboseli National Park. Herbivores are present in plenty.

During your Amboseli safari, your guide will most likely relay these rules that have been set up to protect wildlife:

  • Do not get out of the vehicle except at designated spots
  • Keep to the tracks at all times
  • No off-road driving is allowed
  • Give the animals the right of way
  • Do not harass the animals


Must see

  • Mount Kilimanjaro
  • The dry Pleistocene lake basin
  • Elephant herds
  • Big 5
  • Observation Hill
  • Egyptian goose
  • Mongoose
  • Nocturnal porcupine
  • Hyrax
  • Seasonal Lake Amboseli
  • Flamingoes, pelicans & other migratory birds
  • Sulphur Springs in the wetlands


Must do

  • Attend an elephant conservation lecture at the Elephant Research Centre
  • Watch scenic views of plains, swamps and roads from Observation Hill
  • Watch Mt. Kilimanjaro from Sinet Delta
  • Birdwatching
  • Visit a local Maasai village
  • Camping
  • Wildlife photography


Best accommodation at Amboseli 

  • Amboseli Serena Lodge
  • Amboseli Sopa Lodge
  • Ol Tukai Lodge
  • Kibo Safari Camp
  • Kilima Safari Camp
  • AA Lodge Amboseli
  • Maasai Simba Camp
  • Satao Elerai
  • Tawi Lodge
  • Kibo Villa Amboseli
  • Ambokili Lodge
  • Tortilis Camp
  • Penuel Plaza Hotel
  • Camp Noomuran
  • Ol Donyo Lodge
  • Campi ya Kanzi
  • Porini Amboseli Camp
  • Chui Cottages
  • Kilimanjaro Guest House


Best time for an Amboseli Safari

Amboseli can be visited at any time of the year. Wildlife viewing is however recommended in the dry months which are January, February, June, July, August and September.

During the wet months, animals hide and do not gather at water sources in large numbers and insects and mosquitoes will hamper your comfort.

Amboseli National Park is open daily from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm including public holidays. Entry after 6:15 pm is not allowed. No entry is allowed on foot either.

The Kenya Wildlife administration offers reduced fees for Kenya citizens and residents.

The park can be accessed in two ways:

  • By air: The park has an airstrip for light aircrafts at Empusel gate. There is also an airstrip at Kilimanjaro Buffalo Lodge and Namanga town.
  • By road: The main road which is from Nairobi via Namanga (on the Nairobi – Arusha road) will lead you to the park’s Meshanani Gate. The other road is from Nairobi via Emali on the Nairobi – Mombasa road. Visitors from Mombasa can access the park through the Tsavo West National Park via Kimana (Olkelunyiet) Gate. 

What to take with you on an Amboseli Safari

  • Drinking water
  • Camping equipment (if you want to stay overnight)
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Picnic items
  • Guidebooks

If an Amboseli safari is on your wishlist, check out the tours available or call an agent to customize your trip.

Country Kenya
Languages spokenEnglish, Swahili
Currency usedksh
Area (km2)392km²
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