Located to the southwest of the Masai Mara reserve near Kenya’s southwest border, the Amboseli National Park features Mount Kilimanjaro as the backdrop, offering some of the some of the most photogenic views in all of Kenya. The sight of elephants grazing in silhouette against Africa’s most famous mountain is hard to beat. The park is best known and best loved for the herds of elephants that roam within its boundaries. The park’s desert-like terrain offers unobstructed views of over 80 other types of mammals as well, including zebra, giraffes, cape buffalo and lions.
In addition to the elephants, the Amboseli is known as one of the best bird-watching destinations in the world, with more than 400 separate species of birds, including nearly 50 types of raptor. The park is dotted with five nationally protected swamps that provide water for the animals in the semi-arid region and for the people who depend on the swamps for agriculture. The Masai people have inhabited the region for centuries, and travelers to the park have the opportunity to visit authentic Masai villages.
Comfortable accommodations are available within the park, some of which are operated in partnerships with the Masai to fund local schools. Organized safaris in private four-wheel-drive vehicles are popular options. Guided walks are available as well. Located only 240 km (150 miles) from the capital of Nairobi, the park is a popular destination for day trips. There’s small airport located within the boundaries of the park as well, making this destination perfect for a fly-in safari.