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Amboseli is a top destination for a Kenya Safari. Indeed, one of the classic images of East Africa, let alone Kenya, is that of a herd of elephant strolling across the plains with the snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro in the background. It is to catch this sight on memory - and on film - that people flood to Amboseli National Park.

While Kilimanjaro is actually across the border in Tanzania, Amboseli has a perfect view of this world's tallest freestanding mountain, rising an impressive 5 kilometres above the plains. The best time to view the majestic mountain is at dawn and sunset, when the clouds lift and the light is both clear and soft.

Amboseli is about 200km from Nairobi on fairly good roads, and the usual route is via Namanga on the A104. The last 75km from Namanga is a bit bumpy so be prepared. Air Kenya also offers daily flights to the reserve.

It's also a park that combines well with Tsavo National Park to the east, or Tanzania's Kilimanjaro and Arusha National Parks.

The park is one of the smaller game parks in Kenya, but it offers you the best opportunity of seeing the critically endangered black rhino, along with a spectacular range of wildlife. The area's low and well-munched vegetation also ensures that animals are easy to spot. Lions can easily be found and can occasionally be watched stalking their prey. Buffalo, cheetah, gazelle, hyena, jackal, wildebeest, zebra, and baboon are just some of the animals that can be encountered at Amboseli.

Streams from Kilimanjaro surface in the centre of Amboseli, creating swamps that attract and support a rich diversity of wild animals and birdlife. Most of Amboseli is flat and dusty and so the best spots for game viewing are these wetlands.

Unfortunately the accessibility of the area, and the rich wildlife, have led to Amboseli's downfall. It seems that it is only a matter of time before the animals move on to greener grasslands thanks to the perils of safari popularity.

Too many minibus and jeep drivers veering off the roads in pursuit of a good look at the game have turned the delicate grass plains of Amboseli into a dust bowl. Stick to the roads to protect the park's fragile ecosystem and avoid making the situation any worse.


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