Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is surrounded by six communally-owned group ranches that are wet-season dispersal areas for wildlife, and whose management has a direct influence on the ecological stability of the park. The park covers part of a Pleistocene lake basin, now dry. Within this basin is a temporary lake, ‘Lake’ Amboseli, which floods during times of heavy rainfall. The Amboseli area is in the rain-shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro and receives only 300 mm of rain/year on average. However, water flowing underground from Mount Kilimanjaro wells up here in a series of lush papyrus swamps that provide dry-season water and forage for wildlife. Tracts of attractive Acacia xanthophloea woodland flank these. Open Acacia tortilis woodland also occurs on drainage lines in the southern part of the park. Acacia–Commiphora bushland surrounds the basin, while the level floor, with alkaline soils, supports thickets of Salvadora persica and Suaeda monoica. Large concentrations of wildlife occur here in the dry season.
This is one of Kenya’s most famous National Parks which was established as a nature reserve in 1968 and gazetted as a National Park in 1974, designated as an international biosphere reserve, lays immediately north-west of Mount Kilimanjaro and approximately 200 km west of Nairobi City.
Amboseli National Park – Animals of the Park
Travellers should look out for the African Lion which can easily be found and occasionally sighted stalking prey the African buffalo. Cheetah, Gazelle, Spotted Hyena, Jackals, Wildebeest, Common Zebra, Olive Baboons, among others, also occur in significant numbers. Even reptiles, butterflies and amphibians are plenty.
Amboseli National Park Birding
Amboseli boasts of abundant birdlife, with over 400 bird species recorded, including the globally threatened Madagascar Pond-Heron, Lesser Flamingo, Lesser Kestrel, and Possibly Africa’s most sought after bird, the Shoebill which has an a-one-time record in the area and over 40 birds of prey.
The park also has forty-two of the ninety-four species of the Somali-Masai biome that occur in Kenya.
To find Amboseli a very productive birding spot, one needs to get there during and just after the October-December rains. This is when migrants from the Northern hemisphere join local birds, sometimes in fairly large numbers.