Amboseli is one of Kenya’s best known parks, and famous for its iconic Mount Kilimanjaro back drop
To the east lie the stunning Chyulu Hills, a beautiful range of ‘green’ hills from which you can still see Mount Kilimanjaro towering over the surrounding plains.
Amboseli offers superb game viewing, especially for elephant which have been studied here for many years. Lying at an altitude of nearly 4,000’ at the foot of Africa’s highest mountain, the terrain consists mainly of scrub and fragile saline grass as the dry, volcanic ash will support little more. There are a few patches of acacia woodland, whilst the melting snows of Kilimanjaro feed rivers and springs which in turn supply water to Amboseli’s swamps and the (seasonal) lake. The mountain makes a scenic backdrop for photographing the variety of animals that are seen here.
The Maasai people are also very much a part of life in Amboseli and they are often seen grazing their cattle on the community lands which surround the park. Some of these community lands have developed into conservancies, and whilst wildlife numbers are still growing, they do offer a more exclusive Amboseli safari away from the busier core areas of the park itself.
The Chyulu Hills are of volcanic origin, and at their base, several forested volcanic lava flows snake out across the surrounding plains to create a varied and interesting landscape. There are also a number of granite hills dotted across the plains which add further to the scenic experience. Although a little further away from Kilimanjaro, this region offers a far more exclusive alternative to Amboseli.
The game viewing is not as guaranteed, but the scenery is stunning and the safari experience more personalised. The eastern side of the hills are gazetted as a National Park, whilst the western side comprises a Conservation area owned by a number of Maasai group ranches. It’s the latter which houses most of the safari options – excellent horse riding safaris through the hills and along the plains towards Kilimanjaro are complimented by a couple of lodges offering game drives (night and day) and walks.