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Attractions in Amboseli National Park

Attractions in Amboseli National Park Kenya, Wildlife Safaris in Amboseli Park, Bird Watching Safaris, getting to amboseli park, Activities in amboseli park, where to stay in amboseli park. Amboseli National Park is located in Kenya which is found in the eastern region of the African continent along geographical co-ordinates of 02o38’29”S 378o14’53”E. Amboseli national park is located in southern Kenya along the border with Tanzania and its part of the extended Serengeti eco system.

The Amboseli national park encloses a swamp eco system of five swamps that are uniquely located in a somewhat semi-arid area.  Amboseli national park was created in 1906 as a reserve named southern reserve of the Maasai, later on in 1948, it was designated a game reserve and finally as a national park in 1974 followed by a UNESO site in 1991. The Amboseli area had its first encounter with Europeans in 1883 when joseph Thompson dared to cross into the Maasai territory.

Amboseli national park features some of the spectacular wild game and its iconic for its large herds of African bush elephants that traverse this park end to end, buffaloes, impalas, lions, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, Masai giraffes, grants zebras, blue wildebeests. Bird species that roam the skies of Amboseli national park include African swamphen, common redshank, dickinson’s kestrel, greater flamingo, hartlaub’s bustard, lesser flamingo, long toed lapwing, rufous chatterer, steel blue wydah, yellow necked spurfowl, rufous billed heron.

Amboseli national park experiences a semi-arid climate pattern with two rain seasons. The rain season comes in March-May and also October to December. Temperatures during this season range from 280c or 82of to maximum of 30oc or 86of. During the dry season which comes around from June to October and also January to march the temperatures hover between 25oc or 77of to a maximum of 26oc or 79of. This time Amboseli has clear skies.

Attractions in Amboseli National Park in Kenya 

Hyenas – Attractions Amboseli National Park

Hyenas feature in many of our savannah plains Amboseli is no exception to this canine hunter. Hyenas are closely related to canines in terms of behavior and body structure as both hyenas and other canines kill most of their prey using their teeth than their claws. They have a wolf like body structure with their fore limbs being longer than the hind limbs and the entire hind quarters are visibly lower and the back slopes downwards towards their rumps. There are two different species of hyenas i.e. spotted hyenas and striped hyenas. Hyenas can be identified from their body structure that is they have large ears, they have thick fur that is coarse and sparse and poorly developed on their underbelly.

Spotted hyena exhibits sexual dimorphism with males being large than females while striped hyenas exhibit reversed sexual dimorphism with females being larger than males. Spotted hyenas are more of hunters while striped hyenas like to scavenge from kills made by other predators. Even though in human society, hyenas are depicted as cowardly animals, this isn’t entirely true as these animals have been widely documented chasing off big and fierce predators like lions and leopards from their kills and have the kill for themselves, this doesn’t strike as an act of cowardice by any means. Usually hyenas are nocturnal animals but they have can also be seen in the morning hours doing their hunting and stocking rounds. Hyenas have a set of 9 teeth comprising of mainly canines.

African bush elephants – Attractions Amboseli National Park

Attractions Amboseli National Park
Elephants in Amboseli National Park

African elephants are the largest land mammals in the world with a male elephant weighing in at 4,700-6,048kg or 10,362-13,334Ib and a shoulder height of 3.2-4.0m or 10.5-13.1ft while their female counterparts weigh in at 2,160-3,232kg or 4,762-7,125Ib and a shoulder height of 2.2-2.6m or 7.2-8.5ft. these land giants have 24 teeth in their mouths and usually lose their teeth 4-6 times in their life time which lies between 60-70 years. What sets these land giants apart from the rest of crowd is their elongated tusks which are in fact their second set of incisors. This means that the tusks are very strong as they are used to up root trees and also as weapons they use while fighting. The tusks weigh between 23-45 kg or 55-99Ib with a length of 1.5-2.4m or 5-8 ft.

Elephants usually live in groups called families which comprise of 10 or more closely related females with their calves and each of these families is led by an older female called a matriarch. Elephants have the ability to distinguish and communicate with each other using low frequency infrasonic calls.  With a body mass that is compared to nothing else on land, African elephants have to feed on an average of 450 kg or 992Ib of foliage to sustain their huge bodies and also drink to over 50 liters of water per day. In fact, these elephants have the ability to smell water to up to 20 km or 12miles away. Elephants have an exposed skin so in order to control over heating of their body, they flap their big ears so as to carry away the heat or bathe in water ponds. It is believed that when an elephant flaps its ears, it can lose about 10oF of heat hence always staying cool even in the hottest temperatures.

They also employ their elongated trunk to carry water and pour it over their ears to try and cool themselves. These land giants have very thin hairs around body parts such as eyes and noses and these are mainly for ensuring that germs and other bacteria don’t find it easy to enter the elephant’s body through these parts. The elephant trunk is a master piece of creation as it is equipped with 40000 muscles which is way more than an entire human body has at only 639 muscles. This makes the trunks a very strong and agile part of the elephant that can do many things. The elephant trunk is also used for breathing, snorkeling and also as an extended arm for holding, lifting or pushing anything they want to carry.  A female elephant reaches sexual maturity at the age of 10-12 years and can reproduce after every 3-6 years throughout its lifetime. All elephants have a very poor metabolism and that’s why they eat a lot of food but ¾ of it will come out of the elephants undigested as dung.

Due to the poor metabolic system, elephant calves have been recorded doing something bizarre and that is eating dung that has been passed out by their mothers but this is all because elephant calves can’t process raw grass hence, they have to resort to eating pre-processed food that has been passed out as dung. They have a gestation period of up to 22 months being the longest in all land mammals. Just like humans and apes, elephants are also highly intelligent species with a brain that weighs about 5kg or 11Ib which about 4 times heavier than that of human making it the heaviest brain of any land mammal. With such a brain, these land giants are believed to exhibit character traits like grief, learning, sense of humor, compassion, self-awareness, a very strong and vivid memory, play and use of tools and possibly a language.

Cape buffalo – Attractions Amboseli National Park

Attractions Amboseli National Park
Buffalo in Amboseli National Park

The cape buffalo is also referred to as the African buffalo and they are a very common sight throughout this park. It is usually mistaken to be a close relative to domesticated cattle but its rather related to actually other biggedr bovines. Buffaloes have a coarse black coat unlike their close relatives the forest buffaloes which have a reddish coat. As the male buffaloes grow older, the bases of their horns grows closer and it can even unite forming a feature called a “boss” which is very had to penetrate even with a gun bullet of less 16mm. You can differentiate a male buffalo from a female one by observing the structure of their horns, the male buffalo horns grow while curving outwards while the ones of the female grow while curving inside.

The African buffalo is a big animal with a shoulder height of 1.0-1.7m or 3.3-5.6ft. It has a body length of 1.7-3.4m or 5.6-11.2ft and its tail has a length of 70-110cm or 28-43in. An adult male African buffalo can weigh as much as between 500-1000kg but the females usually weigh less than this. Cape buffaloes are usually found in the great plains of African savanna like Murchison falls park. Buffaloes usually stay in large herds that consist anywhere from 5-100 individuals and this is primarily for protection purposes from their predators. Although buffaloes have a very poor eye sight, this is compensated by possessing an acute sense of smell coupled with a keen sense of hearing, in fact, the buffaloes can stop whatever they are doing and stand still for many minutes or sometimes even hours just to listen even to the tiniest of sounds that may be made by any predator that may be stalking them.

When buffaloes are attacked, they male buffaloes form defensive wall by being at the flanks of the herd while the females and calves are within the inner part of the herd.  the male buffaloes can even sometimes turn and chase the attacking predators   They have a gestation period of 11.5 months and a life span of over 25 years in their natural habitats.

Leopards – Attractions Amboseli National Park

Leopards are some of the big cat family predators that roam the plains of queen Elizabeth national park and they are at the top of the food chain together. Leopards are usually taken to be the same with cheetahs but they are completely different as cheetahs have tear marks on their faces small round spots while leopards have no this distinctive mark on their faces and have larger rosettes on their body. The skin color of leopards’ ranges from pale yellow to golden or yellowish brown with rosettes and this enables these super predators to camouflage so that they can stalk their prey without ever being noticed. Male leopards are muscular with short limbs and a broad head, the males have an average shoulder height of 60-70cm or 24-28in and weigh in at 37-90kg while the females have an average shoulder height of57-64cm or 22-25in and weigh in between26-60kg. the cheetah has a very long tail that’s white tipped with a length of 60-100cm or 24-39in and this enables the leopards make quick sharp turns at high speed while on a chase. Leopards can sometimes have black color and this is caused by melanism which is a recessive gene in these animals and when a leopard is having this phenomenon, it turns from being called a leopard to a black panther. Leopards are usually solitary animals and they have a gestation period of 90-105 days and can live in their natural habitat for 12-17 years.

Lions – Attractions Amboseli National Park

Attractions Amboseli National Park
Lions in Amboseli National Park

These can be easily sighted in Tarangire National Park on a good day. Lions are part of the big cate family and are muscular, deep chested with rounded heads. Most of the African lion males can distinguished from their females by the presence of a mane around the necks and heads of male African lions which is clearly absent in females but there quite many cases in Africa where the males also don’t have a mane or have a very short and thin one. The male lions are usually bigger than the females but their sizes vary according to location. In east Africa, adult female lions have a body length of 160-184cm or 63-72in weighing in at 119.5kg or 263Ib on average while the adult males have a body length of 184-208cm or 72-82in weighing in at 174.9kg or 386Ib on average. Lions are social animals who live in groups called prides. A pride is always led by a dominant male and their highly territorial animals controlling vast expanses that are strategic with a lot of prey and water. Male dominant lions are responsible for protecting the pride and they will fight off other male invaders, in case the dominant male is defeated by the invading lions, the victor lions will kill off all the cubs that are off springs to the defeated dominant male as a way of ending its blood lineage.

Lions are carnivores and are at the top of the food chain feeding on almost all browsers and grazers within their domain due to their ability to hunt as a pride and carry out well coordinated and planned attacks which enables them to take down prey that can even be between 2-4 times bigger than them such as zebras, elephants and buffaloes. Lions usually hunt at night because of their well-developed sense of sight especially at night where their vision is almost 6 times better than that of humans due to the presence of white patches around their eyes which enable them to absorb even the smallest amount of light available during the cover of darkness. Hunting among lions is an affair carried out by female lions mostly and juvenile males and when a kill has been made by the lionesses in a pride, it’s always the dominant male lion who will eat first up to his fill then the rest of the pride will feed on what has remained after the he has finished eating. They have a gestation period of 97 days and a life span of about 10-14 years.

Birds in Amboseli National Park in Kenya

Attractions Amboseli National Park
Birds in Amboseli National Park

Rufous heron: This bird has a dark grey head back and breast contrasting with a rufous belly wings and tail. This bird has bright yellow legs. Juveniles are paler and browner and darkening as they mature. This bird feeds on tilapia, barbus insects, crustaceans and aquatic invertebrates.

Steel blue waydah: This bird has a glossy blue black plumage with a long tail that’s almost 3 times its body length. This bird has small white patch on upper flank. The male bird has a body length of 10-11cm and weighs between 11-13g. it makes a short phrases lasting many minutes with little repetition. It eats small grass seeds and also half ripe seeds and insects.

Hartlaub’s bustard: This bird has a similar look like a bellied bustard but more greyer and more clearly marked in the lower back with blackish tail. Their heads are small sitting on a long neck and a bulky body with large legs. This bird has a body weight of 1.5-1.6kg. this bird makes a voice call with a “tok” sound.

Common redshank: This is a bird that is common in Europe and asia and yes it knows how to find its way to Africa specifically Kenya. This bird is mainly marble brown on the upper parts and slightly lighter on its underparts especially in breeding species.  It has a long black bill and long red-pink legs.

Pangani longclaw: This bird has a yellow orange throat with a black necklace. Its upper body parts are coated in many shades of brown while the under belly is yellow. These birds have buff bellies when they are still juveniles. The flanks of these birds have black and buff streaks. They make a voice call with a high pitched “suiweeee” sound. This bird measures around 20cm or 8in in length. Males weigh between 36.6-43g. they normally eat beetles, grasshoppers, small moths, termites and small moths.

Taveta golden weaver: This bird has a vibrant golden yellow color which is also duller on its back its wings and tail are greener in color with a few brown spots on the chest. These birds build nests on reeds or grasses over water points like streams in which they lay 2-3 eggs with a glossy dark and olive green color. These birds mainly feed on seeds. They make what can be considered as a weird voice call to past human observers.

Activities in Amboseli National Park in Kenya

Game drives – Attractions in Amboseli National Park

Game drives in Amboseli National Park are a rewarding encounter as you get to meet and greet with your eyes not hands some of Africa’s wilderness finest mammals like large herds of African bush elephants that traverse this park end to end, buffaloes, impalas, lions, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, Masai giraffes, grants zebras, blue wildebeests.

Birdin – Attractions in Amboseli National Park

Birding in Amboseli National Park is a birder’s frenzy given its array of bird species that habituate in this national park. A birders trip to Amboseli National Park should culminate into a sight of bird species like African swamphen, common redshank, dickinson’s kestrel, greater flamingo, hartlaub’s bustard, lesser flamingo, long toed lapwing, rufous chatterer, steel blue wydah, yellow necked spurfowl, rufous billed heron.

Nature walks – Attractions in Amboseli National Park

Nature walks are one way of the best ways to explore this national park given its gentle land scape making it easy for you to traverse this park on foot. You will definitely appreciate the diversity of nature here while on a nature walk as you will be in a prime position to see most of the natural ingredients that make up this eco system in action from point blank range as they go about their business.

Accessing Amboseli National Park in Kenya

Amboseli National Park is accessible by both road and air transport

Road transport: Amboseli National Park is locted 365km or 226miles south west of Nairobi the capital of Kenya. You can also easily visit amboseli national park from other parks like tsavo national park which is about 460km or 285miles.

Air transport: Amboseli National Park can easily be visited using air transport as this park is served by many charter flights companies from jomo Kenyatta international airport which is found 15km or 9miles out of Nairobi city Kenya’s capital. If you visit Kenya from abroad and overseas, your entry point is likely to be jomo Kenyatta international Airport as it’s the biggest airport in this region, the other airport is Moi international airport in Mombasa. These airports have numerous international airlines that have frequent scheduled flights.

Featured Park: Masai Mara

Maasai Mara National Reserve lies in southwestern Kenya in the Kenyan rift valley province in Narok County bordering Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.