Amboseli, Chyulu Hills and Tsavo are three separate and distinct game parks in the south-south-east of Kenya. They all have fabulous views of Mount Kilimanjaro, and they may be linked in one safari. But they have different charactersistics and each is often treated as a stand-alone destination.
The Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya lies in the shadow of the towering, snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro. Amboseli is one of the most popular game parks in Kenya and is easy to reach from Nairobi (one hour’s flight). The views of Africa’s highest freestanding mountain are incomparable from here.
Amboseli National Park is generally flat savanna grassland dotted with acacia shrub and stands of fever trees. Buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, gazelle, Masai giraffe, lion and cheetah abound. The grasses are eaten low so that it’s easy to spot the game. Towards the centre of the park are a series of marshes fed by underground channels carrying melt water from the glaciers of Kilimanjaro. These waters are the only permanent water source for miles around. The source supports some 1500 elephant as well as the local Masai community and their livestock. The Amboseli Elephant Research Project is the longest study of wild elephants in the world, having commenced in 1972.
Game on an Amboseli safari is abundant. There are good sightings of elephant, lion, cheetah, Masai giraffe and buffalo as well as varied plains game. Smaller mammals include the ever-present black backed jackals, spotted hyena and bat eared foxes. An Amboseli safari is perfect for keen birders as the marshland is home to a prolific number of bird species. These include pelicans, kingfishers, crakes, egrets, hammerkops and even the rare Madagascar squacco heron. So far, 47 raptors have been identified, including the rare taita falcon and southern banded harrier eagle.
Safaris in Tsavo West & East
Travel further and you reach the Tsavo West and Tsavo East National Parks. Tsavo is so vast that it is separated into two separate parks, bisected by both the Nairobi road and the famous railway linking Nairobi with Mombasa.