With the snowy slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, as a backdrop, Amboseli National Park marries superb natural vistas with extraordinary wildlife sightings. Located roughly centrally along Kenya’s 478-mile border with Tanzania to the south, Amboseli is best known for its vast elephant herds. Alongside the region’s sparse vegetation, this makes it one of the top places in the world to sit closely beside Earth’s largest land animal.
These enigmatic giants roam across no fewer than five different habitats within Amboseli’s bounds. Animals from the newest calves to matriarchs 60 years old feed on the park’s grasslands and in its woodlands, bathe in the dust of the usually dried-up lake bed after which the park is named, quench their thirst in wetlands, and even consume the mineral rich clays around Amboseli’s sulfur springs.
This range of habitats helps ensure a diverse species list beyond Amboseli’s elephants too, with the months of June through to October considered the best time to visit for sightings. Big game comes in the form of lions, leopards, cheetah, buffalo, and Masai giraffe. Bird species range from the Madagascar squacco heron to the taita falcon, both incredibly rare birds to see.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, visiting Amboseli National Park also provides ample opportunity to encounter and interact with the Masai people who are the traditional custodians of the land. Their authentic boma villages, made up of manyatta mud-and-stick dwellings, provide a glimpse into an unchanged world, while trinkets available for visitors to buy are not only charming souvenirs but also a vital source of income for villagers.