Is an Amboseli National Park safari worth it – the answer is yes of course. But let me explain in more detail why this less-crowded National Park is worth adding to your Kenya itinerary. We added a safari in Amboseli National Park to our Honeymoon itinerary. And man, are we glad we did! A safari in Amboseli is less-popular and less-crowded than Kenya’s other National Park, the Masai Mara. Plus, it has an abundance of elephants (we saw over 100 in one day!!)
Where is Amboseli National Park?
Being set against Africa’s highest mountain – Mt Kilimanjaro makes for a spectacular backdrop for Amboseli National Park. Covering almost 400 sqm, Amboseli is one of the best National Parks in Africa for wildlife viewing. This is due to its low rainfall & high concentration of animals.
Amboseli National Park is situated about 240km South East of Nairobi. It is easily reached by car from Nairobi – taking approximately 3 hours door to door. Or why not catch the very clean & very safe train from Nairobi to nearby Emali for a lot cheaper. Ask your accomodation in Amboseli to pick you up from Emali train station. FYI – most accomodation in Amboseli will do this for a fee.
What is the best place to stay in Amboseli National Park?
We spent two nights in total at Amboseli, we stayed at the very unique Maasai Simba Camp. Located on the outskirts of the National Park. Maasai Simba Camp is run by the local Maasai people. It was one of the best & most authentic experiences of our entire month-long tour of Africa.
Your accomodation here is a basic wooden cabin but very clean & comfortable. Featuring your own private bathroom & hot shower. All of your meals are included but the best part for us was that staying here offered us a unique glimpse into life as a Maasai. The package we booked with Simba Camp included a sunset walking Safari; a full day in Amboseli National Park with a driver/guide & a packed lunch; a jewellery making session with the Masai women and a sunrise walking Safari.
All of the profits from Simba Camp go towards helping the local community, and you can see the positive effect of the Camp when you drive through the village.
We highly highly recommend this to anyone who wants to experience something a little different.
Amboseli National Park has the largest polulation of African Elephants of any place on earth
In fact it is estimated that over 1600 African elephants live in Amboseli. Not only this but some of the biggest elephants live here too, both in body and tusk size. This fact alone was what piqued my interest in Amboseli in the first place as elephants are my favourite animal. So, if you love elephants (like me) then you must add a safari in Amboseli National Park to your Africa bucketlist.
What can you expect to see on an average day on safari in Amboseli
From our personal experience, spending just one full day on safari in Amboseli we saw countless African elephants (easily 100 or more). We also saw numerous buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, impala and warthog. Never far away from their prey were hyenas, jackals and serval cats. Towards the end of our tour our driver spotted three lion cubs without their mother. This was clearly a rarity, the excitement was evident as dozens of cars pulled up to watch these babies.
We broke our long day up nicely with a stop at Observation Hill for a picnic. Observation Hill has a fantastic vantage point of the swam. From here you can watch huge African elephants wading through the grassy green water cooling down and eating the surrounding plants.
How does Amboseli compare to more popular parks like Serengeti
We were lucky enough to experience both Serengeti and Amboseli on this trip. Honestly, it’s very difficult to compare them as they are two very different safari experiences.
Firstly, Serengeti is huge – there is no way you could spend just a day in the Serengeti. The area is so large and each part of the park is very different with different animals to see in each part. We actually did 3 full days of Safari in Serengeti as this is what all the safari company’s recommended. We’re so glad we listened to their advice. We could have spent longer in the Serengeti if I’m honest. So, if you’re short on time and still want a fantastic wildlife viewing experience then Amboseli will be better suited to you.
Secondly, if you came to Africa to see the big cats like lions, cheetah’s & leopards then Serengeti is the place for you as we saw these in abundance here. Whereas on safari in Amboseli we saw but a few lion and the three cubs I mentioned earlier.
Our honest summary of Amboseli National Park
Back to my first question in this piece – is a safari in Amboseli National Park worth it? Yes it definitely is, especially if you’re after a safari experience away from the crowds that Serenegti & Maasai Mara attract. If you love elephants – you will easily see, as I did over 100 in a day. From huge bull elephants to the cutest baby elephants. Are you after a National Park that’s not too difficult to get to? Perfect – Amboseli is just over 3 hours in a car from Kenya’s capital city Nairobi.
There’s a lot more positive reasons than the above to add a safari in Amboseli to your Africa itinerary. But, I’ll stop here in order to to keep this piece short & sweet.
Tell me have you visited Amboseli National Park? I would love to hear your thoughts on it in the comment section below.
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