Amboseli Elephant wildebeest

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Last updated 27/09/2013

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Photos from our mega Fam trip safari in Kenya from 8th - 15th December 2009 can be viewed here


Safari photos from our 2nd fam trip (May 2010) can be viewed here and 3rd fam trip Jan 2011 here 
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Amboseli is justly famous for it’s big game – elephants, lions and cheetahs are the main attractions – and for it’s great scenic beauty.

The 3810sqkm (1,259sq miles) of this National Park and Game Reserve embody five main wildlife habitats, plus a generally dry lake-bed, Lake Amboseli, from which it takes it’s name. These are open plains; extensive stands of yellow-barked acacia woodland; rocky, lava strewn thorn-bush country; swamps and marshes; and at the western end of the Reserve, above Namanga, the massif of Oldoinyo Orok rising to over 2,760 (8,300ft) and still for the most part zoologically unexplored.

The landscape is everywhere dominated by the glistening, majestic snow-cap of Kilimanjaro immediately to the south – Africa’s highest mountain (5,894m-19,340ft) – a fitting back-drop to a wild region where the pastoral Masai and their cattle have lived in harmony with wild creatures for many a century.

Elephant, Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Maasai Giraffe and Buffalo may all be encountered during a single morning’s drive of about 90km (50-60 miles), together with plains game such as Common Zebra, Eland, Coke’s Hartebeest, White-bearded Gnu, Common Waterbuck, Thompson’s and Grant’s Gazelle and Impala. Black Rhino can still be seen occasionally although they are now rare due to poaching in the mid-1970’s.

Bird life is equally abundant, especially in the vicinity of the lakes and swamps where a great variety of water birds may be seen. That rarity in East Africa, the Madagascar Squacco Heron, turns up at fairly regular intervals and the plover with the habits of a lily-trotter, the Long-toed Lapwing, is a resident in small numbers. Sandgrouse of three species, Yellow-throated, Chestnut-bellied and Black-faced, water in their hundreds during the dry season, announcing their arrival at their favourite drinking place with far-carrying gutteral sounding flock calls.

Birds of prey are verywell represented. Including the six species of vultures no less than 47 different kinds have been recorded from Amboseli, amongst which are two great rarities, The Taita Falcon and the Southern Banded Harrier Eagle.


In the Central highlands a couple of hundred kilometers north of the equator lays Mt Kenya an extinct volcano, Africa's second highest mountain at 5,199mtrs. Mt Kenya is located 180km north of Nairobi. It's snow-capped peaks; Batain and Nelion are in view for miles around on the clear day. These peaks are regularly scaled by experience climbers, though few make it to the very top. Lenana, the third peak, is the most popular for climbing as it is relatively easy. The scenery is stunning and quite breathtaking. It is also a botanist's paradise, with a wide variation in flora as the altitude changes.


Situated in the environs of Lake Naivasha, about 90 km from Nairobi is Hell's Gate National Park, which covers an area of 68.25 km2. The park is situated 14 km after the turnoff from the old Nairobi-Naivasha highway. The National Park covers a small area, but the landscape is impressive and can be explored on foot. Hell's Gate is characterized by diverse topography and geological scenery and is famous for its natural geysers, eagle and vulture breeding grounds. Two extinct volcanoes; Olkaria and Hobley's are located here. The entrance to the gorge is marked by Fischer's Tower, a 25m tall volcanic pinnacle. Animals like Giraffe, hartebeest, zebra, Thomson's gazelle, buffalo, eland and impala can be seen grazing on the grasslands.


Lake Nakuru, a small shallow alkaline lake (it varies from 5 to 30 sq km) on the edge of the town of Nakuru lies about 160 km north of Nairobi. The lake is world famous as the location of the greatest bird spectacle on earth - serving as the congregation point for a roseatte mass of some 100,000 to 2 million flamingos and over 450 other species of birds - a spectacle of immense beauty. Lake Nakuru National Park is also the first rhino sanctuary in Kenya, which has recently been enlarged partly to provide a sanctuary for black rhino. The park is unquestionably "the greatest ornithological spectacle on earth." Other wildlife to be seen in the park are waterbuck, reedbuck, zebra, impala, Gazelle, lion, leopard, buffalo, hippo, and rhino, especially in the olive tree forest to the south west.


Situated on the floor of the great Rift Valley is Lake Naivasha, a spectacular freshwater lake some 50 miles south of Lake Nakuru. Surrounded by mountains, Lake Naivasha boasts good bass fishing, bird watching, and easy walking on Crescent Island covering 170 sq kms. This beautiful freshwater lake surrounded by rolling hills and extinct volcanoes is home to over 450 species of birds. The lake's water is used to irrigate the bountiful agriculture, part of Kenya's massive horticultural export industry. A visit to these farms, for those interested in agriculture, is well worthwhile. Strawberries, flowers, asparagus and numerous other crops are grown for domestic consumption and export. Black bass and tilapia make for entertaining fishing and a delicious meal.
Location: Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Somalia and Tanzania.

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