But the park is also home to many predators like lion, cheetah and leopard. A natural swamp, fed by the melting snows of Kilimanjaro, is filled with large pods of very contented hippos, plenty of crocodiles, and also a prolific number of birds (over 400 species recorded).
There are not many trees, but the vast open plains means that wildlife spotting is a cinch here, and very rewarding. Even though the landscape is dry, the earth is a wonderfully rich red color and stunningly beautiful. Observation Hill situated close to the swamps in the park is a perfect picnic spot, offering visitors the chance to stretch their legs and soak in the view, while listening to contented hippos munch on the grass below.
Amboseli National Park covers 392km² (151 miles²) and has a mixed topography of plains, acacia woodland, rocky thorn bush, swamps and marshes. The roads in Amboseli have a loose surface of volcanic soil that is dusty in the dry season and impassable in the wet season. Luckily the wet season does not last too long, so the park is open for most of the year. Amboseli is home to the "Big Five" along with cheetah, hyena, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, hippo and much more.
Getting to Amboseli
By Road: from Nairobi, the drive to Amboseli takes around 4 hours. Traffic in Nairobi can be pretty dire, so add on an hour if your hotel is near the city center. The main road into the park is from Nairobi via Namanga (240 km) on the Nairobi - Arusha Road, through Meshanani Gate. The other road is from Nairobi via Emali (228 km) on the Nairobi - Mombasa Road. Access from Mombasa is mainly through Tsavo West National Park via Kimana (Olkelunyiet) Gate.
Meeting the Maasai
The Maasai own most of the land surrounding the small national park. They live a traditional pastoralist lifestyle for the most part. One of the big attractions for many visitors is to visit a local Maasai village and get a little insight into their rich culture.