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Monday, 17 August 2015

Amboselli- a plethora of natural beauty

African continent is a place of immense resources; starting from mineral reserve, floriculture and ending in tourism industry, Africa is the most happening place in the world presently. I stay in Kenya since the last five years and I am a voracious traveller. Whenever I chance upon a holiday, I pack my bags and set off for the next adventure. This time my target was Amboselli, a national reserve which is a 4 hour drive from Nairobi. Situated at 230 km south of Nairobi, a reserve forest 8,000 sq. kms. , bordering Tanzania – Amboselli had attracted huge number of foreign and domestic tourists every year. But a trip to the place had actually revealed the beauty and the ambience- a reason why travellers call it the ‘homeland of the wild animals’.

Mt. Kilimanjaro- the highest peak is Africa attracts thousands of tourists for it's magnificiency

I started early in the morning so that I could actually reach the place before lunch hours. Amboselli offers a wide range of hotels suiting your budget. Starting from lavish 5 star hotels and ending in tented camps – you may choose any accommodation depending on your affordability and comfort. The rates of hotel and other accommodation are highly seasonal.  A non -resident is charged 90 $ per night while a resident is charged 1200 KSH. Charges for children and students are lower. The car parking charges are generally done in US dollars or Safari card.

The entrance to Amboselli National Park

The entry into the hotel was a ‘great feel’. The rustic décor and arrangement will give you a real ‘wild life ‘ambience. Generally hotels have electric fencing thereby allowing you a full view of the jungle and your eyes will follow miles before you see herbivores grazing near the hotel area. This is an enthralling experience.

After having an awesome lunch we proceeded towards our first game drive at 4 in afternoon. The first view that enthralled was the mighty Kilimanjaro. I had goose bumps viewing the highest peak. It was like viewing the rooftop of Africa. We climbed a small hill from where we had the best view of the highest peak. With buffalo skulls all around as a part of the décor, we had a feel that this must be a challenging place. We came down to board the car while other travellers preferred to have their tea and snacks at the hill top.

Herbivores seen at the Amboselli
We saw various herbivores- impala, giraffe, hippos, wildebeest, zebra and elephant. The number of elephants in Amboselli is quite plenty. There is an elephant research centre which conducts various researches on elephants and emphasize towards a better future of the beautiful animals.

Birds of various types 

Amboselli is said to be the shelter of 400 species of birds. We were not so lucky to see all the types. Our eyes caught – Africa sacred Ibise, Ostrich, Ardea and White pelican.  Various migratory birds too are seen seasonally. We observed a scintillating view of the sunset and recorded every moment of it. Nowhere in the world can a sunset be so beautiful and serene. The chirping of birds and returning of animals were clearly observed.

The best sunset ever

It’s mandatory to reach hotel and camps by 6:30 evening. We had a nice time in the hotel and slept comfortably. Early next morning I was enthralled to see the full view of Kilimanjaro from the hotel.  Mount Kili is seen best during the morning hours and evening hours before sunset.

Swampy lands are a favorite shelter of Amboselli animals


When we were set for the game drive for the next day we were lucky to see a group of lions who were finishing off a zebra, the lioness killed for the family. We stopped and took photographs as the lions nibbled through the meat.  Lions happen to be a lazy animal and feed on zebra, wildebeest. The habit and habitat of the animals were explained to us by the guide.  We were lucky to see a python.
We drove elsewhere where our eyes caught the sight of wild boar, hyena and buffalo. We were not lucky to view a cheetah. A cheetah is said to be a very active animal and runs after gazelle for prey. We saw hyenas and vultures waiting to finish off the rest of the meat after the lion family.  Lions are generally social animals and prefer to stay in groups. The kids are cared by the lioness and she hunts prey for the family. The male lion prefers to get the first share of the meat followed by the lioness and the cubs.
The carnivores stay  in groups and share their prey

The masais are an inevitable part and a good attraction to the tourists. They will invite the guests and give a glimpse of their culture. Various artifacts and souveneirs sold by them can  be a good gift item to a person you love.

The flora in Amboselli is savannah grassland type which consists of rolling grassland and swampy marshy lands. Amboselli was established in 1968 and was gazetted as a National reserve in 1974 by the Kenyan Government.

Amboselli which means ‘salty dust’ is the remains of the volcanic ash that resulted 360,000 years before when the Mount Kilimanjaro erupted last. If you are fond of bird watching, camping, , wildlife viewing, photo graphing or watching the mighty Kilimanjaro  then Amboselli will be the most desired place of your choice.

I will simply not forget the serene flora, enchanting animals and lastly the majestic view of Mount Kilimanjaro. The awesome hospitality is not to be forgotten. Kenya is loved for a number of reasons and tourism will always remain a priority.