Amboseli White Elephant Safari

Amboseli National Park

Amboseli National Park is situated on the border with Tanzania and is located in SE Kenya. The most notable aspects of the park are its large population of free roaming elephants that live inside the park and also the iconic views of Mt Kilimanjaro.

Unfortunately, Mt Kilimanjaro actually lies on the Tanzanian side of the border. However, at 5895 meters (above sea level) it is the tallest mountain in Africa and is a very prominent feature on the horizon. Mt Kilimanjaro is of volcanic origin although it is currently dormant and the last eruption occurred over a million years ago. 

mt kilimanjaroPhoto of Mt Kilimanjaro on the evening of our arrival at Amboseli National Park.

Amboseli means “salty dust” in the local Maasai dialect. The landscape is indeed very dry and scrubby. However, the park also features 2 large swamps which offer a year round water source for wildlife in the park. This is a huge benefit for photographers because it makes the animals easy to locate.

Animals in Amboseli National Park

Amboseli features a wide diversity of animals such as elephants, African buffalo, hippopotamus, hyena, baboons and over 400 species of bird. The swamps are a good place to find the elephants and we set out at first light to locate them for some photographs.

The Amboseli White Elephants

Fortunately, we were able to find the elephants straight away. They had been bathing in the swamps and the mineral content of the mud gave them a ghost like appearance.

white elephants amboseli national park kenyaThe white elephants of Amboseli National Park.

baby white elephant amboseli national parkBaby white elephant under protection of the herd.

white elephant at amboseli national park Adolescent elephant at Amboseli National Park.

The white elephants of Amboseli had just emerged from a bath. However, the objective of an elephant bath is to actually get dirty rather than clean. This helps the elephant stay free of parasites which can attach themselves if the elephant’s skin is unprotected.

Elephants also enjoy a good dust bath to supplement their recent mud bath.

white elephants amboseli national park kenya

elephant dust bath amboseli national park kenya

elephant dust bath amboseli national park kenya

Hippopotamus

Other fascinating animal species at Amboseli include the hippopotamus. Due to their heavy weight load the hippos are not able to travel very far so they need a permanent water source. Hippos spend most days completely submerged and usually only enter dry land at night to forage for food. 

hippopotamus amboseli national parkThese 3 hippos appear to be in search of cooler water.

hippopotamus amboseli national parkThis hippo is getting ready to bite the other one on the rump.

The Grey Crowned Crane

The grey crowned crane is a species of bird found frequently in sub Saharan Africa. It is the national bird of neighboring Uganda and it is also featured on the Uganda national flag. Although the grey crowned crane has recently been listed as an endangered species it is commonly sighted in Kenya at Amboseli National Park.

grey crowned crane amboseli national parkThe grey crowned crane is a very photogenic bird.

Elephant Sunrise At Amboseli

On the last day we left the lodge at sunrise and were able to get some iconic photos of a massive elephant standing in front of Mt Kilimanjaro. It appears that it had snowed on the mountain the night before as the snow had crept much further down the mountain compared to the day of our arrival.

sunrise photo of elephant with mt kilimanjaro

sunrise photo of elephant with mt kilimanjaro

Conclusion

Capturing these 2 iconic photos on the last day of our safari was icing on the cake. We had been on safari for one week at Maasai Mara, Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha and finally Amboseli National Park. The safari parks in Kenya truly are the best in the world and I hope to visit them again in the future.

 

 

 

Additional Resources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amboseli_National_Park
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_crowned_crane
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Kilimanjaro