Amboseli National Park Elephant Safari

Amboseli National Park Safari

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. 

Photo Mt Kilimanjaro - Amboseli National Park Safari

Photo 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.

Amboseli National Park Safari Animals

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.

White Elephants – Amboseli National Park

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.

Photo White Elephants - Amboseli National Park Safari

The white elephants of Amboseli National Park.

Baby Elephant - Amboseli National Park Safari

Baby elephant under protection of the herd.

Photo Adolescent Elephant - Amboseli National Park Safari

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.

Photo Elephants Taking Dust Bath - Amboseli National Park Safari

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

Photo Elephant Dust Dath - Amboseli National Park Safari

The elephant’s twisting trunk makes the picture look surreal.

Photo Elephant Dust Bath - Amboseli National Park Safari

This herd of elephants is what is known as a matriarch herd because they are breeding elephants. The adult males live independent of the matriarchs.

Hippopotamus at Amboseli National Park

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 Park Safari

These 3 hippos appear to be in search of cooler water.

Photo Hippopotamus - Amboseli National Park Safari

This hippo is getting ready to bite the other one on the rump.

The Grey Crowned Crane at Amboseli

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.

Photo Grey Crowned Cranes - Amboseli National Park Safari

The grey crowned crane is a very photogenic bird.

Elephant Sunrise at Amboseli National Park

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 Background - Amboseli National Park Safari

Sunrise Photo of Me and Elephant with Mt Kilimanjaro Background - Amboseli National Park

I was lucky to get this sunrise photo of the elephant and Mt Kilimanjaro in the background.

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