Safarilink operates a daily scheduled flight to Amboseli. This early morning flight allows passengers returning from Amboseli to connect directly to Safarilink flights to the Maasai Mara‚ Nanyuki‚ Lewa‚ Loisaba‚ Samburu‚ Lamu‚ Diani and Kilimanjaro.
Amboseli National Park is renowned for the huge herds of elephant that roam its expanse‚ and for spectacular views of Mt Kilimanjaro‚ Africa’s tallest mountain and the highest freestanding mountain in the world. One of the most popular parks in Kenya‚ Amboseli has a wide variety of wildlife‚ including all the Big Five‚ and a number of rare species including wild dogs‚ lesser kudu and nocturnal porcupine. The 600 species of birdlife recorded here include waterfowls such as pelicans‚ kingfishers‚ crakes‚ hammerkops and Egyptian geese. Activities in the park include game viewing‚ bird watching‚ visiting Maasai villages and elephant research.
The area is named from the Maasai word Empusel‚ meaning salty‚ dusty place‚ although this does not give credit to the extraordinary range of habitats found in the ecosystem‚ from the arid areas of the dry lake bed to the lush oases around the swamps. Observation Hill gives panoramic views of the park‚ and overlooks a swamp that attracts high numbers of elephants‚ buffalos and hippos.
Amboseli was assigned to the Maasai in 1906‚ when it was called the Southern Reserve. It became a game reserve in 1948‚ and a national park in 1974‚ in order to protect the land and the animals that live on it. In 1991‚ UNESCO declared it a biosphere reserve. Cynthia Moss started the Amboseli Elephant Research Project here in 1972; to date‚ the project has identified and recorded‚ often by name‚ more than 1‚400 elephants.
Selenkay Conservancy‚ to the north of Amboseli National Park‚ is an important dispersal area for wildlife migrating through Amboseli. Porini Ecotourism leases the land from the local community and limits the number of visitors to the conservancy‚ giving the community a regular income and ensuring the animals remain truly wild. Rare animals seen in the conservancy recently include caracal‚ African wild cat‚ serval cat‚ genet cat‚ honey badger and striped hyena.
The region is home to the nomadic Maasai people‚ famed for their prowess as warriors and for their distinctive red clothes and ornate beadwork. Cattle are the most prized possessions of the Maasai‚ who regard them as wealth and use them for dowries‚ fines and ceremonies. The Maasai pass through a series of rites of passage in their lives‚ taking them from initiation through the levels of warrior to the highly respected position of elder. Several Maasai villages in the Amboseli area are open to visitors and give an insight into the culture and traditions of the Maasai people.