It seemed a shame to be traveling to Kenya and not experience the magic of a Safari to a game preserve to see some of the diverse wildlife that Africa offers.
So Stephen and I set out for a 24 hour trip to the Amboseli National Park in the southwest corner of Kenya in the shadow of Kilimanjaro.
We stayed one night at the Serena Amboseli Lodge that is within the park and handy to access the many dirt roads that wind throughout. We had a great time driving around in our own vehicle which gave us the opportunity to just stop and observe the animals as long as we liked. At times we were within a few meters of elephants and hippos and wildebeest and as long as we just sat there quietly they went about their business and paid us no heed.
The park was very dry as there has been a prolonged drought in the area so the savannah portion was brown and dusty and lacking much for the animals to feed on. Amboseli Park does have several small lakes that are fed from springs so there is water and even aquatic vegetation that the animals could feed on. The peak of Kilimanjaro often hides in the clouds and unfortunately we didn’t get a clear period to see it although the base is evident from the park.
The stars of the show are the Amboseli elephants and there are lots of them. I have put together a 5 minute YouTube video of the elephants we spent time with. (Below). Put it on full screen. Elephants are big. Enjoy.
NOTE: This post has a video image. If you are reading the post on an email you must click on the title of the post to be taken to the WordPress site where the video can be streamed.
When one goes on a game drive in Africa, there is always the hope to come across lions. Sometimes they are not that easy to find, particularly during mid day when they tend to lay under the bushes and nap. I really didn’t expect to see lions on our morning drive in Murchison Park, Uganda but within half an hour we came upon two young female lions right out on the road in front of our vehicle.
We stopped and watched them for a while – always a pleasure.
Nairobi Park is an unusual spot. Only seven kilometers from the very centre of Nairobi, it has 117 square km of protected game park that has many species of animals including giraffes, buffalo, lions, black rhinos, crocodiles, several species of antelopes and birds. It is fenced along the city side but is open at the south-west end to allow free migration in and out from the Serengeti system. As the population of Nairobi and surrounding area grows, humans are increasingly encroaching on this ecosystem and soon it will likely be cut off entirely from the larger game areas of the Serengeti, Amboseli and Massai Mara.
Although it feels a bit like a zoo, it is a natural open environment for local wild animals – no cages and the carnivores hunt down their food. It is a large area and, depending on how long you have to drive in the park or how long the grass is, you can see many animals or just a few. We arrived in Nairobi on Sunday evening and by 4 pm on Monday had seen gazelles, giraffes, hartebeest, topi and even one female lion who was resting up not far from a herd of antelope – likely waiting for dusk to make a hunt. When she lay down in the long grass she melted away and was impossible to see. Great camouflage.
A group of giraffes munched on the leaves of trees in one area against a backdrop of the city.
The park also has an area containing the ashes from the historic burning in of elephant tusks ivory worth sixty million Kenyan Shillings 1989 – a demonstration of the government’s commitment to putting a moratorium on ivory sales. For some time the poaching of elephants for their tusks diminished however, even as recent as last week, there has been more news about elephant poaching in one of the other Kenyan parks. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20944859)
There are no elephants in Nairobi Park.