The Amboseli National Park is Kenya’s second most popular National Park and is about 260 kilometres from Nairobi on very good roads once you are off the very busy Nairobi-Mombasa Road. It is not a huge park but does have a big concentration of animals so game viewing is very successful. Still having no van and no roof top tent we had booked into the AA Lodge which is just outside the Amboseli National Park gate and stayed there for three nights. It was a lovely place to stay but after having slept so well on our Karavan bed we were just about over hard beds which this hotel had. Our accomodation included all meals and they were very good and they even sent us off with lunch packs when we went into the park for the day. We were up nice and early on our first day so that we could be in the park as soon as it opened at 7am. Amboseli National Park is in southern Kenya just on the northern side of Mt Kilimanjaro so we had fantastic views of the mountain from time to time. The park is absolutely beautiful and the vegetation was quite lush and green from recent rains. A lot of the park is quite marshy and there are loads of elephants who were just feasting on the lush grass.
We also started seeing a lot of Crested Cranes which are so majestic and a bird that I have distinct memories of when I lived in Kenya as a child.
We also saw a massive population of Flamingoes on Lake Amboselli looking resplendent in their lovely pink plumage.
In the middle of the almost flat park is a hill called Observation Hill where we were able to have our morning coffee break and from the top you can see almost the whole park from the open plains to the wetlands areas and also a great view of Mt Kilimanjaro.
We heard from a guide that there was a big male lion out on the plain and so we set off to see if we could find him but he had obviously moved on so we continued on seeing big herds of Buffalo, Zebra, Wildebeest and lots of elephants.
We then found a great spot to stop for lunch overlooking a wet lands full of different water birds, especially a lot of big fat Pelicans.
Anyway we pulled our chairs out and enjoyed watching all that was going on. After we got going again we had traveled no more than 500 metres when we came upon the big male lion just resting by the side of the road!
Further on we passed a couple of Hyenas lazing by a water course and then just a little bit further on we found the den with a mother and baby inside.
On the way out of the park we stopped and watched some Elephants which is something we could do for hours. Amboseli National Park was one of our favourite parks to visit and in our opinion not one to be missed.
The next day we went on a walking visit of around a 9 kilometre round trip to a Masai Village with one of the men who works at the lodge as our guide. It was really interesting learning all about the way they live and how much importance they put on their livestock and the environment. They danced for us and with us and also demonstrated to us just how how thigh hey could jump and how low we could!
Then they took us in through the village. They have an outer ring of thorn tree branches, then a circle of huts, then another circle of thorn tree branches and then inside all of it is the boma (animal enclosure).
They showed us how they light a fire using a piece of hardwood as a base, a soft wood stick that they take in turns to twist and then some dried elephant poo that they light.
Then we had look inside one of the huts that incidentally are built by the women in teams of two. Two women dig the foundations, two others gather the timber for the frame, two others the elephant grass for the roof and two others make up the mud walls with a mixture of mud and dung. Inside were three rooms with just a partition separating them, a main bedroom and a children’s bedroom separated by a kitchen. The beds had a base made from branches with a cow skin cover that was quite hard and dry and all the children sleep in the bed together. The inside was very smoky and musty but surprisingly light from the many small openings around the hut.
We then bought some really nice bits of homemade jewellery and trinkets before the hot walk back to the lodge for a refreshing swim in the pool and a couple of ice cold Kilimanjaro’s! The next morning we set off for Nairobi with only a week left before we fly home for our Christmas holiday.