Amboseli National Park is one of the finest places in Africa for an elephant safari. The prize is to watch a herd of elephant browsing in the foreground with the cone of snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro rising behind them. It’s one of Africa’s iconic sights, and one of Kenya’s best safari experiences.
We’d come on this particular Kenyan safari to witness one of Africa’s most iconic sights: elephant viewed against the backdrop of snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro. Like the pyramids of Egypt or Victoria Falls, nothing quite prepares you for the majesty of this encounter with ancient, sublime Africa.
Our quest for our elephant safari had brought us to Amboseli National Park in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya. The lodge we’d chosen – one of Kenya’s best safari lodges – had a fine location, with uninterrupted views of Kilimanjaro. What’s more, it lay directly in the path of seasonal elephant migrations.
We headed out from our lodge in the late afternoon. The ranger in our open 4×4 scanned the horizon, looking for grey giants. ‘Amboseli is famed for being one of the best places on the continent to get close to free-ranging elephant,’ said David, our ranger. ‘I just love this land with its big skies and far horizons, combined with swampy springs and dry, dusty earth trampled by great herds of browsers and grazers. It’s simply magical.’
Our guide told us that Amboseli was 39,200ha in size and lay at the heart of a vast, 800,000ha ecosystem that extended across the Kenya–Tanzania border. ‘The park has an endless underground water supply, filtered through layers of volcanic rock from Kilimanjaro’s ice cap, which funnel into two clear-water springs in the heart of the park,’ he said. ‘This ecosystem is unique: no other place in Africa combines its special hydrology, topography, geology and cultural history.’