​Wildlife & Animals – Amboseli NP

Anthony Ham
Expert
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Kenya.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Anthony is the author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Amboseli National Park is one of Kenya’s most popular parks and offers great wildlife viewing. The park is famous for its elephants, but most big safari animals can be spotted here. Black rhino is no longer found here, and leopards are very rarely seen, but the other three of the Big Five are present. The open plains can be excellent for seeing cheetah. The plains support an abundance of large herbivores including wildebeest, plains zebra and Grant's and Thomson's gazelle.

Abundant
Common
Occasional
Rare
None
ElephantAbundant
GiraffeCommon
HippoCommon
BuffaloAbundant
ZebraAbundant
WildebeestAbundant
LionOccasional
LeopardRare to None
CheetahOccasional
HyenaCommon

Wildlife Highlights

Elephants are Amboseli’s specialty. Big herds roam the dusty plains morning and evening. During the day many elephants spend their time partially submerged, foraging in the park’s swamps. Having been protected from poaching, Amboseli’s elephants carry impressive ivory and are very relaxed around cars. Cheetah and lion sightings are fairly common, and there’s a spotted hyena den northeast of the airstrip. Watch for bohor reedbuck lying low in the grass.

Best Time for Wildlife Viewing

Amboseli can be visited throughout the year, but the best wildlife watching is in the Dry season (June to October) when animals gather around marshes and other predictable water sources. When it’s dry, animals crossing the sandy plains kick up a lot of dust, offering great photo opportunities in the late afternoon. The dry spell between the rains, from January to February, can also be a great time for wildlife viewing.

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