Category Archives: Amboseli National Park

Amboseli National Park is elephant haven, and the only place in Kenya where you can wake up to the majestic view of snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro.

This National Park is situated about 240 km from the capital city Nairobi, and it is accessible using a number of routes. You can drive to Amboseli National Park through Namanga, Emali or Loitoktok. If you are heading to this park from Mombasa, you will pass through Tsavo West National Park and access Amboseli through Kimana Gate. From Nairobi, you can use Meshanani Gate from Namanga or Eremito Gate from Emali.

Alternatively, fly from Nairobi to Amboseli Airstrip or to an airstrip in Namanga that serves the park. It will take about 30 minutes. Airlines that fly to Amboseli include Safarilink and AirKenya.

Accommodation in Amboseli National Park

Most lavish camps are in the southern section of the park, offering uninterrupted views of Mount Kilimanjaro. Sadly, luxury camps in Amboseli are more than the number of budget accommodation options. The few budget camps in Amboseli are either outside the park or they are basic accommodation facilities with just what you need for a goodnight’s sleep.  The cost of budget accommodation outside the park can range from Ksh. 3, 000 for bed and breakfast or self-catering to about Ksh. 12, 000 for bed and breakfast.

On the other hand, a night in a luxury camp within the camp can cost from Ksh.14, 000 on full board basis excluding park entry fees. You can also stay in Loitoktok and access the park through Kimana Gate.

There are several conservancies too around the park, to enhance conservation of the Amboseli ecosystem. When you stay in conservancies around the park, you can enjoy game drives in the conservancy as well as in the park.

In addition to the flora and fauna of the Amboseli ecosystem, you will also learn about the culture of the Maasai community through cultural tours to villages around the national park. Some camps and lodges also organise community development projects that you can donate to such as community-run schools and health centres.

Things to Do in Amboseli National Park

Observation Hill is the southern section of the park. This is one of the best game viewing spots, and a favourite spot for sundowners in the park. But, whether you stay within or near the park, there is so much to make you want to spend the whole day in the plains of Amboseli.

This park has a variety of swamps and acacia woodlands among other types of vegetation cover. Swamps in Amboseli include Longinye Swamp, Erimito Swamp, Ol Tukai Swamp, Ol Okenya Swamp and Enkongu Narok Swamp. The underground water feeds Lake Kioko, Lake Sinek, Lake Avocet, Lake Nikiita, Lake Conch. Lake Amboseli is a seasonal lake located in the western section of the park.  In addition to elephants, you will also spot zebras, gazelles, elands and hundreds of bird species.

Hotels near Amboseli National Park

Staying within a national park is of course the most desirable option, but even around a national park you can find a property that meets your hospitality needs. Hotels near Amboseli National Park are as varied as the ones within.

Around Amboseli, you can stay in private game conservancies, or in towns like Emali and Loitoktok, ready for the daily commute to the national park. National park entrance tickets expire in 24 hours, so when staying inside the park or in hotels near Amboseli National Park, you will pay park entry every day.

Hotels near Amboseli National Park cater to budget and luxury accommodation needs. Here are the most popular of these camps and lodges.

  1. Amboseli Sopa Lodge

Amboseli Sopa Lodge is about 20 km from the park, and about three hours by road from Nairobi. This lavish camp is one of the most popular hotels near Amboseli National park, and it is situated on 200 acres of serene plains facing Mount Kilimanjaro.

At this lodge, accommodation is in cabins with en-suite facilities and balconies looking out to the plains.  There are double and single rooms. Additionally, there is a honeymoon suite and a presidential suite.

Amboseli Sopa Lodge activities are:

  • Game drives
  • Swimming
  • Watching Maasai traditional dancers
  • Bush dining
  • Cultural visits
  1. Kimana Camp

Kimana Camp is ideal for those seeking the adventures of a wildlife safari without the comforts of lavish living in the wild. Kimana Camp has both tents and cottages with en-site facilities. It has a capacity of 48 guests, and there is a camping site too.

In addition, there is a dining room, and a conference room with essentials like plastic seats and tables. Kimana Camp is just a five minutes’ drive from Amboseli National Park’s Kimana Gate. By air, your options are an airstrip near Namanga or the one within Amboseli National Park.

  1. Kibo Safari Camp

It is situated in the south eastern corner of the park, a distance from the park headquarters. Kibo Safari is one of the top-rated luxury camps in Amboseli, near the park. It provides accommodation in single, double, triple and family tents, totaling 73 en-suite units.

These spacious tents are raised from the ground by a permanent floor, with four pillars of natural stones holding the thatched permanent roof.  Inside the tent, you have unmatched views of the lush savannah, shrub, thickets and the postcard worthy peak of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Kibo Safari Camp’s eco-friendly design blends into the Amboseli ecosystem perfectly, and the interior of the en-suite tents boasts safari yellows, browns and navy green. The tents are furnished with a variety of handcrafted wooden sofas, reading desks and bedside stools.

Additionally, the open terraced restaurant serves a variety of cuisines made with fresh ingredients picked from the camp’s garden. This spacious restaurant has an individual tables’ set-up so you can enjoy a meal alone or around your family and friends.

Kibo Safari Camp activities are:

  • Swimming
  • Game drives
  • Guided walks
  • Getting a massage
  • Watching energetic Maasai dancers around a bonfire (in the evening)
  • Cultural visits
  1. Tawi Lodge

Tawi Lodge’s 13 luxurious cabins are furnished with four-poster beds and en-suite bathrooms. This eco-friendly lodge is situated in Tawi Conservancy. It is one of the luxury hotels near Amboseli National Park. Guest can relax indoors in any of the lounges and bars, or outside while viewing animals that frequent a nearby water hole.

Guests are treated to a variety of cuisines made with organically grown vegetables from the lodge’s garden.  After meals, the lodge serves wine from its collection in the cellar.

You can fly to Amboseli Airstrip from Nairobi, or if you would like a charter flight, Tawi Lodge has a private airstrip for you to land. From any of the two airstrips, you will be transferred to the lodge.

Tawi Lodge activities are:

  • Game drives in the park and the conservancy
  • Bird watching
  • Swimming in the lodge’s heated pool
  1. Amboseli Porini Camp

Amboseli Porini Camp is an intimate nine-tent luxury camp situated in a serene spot in a forest of acacia tortilis trees. This camp is one of the few camps in Amboseli with no permanent buildings like a bar or a pool. Expect a bush safari like it was in the 1920s with the plains to explore and a spacious double or single bed tent for the night. However, unlike in the 1920s, you will stay in an en-suite tent with a modern toilet and a shower.

Meals at Porini Camp Amboseli are served under a tree in the compound. In the evenings, guests gather around a campfire to trade safari stories and listen to the plains going quiet for the night.

Amboseli Porini Camp is set on a private game sanctuary known as Selenkay Conservation Area, which is north of Amboseli National Park.  You can fly into this conservancy through Amboseli Airstrip, or wait for the minibus that drives guests from Nairobi to the camp. This bus gets to the camp around 1pm. The 15, 000 acre area is dispersal zone for wildlife migration into or out of Amboseli. This camp is about a three hour drive from Nairobi.

Amboseli Porini Camp activities are:

  • Guided day and night game drives in Selenkay Conservation Area.
  • Game drives in Amboseli National Park
  • Cultural visits
  • Sundowners
  1. Amboseli Bush Camp

As one of the cheap camps near Amboseli National Park, expect basic camping facilities on self-catering basis. Ideally, stay here when backpacking your way through Kenya’s main national parks. Amboseli Bush Camp sits on about 300 acres of land in one of the most diverse ecosystems, about 5 km from Amboseli National Park’s Kimana Gate, and about three hours by road from Nairobi.

Amboseli Bush Camp activities are:

  • Game drives in Amboseli National Park
  • Bird watching in Amboseli National Park
  1. Sentrim Amboseli

Sentrim Amboseli is one of the popular luxury camps in Amboseli, set just 3 km from Amboseli National Park’s Kimana Gate. The distance from Nairobi to Sentrim Amboseli takes about four hours, though you can fly to the camp in about an hour. Sentrim does not have a private airstrip; however, it uses Amboseli Airstrip, which is about 15 km away.

Sentrim Amboseli has 60 tents offering single, twin, double and triple room options. There are two family houses too.

Sentrim Amboseli activities are:

  • Game drives
  • Swimming
  • Getting a massage
  1. AA Lodge Amboseli

AA Lodge is just 5 km from Kimana Gate in Amboseli National Park, and you can drive from Nairobi through the Emali to Loitoktok, which will take about 4 hours. For a shorter journey, fly in about 25 minutes from Nairobi to Amboseli Airstrip, within the park, and drive 15 km from the airstrip to the lodge. You will find the luxury you need either in a suite or tent at AA Lodge. There are 67 tents and 31 lodge rooms, with single, twin and triple room types.

AA Lodge activities are:

  • Swimming
  • Day and night game drives
  • Guided nature walks
  • Watching Maasai dancers
  • Getting a massage
  • Cultural visits
  • Bush dining
  1. Maasai Simba Camp

Maasai Simba Camp is one of the budget camps in Amboseli, a few kilometres outside the camp. Maasai Simba Camp’s accommodation options are guest rooms, tents or cottages. The two safari tents adopt a traditional safari style with a private deck. The rooms are divided into two: the Warrior House has 4 rooms while the Chief’s House has two rooms. These rooms have either a queen size or twin beds. If you would prefer a cottage, Maasai Simba Camp’s 4 cottages are one-bedroom units.

Simba Restaurant serves a range of cuisines including African, European and American dishes. Guests dine together as a family. The vegetables are fresh from an organic garden in the camp.

Maasai Simba Camp activities are:

  • Game drives in Amboseli National Park
  • Guided bush walks
  • Cultural visits
  • School and health centre visits
  1. Kilima Safari Camp

If you would love to wake up to spectacular view of Mount Kilimanjaro, stay at Kilima Safari Camp. It is outside Amboseli National Park but near Kimana Gate, and just 25 minutes away from Amboseli Airstrip. It takes over three hours to cover the distance from Nairobi to this luxury camp.

When you get there, the rigours of the trip fade away as you are ushered into a lavish 420 acre property with lodge rooms and luxury tents. The safari tents, all 50 of them, boast a large balcony, and a double and single bed inside. The 10 superior safari tents have four poster beds, and a lion claw bathtub for you to soak in. The two bars, a restaurant and a lounge provide the perfect hangout after exploring the park.

Kilima Safari Camp activities are:

  • Game drives
  • Watching Maasai traditional dancers
  • Bush dining
  • Hot-air balloon safaris
  • Guided game walks
  • Swimming
  1. Satao Elerai camp

Satao Elerai is one of the plush eco-friendly hotels near Amboseli National Park. Stay in this eco camp set in Elerai Conservation Area which is south East of Amboseli National Park. This conservation area is about 10km from the national park, and it is a wildlife corridor that connects Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve to Kenya’s Amboseli National Park.

Guests at Satao Elerai Camp have the option of exploring the swampy plains of Amboseli or the 5000 acres of acacia woodlands in Elerai. Satao Elerai is one of the few camps near Amboseli National Park offering night game drives. After visiting the swamps and water holes to see elephants during the day, join the night watch to see the nocturnal creatures of Amboseli such as the serval cats, genets and aardwolves.

Satao Elerai’s tents overlook the acacia woodlands and Mount Kilimanjaro in the horizon. The dining room is another excellent game viewing spot as you sample a variety of dishes.  Additionally, the camp’s infinity pool has a panorama of the savannah and the peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Accommodation is available in either suites or tents. The five suites have a lodge-style design with doors that slide to reveal the scenic outdoors you can explore from your private deck. The en-suite bathroom is made of eco-friendly materials like natural stone and acacia wood; the bathtub is naturally crafted too.

Satao Elerai Camp’s tents are en-suite, with solar heated showers. These tents are raised from the ground by cedar floors and acacia pillars support the thatched roof. You can view the scenic surroundings from your private veranda.

Satao Elerai Camp activities are:

  • Swimming
  • Cultural visits in Elerai
  • Bush dining
  • Day and night game drives
  • Guided walks in Elerai all the way to a river gorge
  • Sundowners with enchanting views of Mount Kilimanjaro

NB: To stay here, you will pay park fees per day, and Elerai Conservation fee per night.

  1. Tortilis Camp

Tortilis Camp boasts spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro from any spot in the camp. The mauve silhouette of Africa’s highest mountain is visible when you are relaxing in your tent, sitting on your private deck, taking a walk in the park or enjoying a drink in the dining tent.

Tortilis Camp borders the park, on the south western side. Guests enjoy private game drives in the camp’s Kitirua Conservancy, which has about 30,000 acres. Tortilis Camp is among the top luxury camps in Amboseli, it was also one of the first eco-friendly camps in the country.

Built by Stephan Cheli in 1993, this 16 tent camp blends traditional Maasai architecture with modern comforts like a flush toilet, a reading desk, and a firm bed.

The tents are thatched with makuti, which is a traditional roofing material, but they have a wooden floor and canvas walls. All around, the tent yields unforgettable views of the majestic mountain, and the rolling plains.

Each tent has either double or twin beds.

  • Private House

For family gatherings and honeymoons in Amboseli, the Private House’s intimate setting is perfect. It has an en-suite double bed room, an en-suite triple room, a sitting and dining room with a deck. Outside, the Private House has a private swimming pool (shared with the family tent) with a splendid view of the mountain.

  • Family Tent

The family tent has an en-suite double beds room, an en-suite twin room, a private deck and a swimming pool shared with the Private House.

The dining area is a high ceiling open sided room built like a traditional hut, with a permanent floor. Guests dine from a table d’hôte menu, in individual tables, enjoying a panorama of the plains and Mount Kilimanjaro.

Tortilis Camp’s vegetable garden provides fresh fruits and vegetables.

Tortilis Camp activities are:

  • Game drives
  • Bush dining
  • Swimming
  • Spa sessions (massage, manicures and pedicures)
  • Cultural visits
  • Guided walks

Overall, most hotels near Amboseli National Park offer packages inclusive of day tours of the national park. Note that, when staying in private conservancies, you will pay park entry fees as well as conservancy fees.

Now you know where you can stay outside Amboseli National Park. Nevertheless, if you would prefer to stay inside the park, check this article about hotels in Amboseli National Park.

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Hotels in Amboseli National Park

There are not as many hotels in Amboseli National Park as there are around this attraction. The few inside the park are lavish lodges and camps that mainly cater for high-end visitors. But, frugality is also welcome, in budget camps, campsites and cottages with just basic amenities for overnight stay.

Stay within this park so that hotels in Amboseli National Park can take you to the swampy plains for unrivalled game views daily. There are only a few camps and lodges within the park, which is excellent for park conservation purposes. Hotels in Amboseli National Park have exceptional experiences like sundowners on Observation Hill.

Hotels in Amboseli National Park are:

  1. Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge

Serena Hotels’ stake in Kenya’s hospitality industry extends to the plains of Amboseli National Park, where you will find Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge. This luxury lodge sits in a thicket of mature acacia trees, with a sweeping view of the snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro and a water hole outside the lodge that draws wildlife from the plains and beyond.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge’s unique architecture borrows a lot from the design of traditional Maasai huts. Inside the rooms, the African theme resonates in the paintings and motifs on the walls.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge caters to the needs of a multitude of nationalities, and varying hospitality needs. Hence, its 92 rooms come in suites, family rooms, double rooms, triple and twin rooms. There are even units with interconnecting doors to cater for families and groups.

The suite (Ol Donyo Oibor Suite) is paradise for couples especially newlyweds. It has a bedroom with a king-size bed, a bathroom fitted with a jacuzzi, a mini-bar and a balcony facing the mountain. For entertainment indoors, this suite as a satellite television and there is Wi-Fi too. This lodge is one of the family friendly hotels in Amboseli National Park; you can ask for babysitting services.

Ditch the 3 to 4 hours’ drive from Nairobi for a 30 minutes flight to Amboseli National Park followed by a short drive to reach the lodge. However, if you would like to see the countryside, cover the 250 km between Nairobi and Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge by road.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge activities are:

  • Day and night guided game drives
  • Bird watching
  • Watching Maasai dances
  • Breakfast in the bush
  • Sundowners on Observation Hill
  • Guided walks
  • Getting a body massage, a facial treatment, a manicure or pedicure.
  • Swimming
  • Planting trees in the park
  1. KWS Cottages

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) runs several accommodation options in Amboseli National Park. You can stay in:

Chui Cottages

These cottages are one bedroom chalets.

USD 90 non-resident and KSh 4,000 citizens/residents

Kilimanjaro Guest House

This self-catering cottage accommodates 7 people.

The rates are KSh 7, 000 citizens, KSh 12,000 residents and USD 240 non-residents

Amboseli Campsite

It has a capacity of 60 people, and it is just 200m from the park’s headquarters. Facilities include a toilet and a bathroom.

  1. Amboseli Eco-camp

Stay in an eco-camp, discover the magnificence of the plains of Amboseli, and mingle with the Maasai people all in one safari. Amboseli Eco-camp lets you trade the bustle of the city for an exotic location with a variety of wildlife species, and the warm hearts of the charming Maasai people.  This camp organises day tours for groups and families inclusive of guided game drives, conservation area entry fees and picnic lunch.

Amboseli Eco-camp has basic facilities; it is one of the budget camps in Amboseli National Park.

  1. Ol Tukai Lodge

Ol Tukai Lodge is one of the most talked about lodges in Amboseli.  Experiences at this lodge range from sundowner cocktails on Observation Hill to theme nights dining on a veranda with uninterrupted view of elephants and zebras over the fence.

This lodge has 80 cabin style rooms with twin beds. These units have en-suite facilities and private verandas for guests to enjoy views of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Ol Tukai Lodge Activities are:

  • Game drives
  • Swimming
  • Nature walks
  • Birding tours
  • Cultural visits

 

Now you know where you can stay within Amboseli National Park. However, if you would prefer to stay outside the park, check this article about hotels near Amboseli National Park.

About Amboseli National Park

Amboseli National Park may not be as popular as Maasai Mara National Reserve but it has a few special features that you can only find in this ecosystem. Most people know this park for its dense population of the world’s largest mammal, and its majestic views of Kilimanjaro. Other special features of this national park are its cultural wealth because of the Maasai who live around it, and its series of swamps that sustain the flora and fauna of the park’s ecosystem.

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