Amboseli National Park and Chyulu Hills are two of Kenya’s premier safari destinations, famed for their iconic views of Mount Kilimanjaro. Amboseli National Park sits along Tanzania’s border with Kenya at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. Glacial waters flow from the peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro to feed Amboseli’s swamplands through underground springs. During the dry season, this area becomes an important source of water for animals. Large herds of elephants saunter across the parched landscape and gather in the Amboseli swamps.
Chyulu Hills is nestled between the plains of Amboseli National Park and the arid savannas of Tsavo. Set to the backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro, the rugged terrain of Chyulu Hills was formed by volcanic eruptions around 1.4 million years ago. Littered with signs of its volcanic past, the rolling hills make up a diverse ecosystem with areas of open grasslands, thickets, and montane forests. Local Maasai tribes made the decision to lease this land to ecotourism years ago. This partnership allows Maasai communities to continue to maintain their traditional lifestyle and benefit from funds created by tourism. Lodges create jobs, and local communities actively look after the land and its wildlife.
Kenya’s equatorial location allows little change between the seasons. Temperatures typically average in the high 50’s to low 60s at night, and the high 70’s to mid-80s during the day. Although there is some variability in the rains, Kenya typically experiences two rainy seasons throughout the year. The long rains typically last from April to May and fall as heavy rain showers. The short rains typically occur in November as intermittent, scattered showers.
Magnificent views of Mount Kilimanjaro are equaled by the commanding presence of Amboseli’s big tuskers. Large herds of elephants congregate in springs and swampland, fed by glacial waters from the peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro. The swamps not only provide water for the planet’s largest land mammal, but they also support a diverse population of wildlife, including big cats, buffalo herds, wildebeest zebra, and gerenuk.
The diverse landscape of Chyulu Hills acts as a migratory corridor, connecting the Amboseli and Tsavo ecosystems. This sustains a varied and dynamic population of wildlife. Some of Africa’s last great tuskers roam here. You can also expect to see a wide variety of antelope like peculiar gerenuk and tiny klipspringer. Conservation groups have helped predators like lions, leopards, cheetahs, and wild dogs find refuge here. Black rhino have also been successfully reintroduced in Chyulu Hills. The birdlife is as varied as the landscape. Numerous species of eagles soar in the sky, and rarities like the Narina trogon and Hartlaub’s turaco hide in thick forests.