Amboseli National Park is one of Kenya’s smaller parks. Although only 151 square miles it is the core of a much larger ecosystem that crosses over into Tanzania. Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain at 19,340’, is an impressive backdrop for the park on clear days. In fact, it is the melting glacier waters from Kilimanjaro that feed the lake and fresh-water marshes of the otherwise rather arid Amboseli. Amboseli roughly translates as “salty, dry dust”, and dusty it is particularly in the dry season when we were there. There were times when dust driven by wind would literally billow into our open vehicle. Although small in size Amboseli is home to the largest concentration of elephants in Kenya with around 59 different herds, and with its lake and marshes it hosts 400+ species of birds during the year. Research on the elephants has been ongoing in the park for the past 5 decades giving great insight into elephant behavior and conservation. Each day out in the bush provides opportunities for sightings of a variety of animals and birds. I never tire of observing and photographing them and their behavior. I selected some of my favorite images from Amboseli to share with you in the next few weeks. Here is Part I.
(Click on images to enlarge)
For the past few years the water in the lake has been rising and the numbers of both Lesser and Greater Flamingos have been increasing. I admit to a fascination with Flamingos, and I’ve had a lot of fun photographing them.
With the large numbers of elephants in the park you are guaranteed to see quite a few every time you go out. This year has been a really good one for elephants. The number of babies was amazing not only in Amboseli, but in the other preserves that we visited.
I love giraffes! For an animal that is so tall and awkward looking it is also extremely graceful. They can run as fast as 35 mph for short distances and cruise at 10 mph. They’re the tallest mammal in the world. With their long necks they still have only the same number of vertebrae as humans and other mammals. With the wide open spaces in Amboseli it was easy to spot individuals and groups of giraffes.
I didn’t see anywhere close to 400+ birds, but I did see a lot. The pretty little Black-winged Stilts were always at the water’s edge on the lake which gave lovely reflections. The Goshawk was a great spotting by our guide. Ostriches are another bird that fascinates me. This was a mating pair of Masai Ostriches that were doing some flirting with wings and necks going in all directions.
And, of course, there are lions in the park. It’s always a treat when you come upon one or if you’re luck a pride of lions. This was a male traveling alone at the time. He got very close to our vehicle.
I did mention that Amboseli was dusty. At the end of one of our days we found a herd of zebras crossing the Dry Lake headed for water. Just the animals walking created some dust, then the wind helped to kick up more until you could no longer see the landscape.
Hope you’ve enjoyed these images! I’ll be posting more shortly. Be sure to sign up at the top of this page to be notified when I do. Thanks for your interest, Cheryl