Amboseli National Park

Amboseli is a 392 square kilometre park famous for getting up close and personal with its elephants. And while we saw many animals, we definitely got a fill of elephants. And yep, they were definitely up close and personal.

So, Amboseli has two types of land – land with elephant grass and swamp. Turns out that elephants like to eat elephant grass and when it gets too hot they like to cool themselves in the swamp. And, given that it gets hot every day in Amboseli, tour guides can park their (by now, really hard and uncomfortable) mini-vans and just wait for the elephants to come. And when they come, the mighty Mount Kiliminjaro is right there in the distance providing the most picturesque of backgrounds.

The elephants slowly come closer and closer, stopping to chew on their elephant grass and hoping the oldest lady of the pack (who they are following) doesn’t walk away too fast. They walk in families, the oldest female at the front (for she knows the way) and the males at the back, apparently for protection but I can’t get past the thought that it might just be laziness.

We saw a small family at first, the female having broken away from her larger family (or maybe they were just lost). That was nice, but not nearly as nice as the next family. For it was a ripper – all in all about 60 elephants crossed one by one, right in front of our car. Babies just days old, and big male bulls crossed in front of us silently and without a care in the world for our hard and uncomfortable mini-vans.

Once the elephants crossed, we took our mini-vans and drove around. We stopped to see a family of vervet monkeys with their tiny tiny babies, Michael had a chance to stick his head behind some buffalo skulls and I stopped to try to hold up Kili (with only limited success).

We returned home and for the second night in a row, we tried to get a glimpse of a hyena in the dark. Like most of the lodges, Sopa Amboseli fed the night animals at about 9pm. The night before, we had sat up for hours only to see several ‘wild’ cats and some mongoose eat their daily free meal. This time the hyena came, took a ‘bite’ of the raw meat and left. On second glance, you noticed that the ‘bite’ was half the pile of meat and that the cats had eaten for hours and only really got through a quarter of it.

Sopa Amboseli was also the place of the missing white shirt. Dear lodge owners, while I may have ‘wrongly’ identified my long sleeve top as a sweater not a shirt, I did not incorrectly count it twice. Yes dear lodge owners, that shirt we counted was actually a shirt and Michael liked to wear it to bed as the top half of his pyjamas. And yes, we did put it in the bag and no, we did not find it in the bag when it came back to our room. It was actually lost. Thanks for finally acknowledging it and thanks for the 400 Kenyan dollars (about US$4) that we could not use as we were on our last day in Kenya.

Yeah, there were other animals here in Amboseli too (see below), but the sight of the elephants was why we came and we certainly didn’t go away disappointed.

It was also our last day in Kenya. So very sorry to say goodbye but whatever vehicle we have next had better be more comfortable than the mini-van. And with one last scenic amazement, we were off to Tanzania.