• Elephants are the pride of the beautiful African savanna in the park
Located in Southern Kenya, Amboseli National Park is a semi-arid park that is famous for having two of Africa’s most famed giants.
The journey to Amboseli National Park from Nairobi began at 6.30am. It normally takes four to five hours for one to get to Amboseli. One knows they are close to the park when they spot the first giant from a distance. I remember the excitement that engulfed the car when one of my friends first noticed it.
None of us had ever seen it before, and we all scrambled to catch a glimpse of it. As luck would have it, the few clouds that were surrounding it parted and there it was: Mt Ol Doinyo Oibor, the white mountain, or as it is commonly known, Mt Kilimanjaro. Standing at 5,895m above sea level, Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa. Kilimanjaro is truly a sight to behold, although sadly, the snow that covers the top appears to be decreasing at a very rapid rate.
We arrived at the park some minutes to 11am. After paying the park fees, which is currently discounted for locals to Sh800 for adults and Sh200 for children under the age of 17 we entered the park in search of the second giant. At first, we saw the usual habitants of the African savanna: zebras, antelopes, wildebeests and a few giraffes.
Our expert guide, who was also doubling up as our driver, decided to take a route in the park that is known to have the second giant. Perhaps in saving the best for last, we found them. A herd of them led by a matriarch, large in size and stature, the gentle giants of the African savanna, the elephants. They were grazing gracefully in a swamp.
We made a few rounds around the park, mostly around the water bodies. With each move, we encountered a herd of elephants or lone bulls taking dips in the various swamps and small lakes, grazing or, in the case of baby elephants, simply playing with each other. In the midst of finding them, they ended up finding us as well.
It was at that point we found ourselves between a rock and a hard place. In front of us was a majestic old male bull elephant, giving us a warning that we should move. Behind us, a young male bull elephant. On one side of the car, an elephant herd. And then there was us, right in the middle. The driver, on realising what may end up happening as the old bull elephant was not going to move and he looked visibly agitated that we had crossed its path made a quick swerve and we drove off to safety.
Later on, when we were at the Amboseli viewpoint, looking down at the beautiful African savanna, we saw the herd and the old bull elephant side by side. That’s when it hit us we had interrupted a mating and “wedding” session. The groom turned out to be the old bull elephant who was not happy at all with our rude interruption. I guess it is not only humans that cannot stand gatecrashers!
Our giants are our pride and joy as Kenyans and as Africans. We should strive to make sure they are preserved not only for us but for future generations. A special thank you to the people who work day and night to make sure our giants are preserved. If you are looking for a day adventure not far from Nairobi, Amboseli is definitely worth a visit.
A special thank you to Dallago Tours, Martin our expert guide and the amazing friends who came along for this adventure.
For further information regarding travelling to Amboseli, please contact: [email protected]
Tevin Mwenda is a lawyer based in Nairobi and an avid traveler