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Amboseli National Park

Huge herd of elephants with Kilimanjaro in the background
A huge herd of more than one hundred individuals before snowclad Mawenzi – the lesser peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. Photo © Mikkel Alexander Grabowski

A little to the north west of Mount Kilimanjaro, Amboseli, established as a nature reserve in 1968 and promoted to National Park status in 1974, is situated on the border between Kenya and Tanzania. The park, 392 square metres in area, is surrounded by Amboseli’s 3,000 square metre ecosystem, where the Masai live a traditional life as herders alongside their cattle and goats, much like that of their ancestors, and for the most part in equilibrium with the area’s wildlife population.

Mount Kilimanjaro with Kibo covered in snow and Mawenzi on the left side, April 1981. Photo © Mikkel Alexander Grabowski

Five distinct habitat types are apparent in Amboseli: open grasslands, acacia woods, scrub steppe, swamps and marshland. The national park itself is in actual fact a dried up lake dating from the Pleistocene period. Smaller and seasonal Lake Amboseli appears each year after the heavy rains. Amboseli is notable for its rich variety of big game, including elephant herds, a few hundred strong, and, needless to say, its scenic beauty with towering Kilimanjaro providing a majestic backdrop for what is a second-to-none safari experience.

Elephants in Amboseli. Photo © Mikkel Alexander Grabowski

As mentioned above, Amboseli National Park is first of all famous for being situated at the foot of Africas highest mountain – Kilimanjaro towering 5,895m into the sky. Also this national park is famous for its huge herds of elephants wandering from swamp to swamp over the dusty plains. Combining those two features alone makes it a breathtaking experience to visit Amboseli National Park and situated only a couple of hours drive away from Nairobi, its among Kenyas most popular national parks. Of course there are other animals than elephants and the park boasts a fine representation of the east African fauna.

Climate in Amboseli
The climate in the Amboseli region, lying 1,200-1,300 metres above sea level, is comparatively warm and dry. The highest average temperatures in the warmest months (December to February) rise to 33oC during daytime, while temperatures in the coldest months (June to August) lie typically around 28oC.
Amboseli is situated within Kilimanjaro’s precipitation zone with annual rainfall of 300mm, distributed between demarcated seasons: April/May and November/December. Recurring droughts and moisture evaporation potential of 2,200mm annually are typical for this region.

The Satao Elerai Camp
The Satao Elerai Camp is located in a peaceful, unspoiled and unique surroundings on a privately owned nature reserve, over twenty square kilometres in area, ten kilometres southeast of The Amboseli National Park, at the foot of Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro. One of the greatest advantages of this location is the freedom it affords for safari pursuits without strict regulatory encumbrance.

Views from here take in Amboseli to the north and the towering, lonely majesty of Kilimanjaro in the opposite direction. The camp is equipped with comfortable and tastefully kit out luxury tents with en suite facilities, all with uninterrupted views of Kilimanjaro, as well as five spacious lodge-style suites. Energy is supplied by environmentally responsible solar panels.

Dining at Satao Elerai is à la carte. Availing of locally produced vegetables and fruit, our personal chefs prepare a broad spectrum of dishes, easily adapted to comply with individual preferences. On starry nights tables and chairs are decked out of doors for our dining pleasure under open skies. Kilimanjaro is usually cloud free and illuminated by the moonlight by early evening when we sit down to dinner. For your added enjoyment and comfort the camp boasts a well-stocked bar, a lounge and a veranda. The area’s natural cliff formations and wood from the local acacia tree are incorporated into the camp’s overall furbishing, which includes a swimming pool.

The Satao Elerai Camp is a community project and the result of a coordinated effort between its owners, The African Wildlife Foundation and people living in the Elerai Conservancy. The concept provides a sustainable income from tourism for the local Masai people, who take a keen interest in preserving and protecting their natural environment. Humans and wildlife have traditionally been at odds in the Amboseli region. Projects like this one will over time reward the local population for their investment in wildlife conservation and ecotourism.

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