Weekend Photos: Amboseli National Park and Tsavo West

This week we continue with our Kenyan safaris. The other posts from my Africa trip are: Arusha, Tarangire National Park, South Serengeti Part 1, South Serengeti Part 2,  the rest of the Serengeti tourNgorogoro CraterMt. Meru, Mt. Kenya, Part 1, Mt. Kenya, Part 2, and Kenya Safari Part 1


After our short and early drive at Lake Nakuru, we settled in for our 250-mile drive, which took 8 hours altogether--another day to stretch our boxed breakfast into a lunch!

The drive wasn't without interest (great vistas of the Great Rift Valley, and insights into the transit problems of a country whose main truck route is a two-lane road), but we were glad to arrive at Amboseli National Park.

A glad sight.

Amboseli greeter. Back to Masai Giraffes, here just a few miles north of the Tanzania border.

A really sweet room. Fences kept out the larger animals, but you had to be careful to keep the patio door latched when not in the room--the baboons painted on the wall are kind of a warning!

Our short afternoon game drive was all about the elephants!

A very new elephant.


Huge old tusker.

Young males wrassling, practicing for the real thing.

At one point we were nearly embroiled in a the most massive traffic jam, as every tourist in the park tried to get a glimpse of a leopard, or possibly a cheetah. I'm rather troubled by this, as the vehicles all belch diesel exhaust, and the sheer number of them must affect animal behaviors. In this case, we were lucky to be late on the scene, and able to extract ourselves. A couple of drivers got ticketed for driving off the road--not permitted in this park.

The best part of this park was sunrise--we did an outing before breakfast to catch the best light before returning to eat and check out of our rooms.

Amboseli is dominated--weather permitting--by the towering summit of Kilimanjaro. The recent unsettled weather had definitely increased the snow load, which in March would also be heavier here on the north side.


Hippos at sunrise!

Another glorious feature of the park was the flamingos.



Law enforcement officers?

Tsavo West

Our game drive completed, we had breakfast and drove just under 70 miles to Tsavo West National Park--a drive which was almost entirely on very rough dirt roads and took over 3 1/2 hours! I think we went in the back way. The trip included an interesting crossing of a stream where the approach to the bridge was washed out.

I was dubious, but Moses found a way through the flood waters!

Our back-door route took us through a cool feature--a rather recent lava field! The Shetani Lava flow (I think it means "Satan" or similar) is only a few hundred years old, with vegetation starting to gain a foothold.

Not a great place to be a hunter, though we saw some baboons on the lava near the edge of the flow.

Unlike most of the places we'd been, where the terrain was flat and open grassland, Tsavo West proved hilly, and the roadsides were thick tangles of low trees and brush. That didn't make for the best game viewing--there could have been and probably were hundreds of animals only a short way from the road and no hope of spotting them--but is probably good for at least some of the critters!

Lots for elephants to eat, and they can tromp through anything. The afternoon light contributes to the color, but mostly this one was covered in the red dirt characteristic of the area.

We also found some great birds. It took a lot of attempts to get this photo.

Eurasian Roller

And for some reason, the ostriches were hanging by the roadside.
Mrs. Ostrich.

Mr. Ostrich. They pair for life, more or less, and stick together even when not brooding eggs or raising chicks.

On our way back to the lodge for dinner the sky put on a great show for us, with some cool iridescent clouds alongside the now distant Mt. Kilimanjaro.


Like many of our safari lodges, this one had a lighted waterhole we could watch while enjoying our dinner. During that time we saw elephants, waterbuck, impala, and possibly a hyena. I don't know about the ecology and ethics of luring animals this way (only the water hole, no feeding, so probably okay), but it's super to watch while eating!
Evening visitors--I think these were impala.

That was our last safari night--something we both mourned and which was a bit of a relief, the heat having been oppressive and the trip long enough we were all getting travel fatigue. Still, we made sure to enjoy our last drive out of the park, on shorter and better roads than the route we took in.

Despite all the great places to hide, some of the animals were out to bid us farewell.

Can't have too many elephants, especially the young ones.


The giraffes, too, came to bid us farewell.


We had one last over-long drive up the Mombasa Highway to Nairobi, 165 miles and another 5+ hours in the hot Rover, with all the diesel exhaust that the bumper-to-bumper line of trucks could belch at us. We enjoyed the colorful roadsides, but were happy to reach the cool, quiet hotel where we were to spend our last night before flying to Victoria Falls.

Colorful bags made from plastic scrap.

A market just outside Nairobi. We made a stop there as our driver, Moses, had been sent a shopping list by his wife. Prices for produce are much lower outside the city, and no doubt the quality is higher.

Entering the city at last. It looks perhaps a little more modern from this angle than from down on the street.

Farewell to Kenya--at the airport at dawn the next morning.


Check in next week for photos of Victoria Falls--the largest in the world!

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2024
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Comments

  1. Such wonderful pictures. Thanks for sharing them with us!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tsavo West is where we did our Earth Watch elephant study

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