The first part of our Kenyan safari began in Amboseli National Park, which is located in the southern part of Kenya along the Tanzanian border. The park offers an amazing view of Mount Kilimanjaro, which is located in Tanzania. Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world and the tallest mountain in Africa. We got a couple of peeks at Kili’s peak while we were in Amboseli, but it is elusive and we were never able to see the whole mountain. However, when we were able to see the peak, it was astounding to see just how tall it was. Especially since it was hidden most of the time, so we were just driving around the park looking at animals and then all of a sudden you’re reminded that there’s a 19,000 ft tall mountain in the area!
I was looking forward to Amboseli so much because they are known for their elephants. When we went to Tanzania in 2018, we saw one elephant herd that was far away in the bushes, but that was it. One of the reasons I wanted to go back to Africa was to see wild elephants. Amboseli had so many elephants!!
We flew out of Nairobi on a chartered flight to Amboseli and had a mini game drive on the way to our hotel. We ate lunch and then had an afternoon game drive with a beautiful sunset! The next day, we settled into our usual safari routine of a morning game drive, break, and an afternoon game drive. Our first day and a half in Amboseli really delivered! We saw cute elephants, hoofstock, flamingos, birds, and hippos! So many hippos! We watched a bloat just floating around in one of the areas and realized that there were elephants in the swamp behind them! The elephants were up to their necks in the water, just grazing. It was so crazy to think how deep that swampy area was when you think there was a whole elephant underneath!
One of the more interesting things we saw was a recently deceased zebra that was providing sustenance for a load of vultures. We watched them for a while, and our driver, Xavier, explained that there’s a hierarchy of vultures. The largest ones get the first feed, and they will run off the smaller ones to get their fill. After the largest ones are done, the medium ones come in and get their fill. When we rolled up on the scene, the large ones were in the process of running off the smaller ones. It was kind of funny to watch them because a smaller one would come up from behind and the large one would turn around and run it off and while it was running that one off, two others would sneak in for a bite! It was very entertaining to watch them! The less glamorous part was how they were eating the zebra – they would go in through the rectum of the zebra and feed on the innards. We also learned that this is why vultures have naked necks – it’s to prevent them getting soaked in blood. Nature is wild!