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    Kimana Lodge, Amboseli National Park, Kenya & Amboseli Hotels

    Kimana Lodge is a budget safari lodge set at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Amboseli National Park, Kenya. Kimana Lodge Amboseli nestles in a flower strewn glade surrounded by tall acacia tress; It's long, sheltered verandah overlooks a natural spring frequented by birds and wild animals including nightly visits by a family of leopards to the baiting tree, hyena, buffalo and numerous other game. Within a short walking distance one may visit the marvelous hippo pools. Kimana Lodge Amboseli cottage style accommodation is comfortable, quaint and rustic and the lush gardens play host to numerous brilliantly colored birds. The swimming pool is an instant refreshing remedy for a long day's safari while our well stocked bar and the wholesome home cooking from our kitchen will help you unwind in the best possible way. Life in the vicinity of Kimana Lodge Amboseli centers on numerous springs fed by the snows of Mount Kilimanjaro and their catchments area, the Kimana Swamp. Being the only source of water and lush vegetation for miles around, the swamp not only nurtures the Masai tribe people, resplendent in their scarlet togas as they herd their cattle, but also numerous species of waterfowl and resident wildlife which continue to flourish and coexist with the Masai as they have for thousands of years. The wilderness here is reminiscent of the hunting territory that was once roamed by the great hunters of a bygone era. The Kimana Lodge, with 112 beds, is located on the road from Amboseli to Tsavo, 14 km from Kelonyeti Gate, and is a good place for a rest and refreshment during the hard and dusty journey.

     

    The Amboseli National Park is one of Kenya's smaller parks at 39,000 hectares but enjoys one of the most dramatic and beautiful backdrops, Mount Kilimanjaro. This iconic mountain is not just important for the aesthetic splendor it lends to Amboseli but also for its contribution in terms of water. This water run off feeds the swamps and open grasslands. During the rainy season, these waterways flood the plains, creating large water holes for the masses of migrating mammals. This abundance of water further contributes to large animal herds and prime game viewing. The park is home to over 50 carnivore and herbivore species as well as being a birder’s paradise with over 400 species that include kingfishers, hammer kops and pelicans. The traditional picture postcard view of Amboseli is of a herd of elephant’s line abreast in front of Kilimanjaro. Accessibility to this park has improved tremendously in recent years with the upgrading of the Nairobi-Mombasa road making it a comfortable 3 hour journey from Nairobi. There is a choice of lodge within the park from the larger traditional lodges to the more intimate camps within the concession areas. You will be able to enjoy certain unique safari experiences such as breakfast or relaxed picnics prepared al fresco by expert safari cooks watching elephant herds in front of Kilimanjaro. Our expert consultants will be able to guide you to the best accommodation to suit your bespoke itinerary.

     

    Amboseli Hotels and Amboseli lodge accommodation ranges from exclusive lodges to cheap budget Amboseli Hotels. There are two very distinct styles of accommodation in Amboseli: the first being small, intimate lodges with only a few exclusive luxury rooms (tented or fixed) and the second being larger Amboseli safari hotels with more rooms. Our Hotels in Amboseli portfolio includes some of the best safari and accommodation available in east Africa. Amboseli is a 4 hour drive from Nairobi. The nearest town is Namanga, on the Kenya/ Tanzania border. There are regular buses and matatus to Namanga from Nairobi and other destinations. There are also regular private shuttles from Nairobi to Arusha in Tanzania, which pass by Namanga. There are daily scheduled flights from both Nairobi and the coast. Amboseli has a central airstrip. Private Charters also use this strip. Accessing Amboseli National Park is difficult without private transport. Most visitors come here as part of a Safari package from Nairobi. Those bringing their own vehicles should be prepared for dusty driving conditions from Namanga to the Park, although the park has well established internal roads and tracks.

     

    Amboseli National Park

     

    Amboseli National Park is situated in Loitoktok District, approximately 240 Km from Nairobi (capital city of Kenya). The ecosystem is dominated mainly by savannah grassland ecosystem that spreads across the Kenya-Tanzania border. Few people in the world are unfamiliar with the awe inspiring sight of snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro, which forms a backdrop to scattered, flat topped acacia trees and magnificent elephant herds passing through. In Amboseli, the cliché becomes reality. In 1883 Joseph Thomson, eponym of the Thomson’s gazelle, was the first European who saw the snows of Kilimanjaro, now evoking memories of an old Hollywood movie based on a short story by Ernest Hemingway, a frequent visitor to Kenya. Of course, Hemmingway came to Kenya at a less environmentally conscious time, when hunting was still done with rifles, not with cameras.

     

    This beautiful land was called Emboseli National Park (salty dust) in the Maa language of the indigenous Maasai. Having been declared a national park in 1977, Amboseli quickly gained a reputation for being the best place in Kenya to watch vast numbers of free ranging elephants, sporting some of the largest tusks seen in Kenya. The arid and semi-arid landscape was traditionally shared by indigenous pastoralists, the Maasai, and wildlife. The mainly flat area is carpeted, depending on the season, with golden-brown or green grass. Vegetation is scarce in the dryer lands, with the main plant being the elephant grass, a whitish-yellow grass, which can reach an elephant’s height. Apart from the mostly dry and salty Amboseli Lake, the Amboseli National Park is also blessed with fresh underground water from Kilimanjaro, the largest free standing single mountain in the world. The water contributes to the formation of swamps and marshlands, confined by Cyprus grass, papyrus and groves of fever trees with greenish-yellow bark. These blameless trees were originally held responsible for causing Malaria, before the real perpetrator, the anopheles mosquito, was discovered to be culpable. Apart from the “Big Five” – lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino. The chances of seeing zebras, antelope, gazelle, hyenas, baboons, ostriches and giraffes, are high. Altogether, Amboseli Game Reserve is home to well over 50 different species of mammals. The closes to 500 different bird species are an open invitation to some rewarding bird watching. One of the most famous African tribes, the Maasai, self-declared owners of all cattle in the world, clad in their typical red cloths, adorned with amazing bead jewelry and naturally dyed, waist- length red braids, populate the area. For millennia the Maasai have grazed their herds and lived in temporary homesteads, known as ‘manyattas.’ These small longish structures are built by the women from mud, cow dung and ash. The surrounding wall of thorny branches serves to protect the precious cows from indigenous predators. With the conflict between the ecosystem and its human inhabitants increasing, the Maasai have sadly been marginalized into community farms outside the park. Yet they can still be admired in their full beauty serving as security staff for the lodges and when performing their sonorous, humming group songs, accompanied by their famous jump dance. Famous for being the best place in Africa to visit to get a close-up experience with elephants and other wildlife, this is one destination that you should plan to visit.

     

    The scenery is also unique with a spectacular view of Mount Kilimanjaro. Famous writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Robert Ruark spun their stories of big-game hunting in the wilds of Africa from around this location. It was gazetted as a national park in 1974. Despite its small size (392 square kilometers) and its fragile ecosystem, it supports a wide range of mammals. Amboseli National Park was declared a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve in 1991. The park is compact enough to experience in a day or too. You will be able to choose a variety of activities to make your visit at the Amboseli National Park interesting and memorable: photography safaris, bird watching, camping, game viewing and viewing Mount Kilimanjaro. The best time to view Mount Kilimanjaro is at dawn and sunset when the clouds lift and the light is clear. There are over 50 species of animals and over 400 species of birds. Amboseli offers some of the best opportunities to see African animals because its vegetation is sparse due to the long dry months. The wildlife that you may spot is the lion, elephant, Cape buffalo leopard, spotted hyena, giraffe, cheetah, rhino, impala, hyena, wildebeest, zebra, antelope and cheetah. The park is surrounded by their manyatta-Maasai homesteads. There is a dried-up lake bed in the park that produces mirages in the shimmering heat. The wildlife has permanent watering places from swamps and springs, which are fed by underground rivers from Kilimanjaro melting snows. The Park's best game runs are around the swamps. There is also a fine lookout on Observation Hill which offers views over the whole of the Park and beyond. The park's popularity has raised some concerns. Therefore, several rules have been developed to protect the wildlife: do not get out of your vehicle, except at designated spots; do not harass the animals in any way; keep to the tracks; no off-road driving; and animals always have the right of way. Accommodation is available in Amboseli in the luxury safari lodge. You will get to explore the park on game drives, horse-back safaris and guided nature walks. So, now to you....if you are looking for a very unique experience where you may get to see a wide variety of wildlife and enjoy breathtaking scenery, all within one locality, Amboseli National Park is the place to go to. Coming by car means using long and dusty roads, but green bushes sidelining tracks of crimson red soil, provide the ubiquitous images that people have come to associate with ’Mother Africa’. To top off the vibrant scenery, occasional, tantalising glimpses of Mt. Kilimanjaro make the 6 to 7 hour journey more bearable. Should you prefer to avoid the rigors of the road, frequently available 30 to 40 minute flights to the park alleviate the hot, bumpy trip significantly.

     

    Safari in the Amboseli

     

    The Amboseli having Kilimanjaro as a beautiful backdrop and being home to an abundance of wildlife has a variety of activities to offer the guests. Some of the safari activities include; trekking, horse riding, balloon safari, bird watching amongst others.

     

    Balloon Safaris:

     

    Balloon Safaris involve a memorable ride that is approximately an hour long in a hot-air balloon, overlooking the savannah plains and ending with a bubbly Breakfast. This safari offers guests a spectacular view of the sunrise turning the Kilimanjaro into a purple hue and the snows on its Kibo peak, a delicate pink. Guests also get to experience the magnificent sight of Mt. Kilimanjaro above the herds of elephants crossing the plains of Amboseli.

     

    Walking Safari

     

    This is NOT allowed in the Amboseli National Reserve, but is permitted in the conservancies and group ranches that border the Amboseli. Most camps and lodges do offer walks and one will normally walk with a Maasai who explains the way of the Maasai culture, tracks, sounds and a lot more.

     

    Amboseli Horse Riding

     

    Horseback Safaris is a great way of experiencing the wilderness as you get closer to wildlife on horseback than you would walk. There are professional guides and horsemen/women that accompany you on the ride.

     

    Bird Watching

     

    The Amboseli is home to a variety of bird species that are normally found in the acacia woodlands. Bird Watching involves observing the birds in their natural habitat or listening to their calls. At the Amboseli, this is best done between October and January for those who want to see Kenya’s migratory birds.

     

    Cultural visits

     

    Guests in the Amboseli can experience true African culture first hand by visiting the Maasai Villages. The Maasai are semi-nomadic cattle-rearing people regarded as fierce warriors. these people have conserved their culture with time and eagerly welcome guests into their homes to learn about their lifestyle.

     

    Tawi Conservancy

     

    This is the result of a joint partnership between the community, African Wildlife Foundation and Tawi Lodge. The fees that each guest is paying goes directly towards supporting the Conservancy which, in turn, directly supports the members of Conservancy.

     

    Kilitome Conservancy

     

    The Kilitome Conservancy is part of the Kimana Group Ranch. There are 90 members of the Conservancy, and each member owns 60 acres, totaling 5,400 acres. This area is a vital piece of the corridor as elephants use this as a dispersal area as they leave the Park. The area immediately to the south is fenced and developed; thus, elephants and other wildlife depend upon this area. AWF in partnership with Tawi Lodge, whose facility is in the center of the Conservancy, entered into a 15 year conservation lease with the landowners, to keep the land open for wildlife movement.

     

    African Wildlife Foundation (AWF)

     

    AWF is the leading international conservation organization focused solely on the African continent. The Foundation has concentrated its efforts on building the capacity of Africa’s people and institutions to manage natural resources and to protect the unique and abundant biodiversity and wildlife of the continent.

     

    Amboseli Safaris Lodges vs Safari Tented Camps

     

    Amboseli safaris present a unique collection of Permanent Tented Camps and Lodges. Our properties are all situated in private areas of exceptional natural beauty, rich in wildlife and inhabited by spectacular local tribe of Masai. The main aim of Amboseli safari lodges and tented camps is to provide our clients with highly memorable Amboseli safaris experience, which offer an atmosphere of privacy and intimate isolation. Your accommodation while on safari to Amboseli can make the difference between a satisfying safari and an amazing experience. We try to use the luxury lodges and tented camps of which many are on private reserves. Amboseli tented lodges combine the secluded, intimate atmosphere of tented camping with the modern conveniences of traditional safari lodging. Because of their spectacular, strategically planned scenic locations and first-class amenities, luxury Amboseli lodges offer a truly unique and unparalleled stay in the African wilderness. The safari lodges are constructed in such a way that they actually blend in with the surroundings, creating a tranquil and serene environment for guests.

     

    Breathtaking vistas are enjoyed from individual, private balconies or from the camp's dining area. Some Amboseli lodges even offer private outdoor baths, camouflaged by the vegetation and strategic placement of the tent, while others may have open air waterfall showers for an exhilarating shower under African skies (feels amazing after a day's driving!) Meals are something to be savored at luxury Amboseli safari lodges. The chefs are experts in their field and will deftly concoct mouthwatering dishes using regional ingredients and recipes. Vegetarians will delight in the wide array of fresh fruit and vegetables used to create sumptuous, healthy meals that compliment the surroundings. Local wines and spirits are also available, and the staff can advise in food/beverage pairings. Once you've had your first meal at any lodge in Amboseli you will be hooked. Stomachs rumble in anticipation of the delicious evening meal that follows a day's driving, and you will find yourself growing restless as you await a Masai warrior to escort you to the dining tent. Now's the time to unwind and savor the culinary delights of Amboseli National Park! Evenings bring a close group of guests together to repose under the stars and enjoy the sounds and smells brought on by African nightfall. It's simply not possible to describe the feel of the savannah wind as it gently glides across your arms or the scent of the arid African plains at dusk. Both tented camping and private tented lodges offer the most intimate experience - for both nature and human interaction. It's a special gift to be able to share your day's safari around a campfire with a small group of people who share your passion for the land.

     

    There's nothing impersonal about either of these lodging options and we can honestly say that they truly assault all of the five senses in a wonderful way. Safari lodges provide some of the most reliable accommodation for weary travellers seeking relaxation after a long day of game driving in Amboseli, While some are not as opulent or extravagant as their tented lodges cousins, safari lodge rooms are clean, comfortable and offer all the modern conveniences one would expect in a 5 star hotel or lodge including: en suite bathrooms, hot showers, comfortable beds and solid, non-canvas walls! The evening is a great way to meet other guests and hear their safari experiences, and you’re sure to meet some interesting folks from all over the world when on safari in Amboseli. There’s nothing better than curling up in a comfortable chair, chilled aperitif in hand, watching the African sun disappear slowly behind the thorny acacias. In the safari lodges, you'll appreciate the ability to partake in many interesting pre-dinner conversations in the lounge area as guests relax and share their photos and day’s adventures. However, don’t be surprised if all conversation ceases for a few glorious moments as other guests join you in watching the sunset. Mealtime is eagerly awaited, and for good reason.

     

    All the lodges have at least one restaurant where the most delicious dishes are prepared - often using local produce and ingredients. All dietary requirements can be met and vegetarians will be pleasantly surprised at the scrumptiously prepared dishes using fresh vegetables and fruits. We try to select lodges that source their food and beverages locally. Not only does it benefit the locals but it also tastes much better! Some of our top picks for safari lodges in the mid range include: Amboseli Sopa Lodge- one of our absolute faves. The food alone keeps you coming back, and its proximity to so many amazing game drives makes it a top choice. It's also reasonably priced which makes it a good addition to most itineraries. Amboseli Serena Lodge has only a handful of rooms which give it a very cozy feel. Most of the produce is grown at the plantation and the meals are a true gastronomic experience! An outdoor pool area is carefully secluded from the main lodge and provides some respite in the heat of the afternoon. The Serena Amboseli Lodge is at the upper end of the spectrum and is definitely worth it! Amboseli Safari lodges aren’t private so the atmosphere won’t be as intimate as Amboseli tented camps. However, they offer a nice complement to the other options and an excellent way of meeting interesting people from all walks of life. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself sitting next to a famous photographer or celebrity – it can and does happen at safari lodges. In summary, luxury tented lodges are at the upper end of the price spectrum and completely merit their costs as they combine an intimate camping experience with the ulitimate in luxury. Enjoy!

     

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