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Kenya Safari Page 2 - Amboseli National Park - Ol Tukai Lodge

Africa Kenya Amboseli Kilimanjaro

Africa – Kenya – Kilimanjaro • Mt Kilimanjaro at sunset from Amboseli National Park

Africa Kenya Amboseli Elephants

Africa – Kenya – Amboseli National Park • Elephants abound in Amboseli

Our departure from Nairobi on the first leg of our safari was by plane, which put us in Amboseli National Park in less than an hour. Safari and Kenya are nearly interchangeable words, and Amboseli has provided many of the images etched in our imagination of what we will see on our Africa safari.

Vast plains dotted with very large animals stretched to the base of the 19,000 foot high Mount Kilimanjaro volcano, providing the backdrop for our arrival. Wildlife spotting required no special effort during the short trip from the airstrip to Ol Tukai Lodge – as a delegation of elephants had to first clear the road before we could pass.

The Travel Chronicle websites aren’t really intended to be a source of recommendations for places to stay, but the different styles of accommodations in Kenya are a key part of the experience. There are various strategies for keeping visitors from being eaten or trampled by the wildlife, and the larger the facility, the more likely it will be surrounded by an electrified fence. Ol Tukai Lodge (the guides say the name refers to the type of palm tree found in the area, and the internet says that Ol Tukai is an orchid) is one of the lodges in a fenced oasis of trees next to a large marsh area. This location is a year-round source of water for people and wildlife, and the assortment of animals which can be seen at any given moment is astounding, at least for a first time visitor.

Africa Kenya Amboseli Yellow Baboon Ol Tukai Cabin Vervet Monkey

Africa – Kenya – Amboseli National Park • Left: A Yellow Baboon laments at not getting through the window screen to nab a cookie • Center: Ol Tukai Lodge Cabin • Right: Vervet Monkeys also reside on the grounds of Ol Tukai Lodge

Anytime you leave your cabin at Ol Tukai Lodge, you can see animals drinking and grazing in the marsh, and this is the only place we have visited in two trips to Africa (both Kenya and South Africa) where the animals are always in view. Consequently, game drives in Amboseli may seem unnecessary, at least from Ol Tukai, but the views really are better from the road. A visit to a Maasai village (watch the rotating images at the top of the page) is also highly recommended, so don’t be lulled into turning this into a pool party vacation.

Africa Kenya Amboseli Zebra Swimming Pool Marabou Stork

Africa – Kenya – Amboseli • Left: Zebras cooperate to shoo away flies • Center: Roughing it on safari • Right: A Marabou Stork taking flight and distant dust devils add a surreal quality to the view from Ol Tukai Lodge

Whatever area in Kenya you visit first, certain first impressions are almost inevitable. For example, it is difficult not to be surprised that the animals generally don’t pay any attention to safari vehicles. A person on foot is perceived as a threat, and will cause more agitation than a Land Rover full of tourists – which isn’t seen as either a threat or a potential meal.

As discussed in the Travel Plan section, there is a certain rhythm to a safari day that is both relaxed and action packed. Start with breakfast, and go for a morning game drive. Return for lunch and go for a late afternoon game drive, preferably including a nice sunset. Sleep, dream, and repeat.

Africa Kenya Amboseli Hyena Zebra Acacia

Africa – Kenya – Amboseli • Left: A hyena stands guard over his zebra dinner • Right: The desolate beauty of a lone Acacia tree

After two days that went by like the blink of an eye, we took our return flight to Nairobi and started the road trip portion of the trip. A reasonably short drive north of Nairobi, broken up nicely with shopping opportunities and a very fine lunch, brought us to our one night stay at The Ark in Aberdare National Park.

 

Kenya Travel – Page 1

Page 2 – You Are Here

Page 3 – Aberdare National Park – The Ark

Page 4 – Ol Pejeta Conservancy – Sweetwaters Tented Camp

Page 5 – Kenya Safari – Ol Pejeta Wildlife and Scenery

Page 6 – Nanyuki – Mount Kenya Safari Club

Page 7 – Kenya Safari – Masai Mara National Reserve

Page 8 – Kenya Safari – Masai Mara Wildlife

Page 9 – Masai Mara – People and Trees

 

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