Amboseli National Park is in the Kajiado District, of the Rift Valley Province in Kenya. The Park is one of Kenya’s smaller Game Parks, protecting about 150 square miles of land in the centre of an ecosystem of around 3,000 square miles that spreads across the Kenya-Tanzania border. The local people are mainly Maasai, but people from other parts of the country have settled there attracted by the successful tourist-driven economy and intensive agriculture along the system of swamps that makes this low-rainfall area one of the best wildlife-viewing experiences in the world. The Park protects two of the five main swamps that are fed by the snow melt off Mt Kilimanjaro to the south and includes a dried-up Pleistocene lake and semi-arid vegetation.

Away from the swamps the Park is often a dry, dusty place and frequently suffers from long periods of drought. The animal population in the Park varies seasonally depending on available food and water. Traditionally these animals have migrated outside of the Park in times of hardship. Pressure from the people surrounding the Park is making this more and more problematic and the authorities are constantly attempting to introduce initiatives to provide economic benefits that will encourage the local people to protect this fragile environment.

The Park is famous for its elephants and the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, under the guidance of Cynthia Moss, has been studying the herds for nearly 40 years, making it the world’s longest running research study of elephants and aims to ensure the long-term conservation and welfare of Africa's elephants in the context of human needs and pressures through scientific research, training, community outreach and public awareness.

The elephants survive because of its apparently endless supply of underground water, filtered through thousands of feet of volcanic rock from Kilimanjaro's ice cap, which funnel into two clear water springs in the heart of the Park. However, the climatic pendulum can swing from drought to flood, and in the early 1990's ceaseless rain changed Amboseli into a swamp. A few years later the rains failed and the grass-covered plains turned to dust.

The swamps and surrounding grasslands also support populations of buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, impala and warthog along with their associated predators including lion, leopard, cheetah, jackal and hyena. Unfortunately the once famous rhino are long gone from this area following intensive poaching.

When staying in Amboseli we tend to use the collection of Kenya Wildlife Service self-catering cottages that are found on the eastern side of the Park, near the Park Head Quarters and the Kimana Gate. The largest of the cottages is Kilimanjaro Guest House with 3 bedrooms catering for up to 6 people sharing a single bathroom. All of the bedding and towels are provided along with a fully equipped kitchen that includes a gas stove and fridge. Electricity is supplied from a generator that is on between 6:30pm and 10:00pm each night.

Most people, coming from Nairobi, travel via the border town of Namanga. The 145 mile journey normally takes about two and half hours making it an ideal drink stop, following an early departure from Nairobi. From Namanga it is a further 40 miles to the Park’s main gate of Meshanani. Crossing the 25 miles of the park, from west to east, to Kimana Gate normally coincides with the heat of midday, when the animals are less visible and we normally expect to arrive at the cottages in time for lunch.