Covering 151 square miles of land, Amboseli National Park is one of Kenya’s most visited safari locations. Known for its large herds of elephants, this destination is crowned by the snowcapped Mount Kilimanjaro. Amboseli National Park has a diverse wildlife and is also home to the tall, red-clad, and high-jumping indigenous folk from the Maasai tribe.
The scenic landscape, diverse wildlife, and cultural sensibility of the Amboseli National Park makes it an attractive destination for a safari in Kenya. If you’re considering a trip to Kenya, or simply want to learn more about Kenyan wildlife, have a look at this comprehensive list of animals in Amboseli National Park.
Mammals in Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park has a variety of mammals, ranging from large mammoth-sized elephants to tiny fast-paced mongooses. Have a look at the unique mammals in Amboseli National Park.
Amboseli National Park is most famous for its large concentration of elephants. Large herds of up to 100 can be found casually strolling across the park’s luscious grounds.
The enormous elephants are calm and friendly social animals. They are also known to work cooperatively with humans as long as they are treated with sensitivity and respect.
These thick-skinned tuskers have excellent memory and spend most of their time feeding and socializing with the rest of the herd.
Read more: Interested in finding out why elephants make noises? Have a look at this article about fascinating elephant sounds.
Zebras are closely related to horses and have thick bodies, thin legs, and a neck sporting a short mane.
These herbivorous mammals are social animals. They graze in large herds with an elaborate social structure. Each herd has a dominant male, several females (called mares), and their young (called foals).
Zebras’ most distinctive feature is their black and white stripes which serve multiple purposes. They help zebras camouflage into the natural landscape and identify each other. Like a fingerprint, each zebra has a unique pattern of stripes.
Mongooses are brown-furred animals with a long body and pointed face. These terrestrial carnivorous mammals are commonly found throughout Sub-Saharan and eastern Africa. They are also spread throughout Asia and Europe.
Mongooses typically prey on other small mammals and insects. They also eat smaller birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Their fast-paced movements make them exceptional hunters. When not feasting on other animals, mongooses spend time socializing with other members of their colony.
During the day, they incessantly chatter using vowels and syllables that somewhat resemble human speech. As diurnal animals, mongooses spend their nights sleeping.
Tip: Find out more about mongoose’s human-like sounds here.
The spotted hyena is a highly territorial social animal with a fawn-colored coat covered in dark brown spots. Native to Africa, Arabia and India, the spotted hyena’s natural habitat includes different landscapes such as open grasslands, savannas, woodlands, forests, and even mountains up to 13,000 feet high.
Although generally considered wild dogs, the spotted hyena is more closely related to mongooses and cats than dogs. In fact, hyenas are not dogs at all.
Interestingly, female spotted hyenas have remarkable nurturing instincts. They are extremely caring for their young and spend lots of time bonding with their cubs.
Birds in Amboseli National Park
With more than 420 recorded species, Amboseli National Park boasts a variety of birds from varying habitats, ranging from wetlands to grasslands, and woodlands. Have a look at Amboseli National Park’s most exciting birds.
The yellow-billed stork is an adaptive, resourceful, and intelligent animal. They are part of the small group of birds in Amboseli National Park that are carnivorous. Small fish, crustaceans, frogs, insects, and worms form part of this feathery fellow’s diet.
Yellow-billed storks are not very social animals. They prefer their own solitude in muddy wetlands, like swamps and marshes.
If you’d like to see them up close and personal, you’ll find yellow-billed storks in aquatic habitats across East Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Madagascar.
Standing at 59 inches, the Goliath heron is the world’s tallest heron. The heron’s chestnut and black feathers, extended beak, and yellow eyes gives it a very distinctive appearance. These birds are native to wetlands, such as lakes and swamps, and are commonly found in Sub-Saharan and eastern Africa.
Goliath herons are passive hunters. They may stand stationary for up to an hour before fatally stabbing prey with their sharp beaks. Like the yellow-billed stork, Goliath herons are also solitary and sedentary birds. They do, however, often form flocks with other heron species.
There is more to flamingos than their rosy colored feathers. A big misconception is that flamingos cannot fly. These flamboyant birds can fly at speeds of up to 37 miles per hour. In zoos, their flight wings are usually trimmed, which is perhaps why many believe this pink-feathered bird cannot fly.
While sleeping, flamingos stand on one leg. Interestingly, scientific reports suggest that flamingos use more muscle power when balancing on both feet.
These resilient creatures can stay in the most uninhabitable environments. Flamingos can raise their young in alkaline or soda lakes, which are habitats that are otherwise hostile environments for other bird species.
Did you know?: A group of flamingos is known as a flamboyance.
The secretary bird is a gray-feathered bird of prey with a large body, long legs and an extended tail. This terrestrial bird is native to Sub-Saharan Africa and large flocks can be found in Amboseli National Park. The bird’s distinctive appearance is especially marked by the dramatic patch of feathers at the back of its head.
Mainly feeding on small mammals, reptiles, birds, large insects, and even venomous snakes, these raptors prefer open grasslands with short grass for an easy view of their prey.
Reptiles in Serengeti National Park
Reptiles are a common sighting in Amboseli National Park. Have a look at what makes Amboseli National Park’s reptiles so special.
Black mambas are highly venomous snakes native to Sub-Saharan Africa. They are Africa’s longest venomous snakes and can reach up to 14 feet in length. These gray-scaled slithering serpents are one of the world’s fastest snakes and can reach speeds of up to 12.5 miles per hour.
Black mambas are fast and agile hunters. Their diet mainly consists of smaller mammals such as rats, mice, squirrels, and birds. As very adaptable creatures, snakes are as fast-paced on land as they are in water. They can move swiftly on the ground, climb trees, and swim rapidly in aquatic habitats.
Iguanas are cold-blooded lizards covered in green or brown thick scales. These large-bodied, mostly herbivorous reptiles frequently sunbathe in an attempt to regulate their body temperature. Iguanas are the longest living lizards with a lifespan of 20 years.
Native to South America, iguanas are considered an invasive species in Africa. They have spread throughout Sub-Saharan and eastern Africa through wildlife trading.
A common sighting in Amboseli National Park, iguanas are arboreal animals which means they live in trees. More mature iguanas will occupy higher spots in a tree canopy, while juveniles will live in lower areas of the tree.
In the wild, iguanas typically feed almost exclusively on the tree leaves and vines. They also eat some fruits and flowers. Iguanas are voracious eaters and require large amounts of plant matter to survive.
The pancake tortoise is a flat-shelled species of tortoise native to Kenya and Tanzania. This brown-scaled tortoise’s unusually flat, thin and flexible shell allows the tortoise to move with incredibly fast speed. While other tortoises have solid shells, the pancake tortoise’s shell has many holes making the tortoise lightweight and agile.
While other tortoises hide in their shells, the pancake tortoise’s agility allows it to swiftly flee from predators. It also has green, brown and yellow patching – ideal for blending into their natural habitat.
The pancake tortoise lives in isolated colonies. They never venture too far from rocky crevices and are mostly active in the morning.
Mount Kenya Dwarf Gekko
The Mount Kenya dwarf gecko is a cold-blooded and agile species of lizard. They have a scaly exterior that changes color, depending on the season and habitat.
These energetic reptilians can jump from one tree to the next. This unique ability gives them an advantage over other geckos as they can eat more frequently and have access to a wider variety of plants.
Frequently Asked Questions About Animals in the Amboseli National Park?
Time to answer some of your burning questions about the animals in Amboseli National Park.
Where is Amboseli National Park?
Amboseli National Park is located in Kajiado County in south-central Kenya. A stone’s throw from the capital city, Nairobi. Kajiado County is surrounded by Mount Kilimanjaro in the west, which descends and forms the scenic Great Rift Valley.
What Does ‘Amboseli’ Mean?
The word ‘Amboseli’ derives from the local Maasai language. The word roughly translates to ‘salty dust’. The name comes from the Maasai tribe’s observations of how dusty the landscape becomes in the dry season.
What Can You Find in Amboseli National Park?
Amboseli National Park is adorned with plenty of natural features. The variety of animals are a treat for animal lovers. There’s also Observation Hill which includes a plethora of swamps, lakes, and other aquatic wetlands – usually occupied by flocks of pink-feathered flamingos.