Amboseli National Park, Even Without the Kilimanjaro View

by Olivia-Petra Coman

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By the time we got to Amboseli, passing colorful Maasai men and women, who rightfully called this area, too, home, I had gone through many states of tiredness, boredom, indignation, seen the slums of Nairobi and then let them all go down with a teasing French fry.

There was so much dust that I could literally feel it sticking to my skin, dangerously close in that day’s heat. Even close to sunset time.

 

amboseli-national-park-kenya

© Marcel Bancila

Amboseli National Park felt flat. Without the postcard view that we were after, of Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance, ‘it has nothing special’ I told myself right then and there. The clouds had messed around with our expectations but had done a great job at creating interesting designs in the seasonal puddles of water along the main road, culminating with a lake that served well to thirsty buffalos.

 

elephants-amboseli-national-park (2)

© Marcel Bancila

Zebras and hippos were grazing and then, all of a sudden, we saw a family of six elephants, led by the wisest and – probably – more experienced of the small herd, continuously making sure by the use of its trunk that the road was the right one. And that it was safe. What can you do but watch in awe, not even thinking that you still need to do other things – breathe, for example? They continued to pass two by two, with the last two pairs uniting to protect their very small and special member. Those big ears and kind faces were simply adorable – African elephants seemed cuter and more photogenic to me than the Asian ones I saw in Yala, more plush-toy material.

amboseli-national-park

© Marcel Bancila

There are certain moments that change your life and make you perceive your bubble fuller of emotion.

As we left for our camp, we found out that baboons had taken over a former hotel found at one of the exits of the reserve. And then, through glimpses of an orange sunset that had come closest to what we hoped to get in Africa, we saw two more elephants outside the park.  

Would you like a wet towel, Ma’am?

Yes, please!

It went well with the mango juice and I think that it was precisely what we had all dreamed to get. Our tent was gigantic, it had everything it needed –and more!–, in a very over-the-top yet tasteful décor. Finally, there was an answer to my cravings! Cakes! Three kinds. 

There is no need to tell you how well I slept and that some more cookies were munched by me in the morning. Glamping comes with its perks.

 

sunset-amboseli-national-park

© Marcel Bancila

The clouds had scattered and shades of blue were perceivable, with scenes that seemed cut out of The Lion King, featuring eagles perched on branches, as if plotting some crazy plans.

Talking of royalties, we did witness some surprisingly short mating sessions between a lion and a lioness, with a second lioness calmly licking its paws, a few meters away. Prowling could wait.

 

elephants-amboseli-national-park

© Marcel Bancila

For a proper goodbye, one elephant herd had reappeared to cross. They stopped for a minute to allow the baby of the bunch to drink some milk and then continued on the main road, forcing us to wait and watch them, as they faded out. Just like vastness is replaced by dots when you climb to 35,000 feet on your return to Europe. 

And you know what? We did end up seeing Mount Kilimanjaro from our plane’s window! 

 

Read all of Olivia’s safari adventures in Africa:

And find out where else she’s traveled to on her blog


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