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Experience Kenya's Amboseli Reserve where elephants have right of way

  • 04-Feb-11 16:47
  • Kenya
  • The Telegraph Travel

Travellers seeking a unique and thrilling experience during their Kenya holidays will find breathtaking natural landscapes and magnificent wildlife at the Amboseli National Park where elephants have right of way.

Experience Kenya's Amboseli Reserve where elephants have right of way

With a backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro and 150 square miles of open lush savannah landscapes, the Amboseli National Park is the perfect destination for travellers on Kenya holidays.

Second most popular after the Maasai Mara National Reserve, the Amboseli National Park is situated south of Kenya's capital Nairobi and runs along the Kenya-Tanzania border.

In 1974, the reserve become a national park to protects its ecosystem and it inhabitants which make up herds of zebras, lions, wildebeest, buffalos and of course, free-ranging elephants.

In 2008, the national park encountered a severe drought which only broke at the end of 2009. By that point approximately 300 of the park's 1,200 elephants had died and the population of zebra and wildebeest had severely declined which had a knock-on effect to the survival of lions.

Fortunately, one year on the semi-desert terrain has been replaced by lush green vegetation and the watery swamps are now reappearing. The national park is also looking forward to an elephant baby boom later this year as the 22 month pregnancy cycles run their course.

Travellers enjoying Kenya holidays will be able to experience close encounters with these magnificent creatures with a big five African safari led by experienced and professional guides.

Soila Saiyielel is a local guide who is charge of the elephant research project which was set up by Cynthia Moss in 1972. She explained: "Amboseli has always had droughts. The problem we face is that the droughts are getting more frequent and the effects far more severe.

"During the drought the Maasai lost 80 per cent of their cattle. Inevitably, some retaliate against the wild animals, or are forced to sell their land – meaning more is lost to farming. The key issue is to mitigate the conflict between man and animals."

Travellers looking for a unique safari in Kenya will be spoilt as they are guided through the beautiful natural landscapes, catching sightings of elephants enjoying mud baths, hippos lazing in the swamps, giraffes feeding from the trees and local Massai warriers.

Jake Grieves-Cook, the former chairman of Kenya Tourism, now runs Porini Camp within the national park. He explained: "Habitat loss has been going on for decades now and the elephants have become ever more confined. This has had a major impact on the land. At the same time, the salinity of the soil has increased due to the loss of trees and acacia bushes.

"What we've been trying to do is enlarge the area that is available for all wildlife species, not just the elephants.

"By working with the Maasai elders, we are creating conservancies that belong to the communities but which are not split up and turned into farmland. The Maasai get an income that's greater than what the alternatives offer – and so by conserving the habitat they get an income from tourism."

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