The recognisable photograph of Elephants wandering across grass plains backed by the snowy peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, encompasses everything that is desirable about safari.
This is the classic picture you can expect to take in Amboseli National Park and it cannot be mistaken for anywhere else on earth. Big sky, distant horizons, untamed animals and classic East African scenery epitomise this park.
The Garden of Eden that is Amboseli comes with some inherent problems - namely Elephants. Hundreds of them, who put their own food source at risk by pushing over too many trees. With a climate that swings from drought to flood, enough fodder for all these Elephants can become a problem.
Luckily, the run off from Mt Kilimanjaro provides a permanent lifesaving water source for Amboseli, with its underground streams that rise to the surface in swampy springs. Great herds of Elephants are to be found in these areas and herds reach a 100 strong. The area is renowned for its big old bull Elephants sporting magnificent tusks, as well as plentiful other plains game such as Impala, Wildebeest, Zebra, Buffalo, Giraffe and plentiful Lions.
The great English explorer Joseph Thomson (who the Thomson's Gazelle is named after), travelled through Amboseli back in the 1880's and wrote, 'How can such large numbers of game live in this extraordinary desert?' Many visitors still ask the same question, although depending upon the rains, they may experience a rather greener environment than Thomson came across.