Chyulu Hills & Amboseli National Park
Amongst the most scenic settings in Africa, every vista is dominated by the majestic snow-capped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Chyulu Hills & Amboseli Safaris
Amboseli is one of Kenya’s best known parks, as famous for its big tuskers as the iconic Kilimanjaro background; the nearby Chyulu Hills provide a superb, less-visited, alternative.
Amboseli National Park covers just 150 square miles (390-km2). Elephants and giraffes are easily found here and many visitors enjoy photographing them as they pass in front of majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. Amboseli is perhaps best known for its abundant (more than 1000) and approachable elephants – the subject of several documentaries and ongoing research, including Cynthia Moss’ classic book Elephant Memories.
The reserve lies on the rain shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro and receives on average just 300mm of rain a year. Interestingly however, subterranean water draining off the northern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro surface in Amboseli in the form of freshwater springs.
These springs are a major draw for wildlife and the surrounding papyrus beds are an attractive habitat for wetland species. A dry and ancient lakebed occupies the western tranche of the reserve, but when it fills after heavy rains it is a huge attraction for birds.
To the east lie the Chyulu Hills, a beautiful range of ‘green’ hills from which you can still see Mount Kilimanjaro rising above the surrounding plains. The mountain seems so close, but is actually located in Tanzania more than 30 miles from the Park.
The Chyulu Hills are of volcanic origin, and several forested volcanic lava flows snake out across the surrounding plains to create a varied and interesting landscape. Granite hills dot the plains which add further to the scenic experience. Although a little further away from Kilimanjaro, this region offers a far more exclusive alternative to Amboseli.
Large mammal sightings are not as certain as they are in Amboseli, but the scenery is stunning and the safari experience more personalised. The eastern side of the hills are gazetted as a National Park, while the western side comprises a conservation area. The latter is where most of the safari options are found – excellent horse riding safaris through the hills and along the plains towards Kilimanjaro are complimented by a couple of lodges offering game drives (day and night) and walks.
+ Read More
- Riding across the plains
- Good for seeing the pachyderms
- Remote and wild safari experience
- Stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro
Top Reasons To Visit Chyulu Hills & Amboseli
Often the best safaris involve looking beyond the obvious highlights. It’s about the exhilarating encounters that will make your heart sing. These are encounters that nobody could ever predict, but that make your safari genuinely unique.
Best Time To Visit Chyulu Hills & Amboseli
Game-viewing is at its best in the Chyulu Hills and Amboseli from December through to March, a time which also provides the best views of Kilimanjaro.
However, the park remains open year round. July to October can also be a very good time for wildlife viewing. April and May can be quite wet which can make getting around the region more troublesome, but keen birdwatchers may be able to look past this as this time of the year is sensational for birding.
Best Time To Visit Chyulu Hills & Amboseli
Our Favourite Camps & Lodges
There are plenty of animals here, but don’t come impatient to have it all on a plate, or you could end up frustrated.Learn More
Chyulu & Amboseli Safari (FAQS) NEED TO KNOW
How many days do you need in the Chyulu Hills and Amboseli National Park?
We suggest at least two full days in Amboseli, and the same for the Chyulu Hills. Although the wildlife is more sparse in the Chyulu Hills, there is more freedom to explore on foot. It’s also a great opportunity to gain an understanding of human-wildlife conservation challenges by spending time with the Maasai community projects. The two areas compliment each other well and we would suggest Amboseli before heading up to the Chyulus, so you get your “big-game fix” before heading on to a more exclusive experience.
What is the best way to explore Amboseli National Park?
Being a National Park, Amboseli must be explored in a vehicle. The best way to do this is to take a private vehicle and guide and a packed lunch. This will enable you to spend as long as you wish searching for whatever particularly interests you, without having to worry about others. Incidentally, historic off-road driving caused immense damage to the Amboseli’s ecosystem so there are now strict rules in place which should be both adhered to and encouraged.
What is the accommodation at Chyulu Hills like?
Camp ya Kanzi in the Chyulu Hills is a wonderful mix of Hemingway’s romantic notion of old-time Africa – think golden gramophone and Maasai cow hide rugs – but run in a truly responsible eco-sensitive nature, all rounded off with some wonderful Italian flair and cuisine. Comfortable, colourful, stylish and personalised – what’s not to like?
From our Travel Guides
Top 5 Wildlife Safaris
Top 5 Safari Destinations to see Wild Dog
Top 5 Safari Destinations to see Lions
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
Our second unforgettable trip with Natural High, hopefully not the last!
Fantastic Christmas trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar, organised at very short notice. Wonderful staff at every camp, an unforgettable family experience. …
Claire & George
Outstanding customer service well above the call of duty.
Natural High arranged a trip to remember …accommodation first class, transportation on very long road trips was excellent. Spotless . air conditioni…
Personal service and excellent organisation
This was our first holiday to be organised by Natural High. We made the enquiry on New Year’s Eve for a departure in February and within a few days…
Ken and Caroline
Fantasic Natural High
Brilliant, everything is so well organised. We have had two trips of a lifetime organised by Rod Tether who is also a guide extraordinaire!…
Antony & Jane Braithwaite RT
Fantastic Natural High
Perfectly organised trip to two great Nomad camps in Tanzania!…
Natural High nailed it again
Sledding in Sweden was our second wonderful holiday with Natural High. From the moment you speak to them to when you get home the service and attentio…
Fantasic Natural High
We are repeat customers and NH never fail to deliver an exceptional trip. They understand exactly what we want to experience and tailor the adventure …
Ruth Maxwell AH
Enjoyed EVERY second of an action- packed two weeks in Kenya. Asante Sana👏
This was my fourth safari booked with Natural High and, as previously, it surpassed my expectations. Vanessa’s Itinerary was spot on – the three cam…
Julie Baxter VJ
Fantasic Natural High
They picked out good places to stay that fitted the criteria. Very thoughtful and attentive. They called back and they sent emails with suggestions….
Morroco was a pleasant surprise
This was certainly not our first trip with natural high. As any other trip, organization was great, ie pick up, vehicles, local guides, food, all well…
Don and Bernice Willoughby RT
The holiday was absolutely perfect. The recommended places to stay were spot on, excellent service throughout. It shows that each property has been vi…
Susan And Russell Holdsworth VJ
Everything went smoothly and selection of accommodation was perect for us
Excellent, no problems…
Fantastic Kenya 🇰🇪 Safari thanks Vanessa
We stayed at three beautiful lodges; The Emakoko Nairobi National Park, Tortillis Camp Amboseli National Park and Kicheche Valley Camp Mara Conservati…
David Poninghaus VJ
Seamless service, Catherine was able to accommodate my changing needs, even last minute changes that were my fault, and ended up with a wonderful vaca…
Very helpful and accomodating
Very helpful and Catherine went out of her way to accommodate us. It was also short notice from our side and yet it all worked very well. Good advice …
Phenomenal Safari which will certainly stay with us for years to come
Our main contact, Rod, was extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of the Safari that we ultimately decided upon. We trusted his recommendations throug…
Matt & Lucy Worthy RT
First class. Experts in the holiday adventure field. Great to deal with
First class! Natural High are experts in their field. All the boxes are ticked which leaves you to travel without any worries. Excellent destinations…
Perfect family Safari!!
Our family Kenyan safari trip to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary was perfectly planned by Catherine from the moment we landed in Nairobi, to ou…