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Amboseli National Park, Kenya

Amboseli National Park, formerly Masai Amboseli Game Reserve, is in Kajiado District, Rift Valley Province in Kenya. The park is 39,206 hectares in size at the core of an 8,000 square kilometres ecosystem that spreads across the Kenya-Tanzania border. The local people are mainly Maasai, but people from other parts of the country have settled there attracted by the successful tourist-driven economy and intensive agriculture along the system of swamps that makes this low-rainfall area (average 350 mm) one of the best wildlife-viewing experiences in the world. The park protects two of the five main swamps, and includes a dried-up Pleistocene lake and semi-arid vegetation.

260 kilometres from the capital city Nairobi, Amboseli National Park is the third most visited game area in Kenya after Maasai Mara National Reserve and Nakuru National Park and the visit can easily be done in a weekend.

In 1883, Joseph Thompson was the first European to penetrate the feared Masai region known as Empusel (meaning 'salty, dusty place' in Maa). He, too, was astonished by the fantastic array of wildlife and the contrast between the arid areas of the dry-lake bed and the oasis of the swamps, a contrast that persists today.

Amboseli was set aside as the 'Southern Reserve' for Masai in 1906 but returned to local control as a Game Reserve in 1948. Gazetted a National Park in 1974 in order to protect the core this unique ecosystem, it was declared a UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve in 1991. 

Amboseli National Park is famous for being the best place in Africa to get close to free-ranging elephants. Other attractions of the park include opportunities to meet Masai and spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world.