Parks & reserves: Amboseli National Park
Amboseli is located 240 km southeast of Nairobi. There is a daily direct flight by Air Kenya from Wilson airport, in Nairobi. Buses from the capital reach Namanga, in the Tanzanian border, but there is no transport from there to the park's gates.
To drive from Nairobi, you will leave the city by the A109, the Nairobi-Mombasa road. Some 30 km away from Nairobi you will spot the outline of a large factory, the Athi River cement plant. The turnoff from the A109 leads to the town of Athi river, at the right hand of the highway, and leads us to the A104, a very good tarmac road that runs southward to Namanga. This town is in the Tanzanian border. Few meters before the border posts, a road appears at the left hand, the C103. Exiting Namanga, children amuse themselves by throwing stones to the passing cars, but fortunately their aiming is pretty bad. The C103, a very dusty road in bad condition, leads us after 45 km to Meshanani (Namanga) Gate, one of the park gates and the place where you can obtain your Safari Card. From Namanga there is another track leading to the park trough Kitirua Gate, but this road goes through Tanzanian territory and is seldom used.
Before the A104 was paved, most visitors used another route, the C104 that starts in the Nairobi-Mombasa road at the town of Emali, some 130 km away from Nairobi. This track goes through Makutano and Kimana, where a right turnoff leads to Amboseli.
Another alternative route from Nairobi, though not recommended, is to take the C102 from the Nairobi-Mombasa road at the town of Sultan Hamud. The C102 leads to a detour that brings you right to Lemito (Eremito) Gate.
If you drive to Amboseli from Tsavo West national park (94 km), you should leave the park through Chyulu Gate and take the C103, the same road from Namanga to Amboseli that follows eastward to Tsavo. Due to former security problems, this route must be covered in convoys, departing from Chyulu Gate daily at 10 AM and at 2 PM. If you miss the convoys, the park rangers will provide an escort policeman for free, though a tip will be acknowledged. Little after leaving the park, the road crosses the Shetani lava flow, thrown by the craters of the nearby Chyulu Hills. The track, in very bad conditions, goes bordering Chyulu Hills to the town of Oloitokitok. You will see a crossing that leads right to Emali, on the Nairobi-Mombasa road, and left to Tanzania. Take the Emali (right) direction. A few kilometers ahead there is a turnoff at left to Namanga, and this road will lead you to Kelonyeti (Olkelunyiet or Kimana) Gate in Amboseli. Entering the park through this gate, you will border the Loginya (Olokenya) swamp until you reach the Ol Tukai lodge area.
The park's tracks are signposted and the maps are good. Both Kilimanjaro and Observation Hill serve as permanent reference points, reason why it is very difficult to get lost in Amboseli. When rains come harder than usual, some of the roads may be flooded, among them the main access to the Ol Tukai lodges from the Namanga road. In this case you will have to turn right towards Observation Hill and drive round the flooded area to the west. If you are coming from Tsavo, you will hardly find any problem.