We stayed two nights at Oitukai Lodge at Amboseli National Park of Kenya, from 30th January 2013. It took almost three hours from Nairobi by road to reach the lodge in time for dinner. There was unexpected rain at the park, which could dampen my prospects of taking pictures of the famous free ranging elephants at Amboseli with Mount Kilimanjaro as the backdrop.
Amboseli NP located in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro covers an area of 392 sq. km. and is at the center of an eco-system that spreads across the Kenya-Tanzania border with a buffer zone that extends up to 8,000 sq. km. The spectacular view of Mount Kilimanjaro on a clear day is a great photo opportunity. My first visit here was in 2010, but due to inclement weather, I could not get a clear view of the mountain with its ice cap. It is the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
On the morning safari the following day, the weather was not in our favor. The rain reduced the likelihood of the Elephants coming down from the mountain to the savannah. But luckily for us, the clouds over Kilimanjaro cleared for a while, and we were able to take some great shots, albeit without the elephants in the savannah. Our driver/guide was an expert in spotting and identifying birds, which helped me take pictures of over forty different varieties of birds. On one occasion I was able capture a picture of a Grey Crowned Crane with the mountain in the background. In the late afternoon, before dark, we sighted a lioness together with a cub crossing the road, behind our jeep. Generally, sighting of big cats is rare at Amboseli.
On 1st February, after an early breakfast we checked out of the lodge and on our way out of the park we came across a pride of eight Lions including two adult males. This was a nice finale to that leg of our trip as we went on to Tanzania to continue our African Safari 2013.