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Amboseli National Park

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For all the attractions scattered around Kenya, Amboseli National Park might offer the definitive photo op, with its famous elephants stomping through the bush and Kilimanjaro's snowy shoulders flexing in the background. Sure, Africa's most famous peak is technically on the Tanzanian side of the border, but with the stunning views this park affords, Kenya has more or less co-opted those snows for itself. Wildlife-watching in Amboseli centers on its packs of pachyderms, but watch out for wildebeest, impala, and zebra—even the odd cheetah feasting on a fresh kill. Evening game drives are pure magic, when the clouds part, the birdsong bursts from the acacias, and Kilimanjaro's snowcapped crown catches the last rays of daylight. It's no surprise that Hemingway drew much of his inspiration from Amboseli's landscape (at least, when he wasn't shooting its wildlife). Those traveling with an outfitter may not have the option to choose, but if you're organizing your own trip, treat yourself to a stay at the award-winning Tortilis Camp, an intimate escape from the park's barren, dusty plains.

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Amboseli back in 2001

Surrounded by 200 of these gorgeous elephants with their toddlers in tow and expelled old males following at a safe distance while we sat in our van from its dirt... more