Dry Season East Africa, 2023: Amboseli

4 Days


Guided by Jim Heck

August 1 – 4, 2023

$ 2,770

This classic “Dry Season Safari” is somewhat misnamed. Its highlight is the great wildebeest migration in Kenya’s Maasai Mara and the possibility of witnessing a dramatic river crossing. But the reason the million or so wildebeest are in the Mara, now, is precisely because it’s the only place in East Africa’s great big game parks where it’s still raining! The wildebeest are drawn here from all over East Africa, mostly north from the great Serengeti because those areas are now dry as a bone and the grass has stopped growing! Wildebeest eat nothing but grass. So at this time of the year Kenya’s Maasai Mara is the most productive, beautiful and exciting place in all of the continent!

With this safari, you can choose to visit Amboseli, Kenya, Tanzania or all three!

This page details the Amboseli PreTour, where you will visit Amboseli National Park under Mt. Kilimanjaro. Wildlife you may see include leopard, cheetah, wild dogs, buffalo, elephant, giraffe, zebra, lion, crocodile, mongoose, hyrax, dik-dik, lesser dudu, nocturnal porcupine and 600 species of birds.

But the main reason to visit Amboseli is the elephants. Large herds of elephants – by the dozens if not hundreds. Watching the young ones being tucked into a rapidly marching line of massive jumbos is fantastic!

No matter what the weather, Amboseli usually provides an uniform game viewing experience. This is because it is essentially a huge soda lake with emerging marshes that are fed by underground rivers coming off Mt. Kilimanjaro. So even when there is a serious dry spell on the veld, Kili never stops pumping down the water.

This page details the Amboseli tour.  You can choose to visit Amboseli, Kenya, Tanzania or all three:

2023 Dates Sharing Single Local Air
Amboseli August 1-4 $ 2,770 $ 3,440 $ 0
Kenya August 4-15 $ 9,995 $ 11,990 $ 820
Tanzania August 15-23 $ 6,890 $ 8,790 $ 1,585

Jim’s been guiding safaris in Tanzania for nearly a half century. His experience and field knowledge is unmatched and his love of showing you this most amazing part of the world cannot be duplicated by anyone else. Join him on this certain trip of a lifetime!

About your guide . . . . JIM HECK

Few people know Africa as well as Jim Heck. For nearly a half century he has worked, lived and guided in Africa. His popular blog, Africa-Answerman, includes investigative journalism of some of Africa’s most critical news stories as well as anecdotes and features of daily African life. His award-winning novel, Chasm Gorge, will soon be followed by a second one, The World by Ole Kulit. His companies have organized safaris into Africa for more than 10,000 visitors including most of the country’s major zoos and conservation organizations. And in 2016 he became the first American to be named an honorary senior elder by Kenya’s Maasai tribe.Jim was the first westerner allowed to leave Addis after the Red Terror; had canoes overturned among crocs and hippos on the Zambezi; been charged by an elephant that he hit with a plate of waldorf salad; lost in the jungles of Cameroun; marooned in the Ituri Forest and rescued by Rhodesian sanction busters; and was among the few outsiders to travel through Uganda during the time of Idi Amin. Jim has never lost a client or fired a gun.


Whenever you arrive in Kenya’s main international airport you’ll be personally met and privately transferred about 40 minutes to the south end of Nairobi National Park. This “little” big game park is one of the treasures of Nairobi, a city pushing 6 million people! While there may not be time to actually visit the park, you’ll spend the night in a farm that is adjacent the park, Ololo Safari Lodge and Farm.
[no meals]

This morning you’ll meet your driver/guides and special safari vehicles and drive south towards Tanzania on the main Nairobi/Arusha highway. Weather-permitting there should be some outstanding views of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Enter Amboseli National Park in the late morning. This relatively large park is actually mostly an immense dry soda lake that doesn’t attract much game. The magnificent game viewing is found in the center of the park among its swamp lands directly beneath Kili. So for about an hour or so it’s like driving on the Nevada desert! During heavy rainy seasons this dry lake actually does pool full, but at this time of the year it’s normally dry. Arrive at the swamplands in the early afternoon in time for a late lunch in camp. In the afternoon you take your first game drive before dinner and overnight at Tortilis Camp.

Your guides will determine your schedule of game viewing depending upon the conditions at the time. Normally you’ll depart before dawn after a quick coffee or tea and some biscuits, so that you’re on the veld just before first light. This is when the animals are most active and the chance of seeing a take-down by the cats most likely. You then return to camp for a big lunch and time for a quick siesta before the afternoon game drive which must return at sunset...

Amboseli is most famous for its elephants and the researcher, Cynthia Moss, who has been studying them for a half century. They are drawn to the park because of the swamp vegetation, some of their favorite food. But the park is filled with all the big game, especially zebra and giraffe, and dozens of other big game species. The bird life is extraordinary, because of the swamps, and the overall scenery directly beneath Kilimanjaro is the logo for all safaris! Meals, game viewing and overnight at Tortilis Camp.

After another morning of game viewing you drive back to Nairobi, arriving around mid-afternoon. You check in at a wonderful resort in the suburb of Karen, Hemingways Resort.

Nairobi is Kenya’s national city. It is one of the busiest and often most congested cities on the continent, so be patient as you navigate the traffic! But the congestion is worth it!

The Kenya portion of the tour officially starts tomorrow.
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Cost Includes

  • Prices include accommodations and meals as named
  • Transport in specially outfitted 4x4 safari vehicles with pop-top roofs operated by professionally trained, English-speaking driver/guides
  • All government fees including park entrance fees, property concession fees, transport fees and V.A.T.
  • Guiding by Jim Heck after six persons are reserved

Additional Expenses Not Included

  • Anything not specifically mentioned including but not limited to all international air fares including those between Kenya and Tanzania
  • Gear and medical precautions
  • Visas and exit fees
  • Tipping (Jim Heck does not accept tips)
  • The costs of obtaining requisite documentation such as visas and proof of vaccinations
  • Some meals and most beverages
  • Any costs associated with Covid-19 or any other pandemic