The tour company packed a lot into the eight-day tour I signed up for in May 2022. It included visits to four Kenyan national parks. Day three involved an early morning balloon safari (an extra I booked separately) and driving from Maasai Mara National Reserve to Amboseli National Park.

This isn’t much of a road trip report. It should provide a taste of what the drive was like hopefully. Usually when I travel to another country I’ll spend the majority of the time around one location like a major city or prime tourist destination. This trip, on the other hand, required a lot of driving. The driving was a welcomed opportunity to see southern Kenya — at least as much of it as was visible from the main road.

The as-the-crow-flies distance between Maasai Mara and Amboseli National Park is 168 miles (270 km). Without a direct road, the driving distance is 298.7 miles (478 km). Drive time was about nine hours with stops for gas and lunch.

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Our safari vehicle had room for seven plus the driver.  That was plenty of room for me, the guide and the driver.  There was no air con.  Opening the windows was sufficient to keep us cool.  The ride was comfortable on paved roads.  Except for the immediate area around the parks, roads were two lane and paved.




From the Mara to Nairobi the country was the mostly dry, open, and flat floor of the Great Rift Valley.  There were a few small towns along the road.   I could tell when we were in Maasai country by people’s clothing.



We stopped for gas in Narok.  Gas stations along the road had small restaurants, convenience stores and other services.  They were a welcome opportunity to stretch legs and grab a cold drink.  We also had bottled water in the vehicle.  



The route climbed out of the Rift Valley as we neared Nairobi.

Rift Valley view near Nairobi


Kitengela about 30 miles south of Nairobi

About an hour south of Nairobi we stopped for lunch near Lianai at a restaurant and gift shop called Paradise Gallery.  We ate boxed lunches packed in the vehicle.  Lunch consisted of two small sandwiches, fried chicken, fruit, juice and a cookie. 

Paradise Gallery Lianai, Kenya





Black-capped social weaver nests decorated some of the trees at the restaurant.


Outside Nairobi, livestock near (or on) the road was common.  



Amboseli is very close to the border with Tanzania. We passed through Namanga, Kenya just before reaching the park in the early evening.  The border bisects the town.  Trucks were lined up waiting for inspections at the border.


My accommodation, AA Lodge Amboseli, and the national park sit in the shadow of the always impressive Mount Kilimanjaro.  Even though the summit sits at 19,340 ft (5,895 m), it is startling to see snow in a hot climate only 210 miles (330 km) south of the equator. 


A safari in Amboseli National Park was scheduled for the next day. 


Final Thoughts

The nine-hour drive to Amboseli turned out to be surprisingly fun and interesting. I enjoyed having an up-close look at the people and the countryside. That is something you don’t get in a plane. Thanks for tuning in to this change of pace from my usual Wordless Wednesday? posts. They will be back.