Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, is renowned for its enormous herds of elephants. And in 2020, those herds became even more impressive.
The park, which is home to around 1,500 elephants, saw a record number of more than 225 calves born last year, including two rare sets of twins. Typically, around 50 to 100 births might be expected but the past two years’ heavy rainy seasons have increased elephant fertility and caused something of a baby boom. Also, as a result of the ongoing anti-poaching efforts, there were no poaching incidents in 2020.
It’s part of a wider good-news story for Kenyan elephants. In the past 30 years, the country’s pachyderm population has risen dramatically, from 16,000 in 1989 to 34,800 in 2019.
This makes 2021 a great time to visit Amboseli, to see the herds at their biggest, parading before the backdrop of Africa’s highest peak.
Undoubtedly the best place to experience this iconic safari scene is Elewana Tortilis Camp. Unlike most Amboseli lodges, which sit in the middle of the park, Tortilis is set apart, on the southwest border, from where you get the most dramatic views of Kilimanjaro.
Tortilis has full access to the national park but also an exclusive private conservancy, where activities such as night drives and bush walks are permitted, and where wildlife encounters tend to be more frequent, more intimate and more intense.
The camp’s sustainability credentials are also unmatched. In spring 2021, 100% solar-powered Tortilis was again awarded the highest Gold Eco-rating by Ecotoursim Kenya, recognising its responsible resource use, conservation work and social-economic programmes.
Best of all, Tortilis Camp’s world-class guides can give a fresh perspective on all those elephants. Many of the guides are Masai who have grown up in this wilderness and are not only experts on the animal tracks, traditional herbs and seasonal flowers, but know each individual elephant and its family relationships. There is no better way to get to know Amboseli’s mightiest residents.