Kilimanjaro & Amboseli
Enduimet’s outstretched wilderness forms part of the ‘Amboseli Echo System,’ which remains one of Tanzania’s best-kept secrets and well preserved nature reserves. The soil contains layers of high mineral content from millions of years of volcanic activity. It is a patchwork of contrasting scenery of parched, salt covered flatlands, rolling valleys, infinite plains of black cotton soil peppered with Acacia trees, and rocky landscapes shroud in a blanket of hard ancient lava stilled in time. From sun baked plains raise to the fertile, interior of Kilmanjaro’s forested canopy.
Both migratory and habitual herds of plains-game habitat the region, following rain patterns in search of pastures; remaining closer to Enduimet’s reliable water catchments during the long dry seasons when the grasslands turn a scorched yellow.
Herbivores are plentiful, including elephant, giraffe, African buffalo, zebra, and antelope such as giant eland, lesser kudu, wildebeest, hartebeest, gerenuk and numerous smaller gazelle. Predators’ in the food chain include lion, leopard, cheetah, numerous smaller cats, hyena, foxes and jackals. A rich variety of endemic and migrating birds inhabit the area making it an ornithologist’s paradise.
Snow capped Kilimanjaro rises to 19,600ft and its crystal clear waters feed the landscape below, all the way to the swamps of Amboseli bordering Enduimet. In between lies a tapestry of ancient paths, trodden by generations of elephants migrating back and forth between the mountain and outreaches below.
West Kilimanjaro is unquestionably one of Tanzania’s best-kept secrets. Untamed, it remains comparatively unchanged since man and beast first set foot into its interior.
For centuries the Maasai have co-existed in the area. Best known for their pastoralist lifestyle, colourful clothes and fearless warriors; their revere for wildlife and no taste for game meat makes it a strong and lasting affiliation – further strengthened by the formation of the Enduimet Wildlife Management Area.
By Colleen Hogg
March, 2013 – Tanzania