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Amboseli's fame during the early days of independence saw the establishment of some pretty hideous concrete lodges within the park's boundaries. Adding insult to injury, these places are not only designed to accommodate large numbers of guests, but are usually protected by ugly fences and electric wires, exacerbating a sense of being in an isolated environment that's disconnected from the wilderness you've come to witness. That said, the large lodges are a good deal more affordable than the more dignified, intimate properties situated outside the park itself.

Intimate Camps Outside the Park -- Amboseli Porini (tel. 20/712-3129; www.porini.com) is a recommended traditional tented camp (the first in the Porini stable of four camps around the country) with all necessary comforts and an emphasis on simplicity and consistent standards rather than luxury. The camp is on the well-established, community-owned Selenkay Conservation Area, and local Maasai are employed here. The price per person is $800 to $1,090 for a 2-night stay, including road transfers from Nairobi, all park fees, meals, drinks, and game-viewing activities, as well as a visit to a Maasai homestead. The same 2-night deal, with return flights rather than overland transfers between Nairobi and Amboseli, costs an additional $75 (one-way) per person.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.