Tsavo national park

Tsavo national park Kenya is situated in Kenya’s south-west, Tsavo is an enormous wilderness area that has been divided into Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks. Combined, Tsavo is Kenya’s biggest park and, at 22,000km2 (13,671 miles), one of the world’s largest game sanctuaries. It is particularly well known for its large herd of red elephants and captivating landscapes. Tsavo is one of the less populated game areas in Kenya and is perfect for those who want to enjoy a pristine wildlife experience. Highlight of Tsavo national park is the spectacular Mzima Springs, where crystal clear water flows through volcanic rock.

Tsavo is made up of two separate park that is Tsavo east and Tsavo West National park.

Tsavo East National Park.

Tsavo East is one of the oldest and largest national parks in Kenya at 13,747 square kilometers, situated in a semi-arid area previously known as the Taru desert, it was opened in April 1948, and is located near the town of Voi in the Taita-Taveta County of the former coast province. The park is divided into east and west sections by the A109 road and a railway. Named for the Tsavo River, which flows west to east through the national parks, it borders the Chyulu Hills National Park and the Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania.

Attractions in Tsavo East National Park.


Tsavo East national Park is a best wildlife safari destination in Kenya, as in the park hosts 675 wildlife individuals with a huge number of lions, the park has well as has mammals and primates that includes mammals like the elephants, leopards, cheetah, buffalos, black rhinos, impala, aardwolf, grevy’s and plain zebras, warthogs ,civet, dik-dik, caracal, African wildcat, eland, African hunting dog tree hyrax, black-backed and side stripped and spotted hyena, lesser kudu, gazelles, small spotted genet, greater galago African hare, marsh mongoose, bush duiker, red duiker and many more.

Primates in Tsavo east national park includes; yellow baboon, Skye’s monkey and many more.

Tsavo national park

Bird species.

Tsavo East national park has got over 500 bird species, as it has many-dry specials which are easy to spot, including magnificent golden-breasted starling, golden pipit and vulturine guineafowl.The park is also the southernmost stronghold for the Somali ostrich. The park’s huge area is a significant wintering ground for migrant species from Europe and migrant birds are present from November to April. Bird species in Tsavo East national park includes African finfoot, Fischer’s starling, Martial eagle, Northern brownbul, Pangani longclaw, Red-bellied parrot, Rufous chatter, Somali bee-eater, Vulturine guineafowl, Taita falcon, Taita fiscal, Somali bunting and many more.

Kanderi swamp.

Kanderi swamp is one of the water sources of the ecosystem of Tsavo East national park and it is one of the spectacular tourists attractions in the park, the swamp lies along the Voi River and as water source the river attracts a huge number of animals. Kanderi swamp is a great site for Kenya Wildlife viewings safari and during a game drive you get to enjoy viewing many animals’ species like elephant’s buffalos, antelopes and many more.

Aruba dam.

Aruba dam is a water reservoir in Tsavo east national park built in 1952 along Voi River, the dam is one of the excellent Kenya wildlife viewing spots in Tsavo national park, the dam attracts thousands of animals of Tsavo national park most especially in the dry season, these animals crowd the dam so as to drink water, also some birds live around the dam.

Galana and Tsavo River.

The landscape of Tsavo East national park is crossed by the two rivers of Galana and Tsavo Rivers, these rivers are some of the main water sources feeding the entire Tsavo east national park. Tsavo River runs through the Tsavo East national park and Tsavo West national park on its way to joining Athi river to form Galana river. Galana River has its origins in the south eastern Kenya highlands and on its way it to the Indian Ocean where it pours its water it flows through Tsavo East national park.

Mudanda rock.

Mudanda rock in Tsavo East national park is an inselberg of stratified rock of 1.6 kilometers, this rock is a water catchment spot supplying water to the natural dam situated below it and a watering area where animals come to drink water most especially in the dry season, at the same time the rock is an excellent viewing point in the park.

Yatta plateau.

Yatta plateau is one of the fascinating attractions in Tsavo East national park and must visit feature while on a Kenya safari in the park, Yatta plateau is the world’s longest lava flow of 290 kilometers formed as a result of lava that formed the Ol Doinyo Sabuj Mountain during the eruption process. Yatta plateau runs along the western border of Tsavo East national park above Athi River. Yatta plateau is the longest lava flow in the world, the plateau was formed by lava from the Ol Doinyo Sabuk Mountain during its eruption process.

Lugard falls.

Lugard falls are among the spectacular features found in Tsavo East national park and a thrilling feature to visit on your Kenya walking safari in the park, Lugard falls feature a series of white water rapids and is formed in the Galana River. Lugard falls were named by a British explorer and colonial administrator by the names of Fredrick Lugard.

Tsavo national park
Lugard falls

Activities done in Tsavo East national park.

Bird watching.

With over 500 bird species, Tsavo East national park offers a truly distinctive and unbelievable birding experience, as these include many of the dry-country specials easily spotted such as the Vulturine Guineafowl, Ortolan Bunting, Bat-like Spinetail, Yellow throated Sandgrouse, Golden-breasted starling and many more.

Wildlife viewing.

Tsavo East national park offers wildlife viewing with all the members of the African big five such as the Lion, Buffalo, Elephant, rhino and Leopard and large schools of hippos and gigantic Nile crocodiles including other smaller species of mammals like dik-dik, bush baby and Klipspringers are supported by the park and offer one of the most spectacular wildlife viewings.

Cultural tours.

Tsavo East national park is one of the best destinations with regard to cultural tours, most of the national parks are bordered by the local Maasai people who have unique cultures which has been diluted with the current modernization, cultural tours in Tsavo are some of the activities and experience guests can enjoy as the guests enjoy their home settlement patterns which are gazetted and well fenced with local materials like thorns, as well as their dances, plays, songs and many more.

Guided nature walks.

Guided nature walks sometimes known as the walking safaris are some of the top activities of Tsavo national park. The guided nature walks are done under the park ranger who is armed to protect the guests from any danger at the park.

Best time to visit Tsavo East national park.

The best time to visit Tsavo East national park is in June to October and January to February, when the conditions in the park are favorable for wildlife watching.

Where to stay in Tsavo East national park.

Tsavo East national park provides the most comfort accommodations for the guests during their visit in the park that includes the Budget, Mid-range, and Luxury that includes Kilaguni Serena safari lodge, Tsavo Lodge Voi, Voi Wildlife Lodge and many more.

How to get to Tsavo East national park.

Tsavo East national park can be accessed into two ways by air, train and road transport from Nairobi to the park.

By Road transport.

Tsavo East is in southeast Kenya, 325km/201mi from Nairobi and 250km/155mi from Mombasa, Nairobi or another park depending on your internary which takes around 7hr 8minutes.

By Air transport.

 There are no scheduled flights to Tsavo East national park, but there are several airstrips available for the charter flights.

By Train transport.

The best way to get from Nairobi to Tsavo East national park without a car is to use a train and travel which takes 4hr 29 min and costs

Tsavo West National Park.

Tsavo West national park is located in the coast province of Kenya. The park covers an area of 9,065 square kilometers. The A109 road Nairobi-Mombasa and a railway divides if from the adjoining Tsavo East National Park. Together with adjoining ranches and protected area. Tsavo West is a more popular destination on account of its magnificent scenery, Mzima Springs, rich varied wildlife, good road system, rhino reserve, rock climbing potential and guided walks along the Tsavo River. Tsavo National Park is managed and operated by the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Attractions in Tsavo West national park.

Mzima Springs.

Mzima springs are a series of the four natural springs in Tsavo national park, Kenya. They are located in the west of the park, around 48 km from Mtito Andei, the source of the springs is a natural reservoir under the Chyulu Hills to the north.

Tsavo national park
Mzima Springs

Poacher’s outlook.

Poacher’s hill is a magnificent feature to visit on your safari in Tsavo West national park, poacher’s outlook offers 360 degrees panoramic views of the grand Tsavo West national park, originally the hill was used by the poacher’s to look out for elephants and rhinos before gazetting of the area. Mzima springs is one of Tsavo’s most popular wildlife attractions owing to its resident populations of the hippos and the Nile crocodiles.

Shetani Lava Flow.

Shetani Lava is about 4km west of the chyulu gate of Tsavo West national park, on the road to Amboseli are the spectacular Shetani lava flows, ‘Shetani means ‘devil’ in Kiswahili, the flows were formed only a few hundred year ago and local peoples believed that it was the devil himself emerging from the earth. This vast expanse off folded black lava spreads for 50 sq.km across the savannah near the Chyulu Hills, looking strangely as if Vesuvius dropped its comfort blanket here.

Ngulia rhino sanctuary.

Ngulia rhino sanctuary is a stronghold and bleeding place for black rhinos in Tsavo and Kenya as a nation, Kenya as a tourist destination and a home of wildlife used to be a habitat to over 8000 black rhino individuals by 1970’s but due to human practices like poaching and encroaching the rhino’s habitants. Ngulia Rhino sanctuary has over 80 rhino individuals which are easy to spot while on your visit in the sanctuary as you can as well spot the black rhinos but you can also spot leopards and elephants.

Chaimu hill.

Chaimu hill has a great observation point while enjoying the views of Tsavo West national park and the views of Majestic Mountain Kilimanjaro from a distance, this hill is great for hiking which takes approximately 20 minutes of hike.

Roaring rocks.

Roaring rocks are spectacular feature in Tsavo West national park resembling the same spot in lion king where mufasa holds Simba showing the young to the animals he led as a king, these rocks are situated near Ngulia rhino sanctuary and for a long time these rocks have been an observation point.

Chyulu Hills.

Chyulu Hills are an impressive features that you should visit during your safari in Tsavo West national park, the hills are situated 150 kilometers east of Kenya rift and 30 kilometers from Kibwezi town. Chyulu hills form a 100 kilometers long volcanic field covering an area of 741 square kilometers with the highest peak standing at the highest of 2188 kilometers, the hills create a magnificent scenic view which is perfect for sightseeing and photography.

Lake Jipe.

Lake Jipe is found in Tsavo West national park, lying across the Kenyan/Tanzanian border, a beautiful Lake that was once the unique jewel of Tsavo West, being the only natural lake in the vast 8,000 square mile arid scrubland that comprises Kenya’s famous Tsavo National Park.


Tsavo west national park has a variety of wildlife species such as the eastern black rhinoceros, hippopotamus, cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and many more, there are also other smaller animals that can be spotted in the park such as bushbaby, hartebeest, lesser kudu, Maasai giraffe and many more.

Bird species.

Tsavo west prolific birdlife features over 400-recorded species. The park has bird species that includes African finfoot, Corncrake, Golden pipit, lesser kestrel starling, Martial warbler, Narinai trogon, Northern brownbul and many more.

Activities done in Tsavo West national park.

Bird watching.

Tsavo West national park is abiding destination in Kenya, Ngulia Hills, being one of the landmarks in the park, is situated along one of the world’s busiest  avian migration routes, Bird ringers make an annual pilgrimage here between October and January. Ngulai is the site of Africa’s foremost bird-ringing (tagging to enable individual bird identification) project. More than 100 migrant and resident species have been ringed here, the most prolific being marsh warbler, river warbler, red-backed shrike, thrush nightingale and common whitethroat and many more.

Tsavo national park
red-backed shrike

Cave exploration.

The Shetani caves, located next to the Shetani lava flows, were formed as a result of the volcanic activity, the guests can visit these caves to learn about their attached history. While at the caves, there is a high possibility of seeing hyenas and other small mammals. Exploring the cave requires one to carry a torch for lighting since it gets dark when in there.

Rock climbing.

Tsavo West national park offers some of the best rock climbing adventures in Kenya safaris, as the most impressive rock climb is the famous 300m Kichwa Tembo rock which attracted the first adventure and later, the second expedition to conquer the impressive Tsavo Chimney, other hiking and rock climbing areas includes the Ngulia Hills, Mastodon and ivory tower as they have viewpoints that allows you to have a panoramic view of the landscapes, large herds of elephants roaming the vast plains and flocks of birds in the park.

Game Viewing.

Game viewing in Tsavo West national park offers true African wildlife experience with more chances to see all African big five. The game drives are done three times a day that is morning game drive, afternoon and night game drives. As the elephants can be seen in large numbers.

Best time to visit Tsavo West national park.

The best time to visit Tsavo West national park is during the dry season from the month of June to October and January to February. Although the park can be visited any time of year, wildlife viewing during the height of the wet season (November, April and May) is not recommended.

Where to stay in Tsavo West national park.

Tsavo West national park offers a variety of the accommodation options for the guests which are well comfortable and suitable that includes that are categorized into Budget, Mid-range and Luxury such as Kilagui Serena safari lodge, Severin Safari camp, Ngulia safari lodge, Rhino Valley lodge, Voyager Ziwani camp, salt lick safari lodge, Man -eaters’ camp, Lake Jipe safari camp and many more.

How to get Tsavo West national park.

Tsavo west national park can be got into two ways that is road and air transport from Nairobi.

By Road transport.

The park is about 230km away from Nairobi and about 250km from Mombasa. From Lake Nakuru National park, it is about 450km.

By Air transport.

These are scheduled flights from Nairobi to Tsavo West national park. These flights originate from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport or Moi international Airport for visitors from Mombasa. Tsavo national park has got airstrips for chartered flights.

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