Tsavo National Park
Known to be Kenya’s largest, second oldest and arguably wildest national park, Tsavo National Park was gazetted in 1948 to protect a 21,812-sq-km tract of savannah that remained largely unsettled as a result of limited water resources.
The untrammeled wilderness of Tsavo is split into Tsavo East National Park and Tsavo West National Park, the smaller Tsavo West protects a hilly volcanic landscape overlooked by Kilimanjaro, while Tsavo East comprises open semiarid plains stretching 200 km (124 miles) north of the Nairobi–Mombasa Highway.
Tsavo National Park today stands as one of the country’s most remarkable and diverse wildlife sanctuaries. Both Tsavo East and Tsavo West offer unique experiences, incredible landscapes, and a plethora of attractions that will leave visitors in awe.
Tsavo East National Park, the larger of the two sections, is renowned for its expansive savannahs, vast plains, and iconic red elephants. As you embark on a game drive through the park, you will be greeted by an array of wildlife, including lions, leopards, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, and buffalo. The park also boasts the magnificent Lugard Falls, where the Galana River cascades through a series of rapids and pools, creating a breathtaking spectacle.
On the other hand, Tsavo West National Park offers a contrasting landscape with volcanic hills, lava flows, and stunning natural springs. One of the park’s most famous attractions is Mzima Springs, a series of crystal-clear pools fed by underground streams. Here, you can witness hippos and crocodiles swimming gracefully in their natural habitat. Tsavo West is also home to the enchanting Shetani Lava Flow, a blackened expanse of volcanic rock that stretches for miles and serves as a reminder of the park’s turbulent geological past.
In addition to its diverse fauna, Tsavo National Park is also rich in flora. The parks are adorned with acacia trees, baobabs, doum palms, and indigenous grasses, creating a picturesque backdrop for wildlife sightings. This vibrant ecosystem supports a wide variety of bird species, making Tsavo a paradise for birdwatchers. From colorful kingfishers to majestic eagles, the park is teeming with avian wonders waiting to be discovered.
Things to Do in Tsavo National Park
When planning a visit to Tsavo National Park, there are plenty of activities to choose from to make the most of your experience. Game drives are a popular choice, allowing visitors to explore the vast landscapes and encounter the park’s incredible wildlife. Guided walks and hikes are also available, providing a more immersive experience and a chance to appreciate the smaller wonders of the park.
For those seeking a unique adventure, Tsavo offers the opportunity to go on a thrilling Kenya safari on horseback or by camel. This alternative mode of transport allows you to get closer to the wildlife while enjoying the serenity of the park. Additionally, bird enthusiasts can partake in specialized birdwatching tours, guided by experts who can help identify the various species that call Tsavo home.
When to Go?
Tsavo National Park can be is rewarding all year long, however, if you are to visit, it is recommended to plan your trip during the dry season, which typically runs from June to October and January to February. During this time, the vegetation is less dense, making it easier to spot wildlife. However, Tsavo’s beauty can be enjoyed year-round, and each season has its own unique charm.
Where to Stay?
In terms of accommodation, Tsavo National Park offers a range of options to suit different budgets and preferences. From luxurious lodges and tented camps to more affordable self-catering cottages, there is something for everyone. Many of these accommodations are strategically located within the park, offering stunning views and easy access to the wildlife.
How to Get There?
Transportation to Tsavo National Park is relatively straightforward. The park is easily accessible by road from Nairobi, Mombasa, and other major cities in Kenya. There are also domestic flights available to the nearby airstrips, providing a convenient option for those looking to save time. Once inside the park, guided tours and safari vehicles are available for booking in advance to your trip, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable exploration of Tsavo’s wonders.