Kenya

Tsavo West and East

Tsavo National Park is located 333 km from Nairobi and is the largest national park in Kenya. The beautiful landscape and proximity to the coast makes it a popular safari destination. It is recognized as one of the world's most unique biodiversity’s, with endless grassland and open plains that are alternated with acacia bushes and forests, the banks of the Galana River give unexpected lush vegetation. The Mombasa - Uganda railway and Mombasa - Nairobi highway cut the huge park in half and forms an eastern and western park.

Tsavo East National Park

Tsavo East is one of Kenya's oldest and largest national parks on the eastern edge of the inland plateau. A unique landmark in the park is the Yatta Plateau, one of the world's largest lava flows. The power of millions of years of erosion turned the lava in a shape which almost looks like a highway. The Voi River partly consists of a swamp and floods towards the Aruba dam. Here an attempt was made to create a fish farm, but unfortunately for the people this attempt failed. For many birds and other animals it now is a real paradise and just recently a new lodge was built here. Another natural wonder that can be found in the park is, the Lugards Falls. At this point, the water of the Galana River drops and creates strangely shaped rocks and thus also creating a real waterfall in the semi-desert environment. There is a wide variety of wild animals found in the Tsavo East National Park: lion, leopard, cheetah, zebra, giraffe, serval cats, kongoni, kudu, oryx, impala, striped hyena, gazelle, buffalo and the "red" elephants (coloured by the reddish dust). Around 500 bird species have been observed in the park, including ostrich and several species of migratory birds. Tsavo East is famous for some of the largest herds of elephants in Kenya. The elephants seem to have a red colour, just like many other animals in the park, which is caused by the red dust which they spray on themselves against insects. The lions of Tsavo owe their fame to the book and movie "The Man-eaters of Tsavo". Here a few lions ate several railroad workers during early 20th century. The lions were shot later on. It seems the reason they attacked people was because of their bad teeth, which made it impossible for them to eat buffalo or gazelle.

Tsavo West National Park

A large part of Tsavo West is of recent volcanic origin and therefore very hilly, really the opposite of Tsavo East. The Ngulia Hills determine to a large extent the landscape: the best known of the volcanic cones, lava flows and rocks, is Shaitani (meaning - devil). The hills always provide a spectacular sight, but around September and December the sight is even more special, because thousands of migratory birds arrive and forage in the park. Many migratory birds from the northern hemisphere use the area as a kind of migration corridor and some birds travel as far as Russia. During World War I there was a big battlefield in Tsavo West where the British and German troops fought against each other. You can still find some places where the memorials and other interesting findings of this brutal conflict can be seen.

A cool, shallow and shady source offers a much deserved cool down to the groups of hippos; they slumber throughout the day in the protected waters of the Mzima Springs. This spring is the main fresh water supply into Mombasa. During the night the hippos graze on the nearby grasslands. The manure from the hippo mixed with grass provides a fantastic shelter for insects and food for fish and snails. All this poses a complex chain, anchored by the large herbivores which will eat more than a hundred pounds per night. The Mzima Springs is unique in its kind, formed by melted snow and runoff water from Mount Kilimanjaro. The water runs underground from the source to Mzima Springs in Tsavo where the water surfaces and becomes a very important place for the animals in the park.


Recommended accommodation in and around Tsavo (from top-end to middle class)

Tsavo East: Galdessa Safari Camp, Satao Camp and Taita Hills Game Lodge (Taita Hills)

Tsavo West: Ol Donyo Lodge (Chyulu Hills), Finch Hattons, Severin Safari Camp, Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge, and Salt Lick Lodge

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