Overview

Tsavo West National Part is a dramatic place where every nature lover can totally immerse in and forget about daily routine for a few moments. Volcanic cones and lava flow characterize this National Park and contribute to the dramatic landscape. Moreover, the scattered bush, large hills, and the savannah vegetation blended with luxurious riverine vegetation and crystal clear waters provide any tourist with an amazing scenery for observing wildlife. This place is famous for its high concentration of predators, such as lions, cheetahs, leopards, and hyenas, which can be extremely dangerous for humans. Of course, Tsavo West National Park also abounds in preys, such as gazelles, lesser kudus, zebras, giraffes, or impalas. This is the place where you can get closer to the wilderness and understand its mysteries.

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Highlights

  • +potting corncrakes and Basra Reed Warbler, both endangered species
  • +Admiring Shetani Lava Flow and entering lava caves
  • +Immersing in the beautiful scenery of the park
  • +Watching herds from the Poacher’s Lookout
  • +See the crystal clear waters of the Mzima Springs
  • +Spotting around 600 bird species
  • +Observing hippos and fish
  • +Fantastic wildlife viewing
Interested in visiting the Tsavo West National Park?
Take a look to our hand-picked tours that go there!

About Tsavo West National Park

Samburu National Reserve is a magnificent safari destination in Kenya, and it provides a large variety of activities suitable for everyone, even though it’s no larger than 165 square kilometers.

The central part of the vegetation is along the Ewaso Nyiro River, which means that animals gather there for the precious source of food and water, especially during the dry season. That is the moment when you can enjoy the spectacular show of the wildlife, without any disturbances. Elephants, hippos, gazelles, lions, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes and many other wild animals live together in the area of the river.

This amazing National Park of Kenya has an area of 9,065 square kilometers and represents 4% of Kenya’s land. At the moment, the park is one of the last impressive wild landscapes of our planet, where you can observe ferocious animals, colorful flowers and butterflies as you wish.

The Tsavo West National Park is a unique area where a few types of vegetation and landscapes blend naturally, providing its visitors with breathtaking views and fantastic places for all kinds of safari activities. The ecosystem here comprises Acacia woodlands, vast areas of scrublands and grasslands, as well as lush riverine vegetation. But what makes this park even more impressive are the lava rocks, flows, and even caves. When taking all these aspects into consideration, we can say that this is the perfect destination for any nature lover.

One of the major interest points of the park is Mzima Springs, an astonishing green oasis. In fact, they are crystal clear water pools, always fed with millions of liters of fresh water from the Chyulu Hills. The lava flows from there to Mzima Springs with approximately 250,000,000 liters of water every day. For this reason, the clearness of the water is always high, and you can actually go for underwater hippo and fish watching, which permits you to explore their habitat closely. Just think about the amazing experience of seeing pods of hippos in their natural environment, underwater. Take advantage of this unique opportunity and enjoy an unforgettable adventure!

Mzima Springs is not only a lovely place for adventurous tourists, but also for passionate photographs. As the place is always green, even during the dry season, here is where you can take some of the most astonishing pictures of the wildlife. The lush vegetation contributes to an enchanting setting for photography. No matter if you aim for the ideal wildlife photo, or you are a nature lover who enjoys safari activities, you will be thrilled to see gazelles, zebras, herds of elephants, giraffes and other animals which come to Mzima Springs to drink water. Furthermore, here are also several splendid picnic spots, where you can relish the beautiful landscape and get in touch with nature while relaxing.

Game drives also attract most of the people visiting the Tsavo West National Park, as this is one of the most magnificent places in the world for this activity. The park is ideal for game drives and watching, as you can observe dust-red elephants, impressive pods of hippos, endangered Black Rhinos, gazelles, lesser kudus, lions, cheetahs, leopards, buffalos, gerenuks, hyenas, impalas, crocodiles and many other animals, as well as a multitude of birds.

When it comes to birds, it is well-known that Tsavo is a paradise for bird watchers, as there are around 600 recorded species here. Most of them are specific to the semi-arid zone, such as the golden pipit, while others are migratory birds.

Shetani lava flows and caves are strengthening the fame of Tsavo as a unique place on Earth. The amazing landscape of the park has been shaped a few hundred years ago, by frightening volcanic eruptions, from the soil. The locals were so scared that they named the place “Shetani”, which means “devil.” Nowadays, locals still have legends regarding lava flows and believe that they are linked to devil powers, but tourists are exploring them in depth. In fact, you can also enter lava caves here, but you are advised to take safety measures and study them carefully. Not because of evil spirits!.

If you are willing to watch the herds, the Poacher’s Lookout is the best place for this. Moreover, Ngulia Hills are perfect for rock climbing. From the end of September to November, you can relish here a magnificent avian spectacle hosted by the Ngulia Bird-ringing Station.

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The vervet monkeys in bush in Tsavo West National Park, Kenya, Africa. shutterstock_130142507
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Getting There

You can enter the National Park through several gates: Mtito Andei Gate, Man Eaters Gate, Chyulu Gate, and one near Maktau. The distance from Nairobi to the park is 240 km while from Mombasa there is 250 km. From these cities, you can access Tsavo West by road through Mtitio Andei Gate. If you choose Taveta – Voi road, you can enter the park through Ziwani, Jipe, and Maktau Gates.
You can access the park by air as there are a few airstrips in the park: Tsavo Gate, Jipe, Kamboyo, Kilaguni, Kasigay, Ziwani, Finch Hottons, and Maktau.

When to Go & Weather

  •   Best
  •   Good
  •   Fair
  •   Poor

Even though you can visit the Tsavo West National Park all year round, you should consider the season when planning your trip. This way, you can be sure that you choose the right time for you to enter this fascinating world, as a traveler may have diverse purposes for visiting this park.

Weather climate

The National Park has a typical savannah climate, with temperatures usually ranging from 20 C to 30 C degrees during the day. The normal nighttime temperatures vary between 12 C and 22 C degrees. The wettest month is April, whereas the driest one is July.

  • Dry Season: June – October

As the precipitations are much fewer than in the wet season, during this period it is easier to spot and observe wild animals. That’s why most tourists and nature lovers choose the dry season to visit the park. Due to the lack of water, the vegetation is less dense, and the food sources are fewer this time of the year. Animals have to gather around the areas with permanent water. For this reason, rivers and springs are always the best places for admiring wildlife. Moreover, this is the time when people usually go on summer vacations. However, if you prefer more peace and less agglomeration, opt for the wet season.

  • Wet Season: November – May

With lower temperatures and higher precipitations, the rainy season is perfect for those who are willing to immerse in the beauty of Tsavo West National Park’s scenery and relish the luxurious vegetation. Furthermore, only a few tourists will be in the park at the same time with you, compared to the dry season, which is also the peak season. But you have to know that spotting the animals and seeing them in action is harder from November to May. The abundance of vegetation helps the animals to hide. If you are interested in photography, May is one of the best months for this activity, as the colors of Tsavo are blooming during this period.

However, additional information regarding the weather climate of this area, as well as weather forecast, can be found here:
http://www.zoover.co.uk/kenya/kenya/tsavo-west-national-park/weather
http://www.accuweather.com/en/ke/tsavo/223255/weather-forecast/223255

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Additional Information

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History

First, Tsavo West National Park was part of the Tsavo National Park, established in April 1948. Shortly after, the park was divided East and West. This happened in the first month after the gazetting of the Tsavo National Park.

However, it became famous in 1898, when ferocious lions have hunted, killed, and eaten more than 130 people who worked on the constructions of the railway in the area. Two lions have terrified the workers, and Col. Patterson was the one who killed the man-eaters.

There is an interesting history regarding Tsavo area, riddled with ancient legends and myths. For example, the name itself means “place of slaughter”, keeping track of a terrifying fight between two tribes, the Maasai and Akamba people.

Wildlife & Flora

When it comes to wildlife, Tsavo distinguishes by having one of the largest populations of elephants in Africa. Herds of elephants are a common sight in the Tsavo West National Park, as well as mane-less lions. In fact, this type of lion is also called Tsavo lion. The male has no mane at all, but rather a little longer fur. Even though their appearance may not be as grimly as that of a usual lion, they remain savage and ferocious.

Tsavo is also the home of the Big Five, and the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary shelters around 40 black rhinos. The wilderness of the area is completed by a large number of predators and preys, such as cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, lesser kudu, crocodile, hyenas, impalas, white-tailed mongoose, hyrax, oryx, nocturnal porcupine, and wild dogs.

A number of approximately 600 birds have been recorded in this National Park, which automatically transforms the area in a great attraction for birdwatchers. Here, you can spot species such as ostrich, golden pipit, golden-breasted starling, white-headed buffalo weaver, parrots, barbets, and rollers.

The landscape of the park is specific to a savannah ecosystem, blending large areas of grasslands and Acacia woodlands with luxury riverine vegetation. The natural springs in the area provide water for green oasis ‘guarded’ by impressive palm trees.

Ecology

One of the most important methods of conserving the wildlife of Tsavo is the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary. Back in the 1960’, Tsavo was known for having the largest black rhino population in Africa. At that moment, there were between 6,000 and 9,000 animals in the park. In only a few years, the number decreased dramatically, and in 1981 only about 100 black rhinos remained in the area. Nowadays, the majority of surviving rhinos are in the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary, protected by an electric fence. On an area of 70 square kilometers, the authorities brought in approximately 40 rhinos, some of them from Tsavo, whereas others are relocated here. This sanctuary provides shelter for more threatened animals, such as cheetahs and leopards, as well as a rare frog.

Interesting Facts

  • The Tsavo West National Park is famous for its unique type of lions – the maneless lion also referred to as Tsavo lion.
  • Even though the park is the place for a wide array of safari activities, ranging from game viewing to birdwatching, the Roaring Rock is also preferred by many couples as a wedding venue.
  • Tsavo’s Mzima Springs offer you the unique opportunity of hippo underwater watching so that you can get the overall view of a hippo pod, which is quite difficult to spot otherwise, as they spend most of their time in the water.
  • The name of the park, “Tsavo”, is translated as “place of slaughter”, and it comes from the bloody fight between the Akamba and Maasai people.
  • Tsavo became famous for its man-eating lions in the late 20th century, when more than 130 builders of the railway were killed by lions.
Interested in visiting the Tsavo West National Park?
Take a look to our hand-picked tours that go there!

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