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  Tsavo NP
Size: Tsavo West 9,065 km2/3,500 sq mi, Tsavo East 11,747 km2/4,536 sq mi.
Best time to visit: September to October, January to March.
Wildlife: Elephants, lesser kudu, oryx. Many species in a big park.
Getting there: 4.5 hours by fair tarmac road from Nairobi to Tsavo, 3 hours from Mombasa. Add the travel time required to get to your lodge or camp inside the parks, which is on dirt roads.
Tsavo map
Tsavo map.
Kenya map
Kenya map.
  More web sites
Tsavo East
By KWS.
Tsavo West
By KWS.
Tsavo
By Kenya Birds.
  Glossary
Safari glossary
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Kenya:
Tsavo National Park
Tsavo is the largest park area in Kenya, consisting of the two main parks Tsavo West National Park and Tsavo East National Park, plus Taita Hills Game Sanctuary, Chyulu Hills National Park, South Kitui National Reserve and Ngai Ndethya National Reserve. Tanzanian Mkomazi National Park borders southern Tsavo West. Inland from Tsavo West is Amboseli National Reserve, and south of Amboseli, on the Tanzanian side of the border, is Mount Kilimanjaro, surrounded by Kilimanjaro National Park. Map of Africa Namibia Botswana South Africa Zambia Mozambique Malawi Rwanda Tanzania Kenya Uganda
 
Much of the area is savanna and plains, but there are also acacia woodlands, shrubs, semi deserts, palm groves, gallery forests along the rivers, rocky hills and mountain forests. The only lake within this area is Lake Jipe in south-western Tsavo West.

Many species, many elephants
As to numbers of species, Tsavo may be compared to Kenya's prime park Masai Mara, and has some species that are absent in the Mara, for example gerenuk, oryx and Grevy's zebra. There are some 7,000 elephants, many lions and some rhinoceros, even though the rhino population was heavily decimated by poaching during the 1900's.

More than 400 bird species have been recorded in Tsavo, including eight different hornbills, all eight East African vultures and eleven types of herons. Both common ostrich and Somali ostrich are found in the area, even though the latter only appears north of the Galana River in Tsavo East, i.e. in non-tourist areas.

Tsavo West
Tsavo West has more visitors than the other parks in the area, and has a good road network for game driving. The Tsavo River, which is one of two permanent rivers, passes through northern Tsavo West, attracting wildlife. Mzima Springs are also found in this area, offering clear water and observation points below surface level, where you may see fish and hippos. The route between the springs and Tsavo Gate are considered the best game driving area.

Just west of the springs is the Chaimu Crater, a volcano crater that you may visit on foot. The Shatani Caves north of the river can also be visited.

Lake Jipe in south-western Tsavo West has huge reed beds and a rich bird life. You may see for example pied kingfisher, palmnut vulture, black heron and African skimmer.

Tsavo East
Tsavo East is drier than Tsavo West. Much of the park is closed for tourists, who are restricted to the areas south and west of the Galana and Athi Rivers. Athi, which extends from Nairobi, joins with the Tsavo River from Tsavo West and continues towards the Indian Ocean as the Galana River. The areas north of Galana and Athi are mainly dry shrubs and plains.

The main attractions of Tsavo East are the Lugard Falls, found just east of where the Tsavo and the Athi join, the Mudanda Rock, where a natural permanent dam attracts wildlife during dry seasons, and the Yatta Plateau, which is one of the world's largest lava fields. The areas south of and along the Galana River are usually the best for game driving.

Tsavo bird life
Birders are likely to enjoy the rich and varied bird life of Tsavo. Nice species to look for are great white and pink-backed pelican, African open-billed stork, wooly-necked stork, hadada ibis, glossy ibis, secretary bird, black eagle, long-crested eagle, martial eagle, lammergeier, palmnut vulture, gabar goshawk, pallid harrier, vulturine guineafowl, crested bustard, African jacana, three-banded plover, black-headed plover, crowned plover, two-banded courser, black-faced sandgrouse, olive pigeon, Diedrik cuckoo, great spotted cuckoo, Hartlaub's turaco, African orange-bellied parrot, rufous-crowned roller, African pygmy kingfisher, carmine bee-eater, little bee-eater, green wood-hoopoe, Nubian nightjar, African scops owl, African dusky flycatcher, African paradise flycatcher, isabelline wheatear, Retz's helmet-shrike, black cuckoo-shrike, red-tailed shrike, red-billed firefinch, blue-capped cordon-bleu and amethyst sunbird.

Resting male lion.

Lodges and camps
Accommodation is available in many lodges and tented camps, and also in camping sites and in hotels in for example Voi.
 
Tsavo West

Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge.Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge is situated in Tsavo West and was the first lodge in a Kenyan national park, built from volcanic stone. The lodge offers good standard and has some 55 rooms, which like the restaurant, bar and observation decks face Kilimanjaro. A waterhole outside the restaurant attracts elephants, buffalos, zebras and other animals.

More about Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge

Web site: www.serenahotels.com

Finch Hattons is a tented lodge in western Tsavo West, and is known for its quality and comfort approach to tented safaris. The overall style is colonial elegance. The lodge has 35 furnished tents, restaurant (with six-course dinners), lounge and bar areas, library, gift shop, and swimming pool. The main safari activities offered are game drives and bush walks. Finch Hattons is not fenced, and wildlife may be seen in and around camp.

Web site: www.finchhattons.com

Ngulia Safari Lodge, built in 1969, is perched on an escarpment near the rhino sanctuary in northern Tsavo West, offering fine views of the park. The lodge has 52 rooms, all with ensuite bathroom and balcony. There is a restaurant, two bars, swimming pool, floodlit waterholes, gift shop, and conference facilities. The lodge offers game drives in the park.

Web site: www.safari-hotels.com

Rhino Valley Lodge is a basic tourist class lodge set on a hillside in northern Tsavo West, with great views of the park. There are 16 normal rooms, and 6 self-catering bandas with kitchenette. The lodge has restaurant and bar. The activities offered are game drives and nature walks.

Web site: www.tsavocampsandlodges.com

Voyager Ziwani Safari Camp is situated by a river outside of western Tsavo West. It has 25 tents with ensuite bathroom and private veranda facing the river. There is a restaurant, a lounge bar, a gift shop, and an airstrip. The camp offers day and night game drives, bush walks, and various outings in the surroundings.

Web site: www.heritage-eastafrica.com

Severin Safari Camp is a tented lodge not very far from Mzima Springs in northern Tsavo West. It has 22 tents with ensuite bathrooms and private verandas. A main building has restaurant, bar, lounge with wireless Internet, gift shop, spa, swimming pool, and views of Kilimanjaro and a floodlit waterhole. The main safari activities are game drives and bush walks.

Web site: www.severin-kenya.com
 
Tsavo East

Satao Camp.Satao Camp is a tented camp in Tsavo East. It has a good bush feeling, and is set close to a waterhole that attracts many animals. The 20 tents are decorated in safari style. Satao Camp has been built to allow access for visitors in wheelchairs, and also has game drive vehicles adapted for wheelchairs.

More about Satao Camp

Web site: www.sataocamp.com

Ashnil Aruba Lodge is situated by the Aruba Dam in southern Tsavo East. It was reopened in 2008 after redevelopment. The lodge has 40 good-looking rooms, all with ensuite bathroom, safe and a veranda facing the savanna or the dam. There is a dining area, bar, lounge, ice cream parlour, swimming pool, gift shop, and viewing decks.

Web site: www.ashnilhotels.com

Galdessa Camp is a good lodge on the southern bank of the Galana River in Tsavo East. The lodge has 14 semi-tented bungalows, all with ensuite bathroom (safari style bucket showers) and private veranda. There is a dining area and a lounge. Three of the bungalows are set apart from the others, have private facilities etc and can be booked exclusively. The lodge offers game drives and bush walks for activities.

Web site: www.galdessa.com

Epiya Chapeyu Camp is a tented camp set by the Galana River in Tsavo East. It is the most remote of the camps and lodges in the park. The camp has 15 tents, all with ensuite bathroom and veranda facing the river. It has riverfront dining deck, and game viewing platforms with bar service. An airstrip is 5 km/3 mi from camp.

Web site: www.epiya-chapeyu-camp.com

Kilalinda Lodge is a good lodge set on the edge of western Tsavo East, overlooking the Athi River (which further downstream becomes the Galana River). The lodge has six rooms in chalets, dining room plus an outdoor dining platform overlooking the river, and a swimming pool. The activities offered include day and night game drives, bush walks, river tours, fishing, and fly camping.

Web site: www.kilalinda.com

Crocodile Camp is set by the Galana River in western Tsavo East. There are both tents and bungalows with ensuite bathrooms. The lodge has restaurant, bar, and swimming pool.

Patterson's Safari Camp is a tented camp by a river outside western Tsavo East. It has 20 standard safari tents with ensuite bathrooms, restaurant, bar, and gift shop.

Web site: www.pattersonsafaricamp.com

Ngutuni Safari Lodge is situated outside of Tsavo East, in a private 40 km2/16 sq mi game sanctuary. The lodge has 48 rooms, restaurant (dress code for dinner), bar, gift shop, and a floodlit waterhole. The activities offered include day and night game drives.

Rock Side Camp is a nice lodge set on the side of hill west of southmost Tsavo East. It offers great views of the surroundings. It has 23 bungalows/bandas, all with ensuite bathrooms. There is a restaurant, a bar, and a swimming pool.

Web site: www.rocksidecamp.com

Voi Safari Lodge is a tourist class lodge situated just outside Voi (i.e. close to Tsavo East). It is built on a hill and offers wide views. It has 52 rooms, restaurant, bar, swimming pool, conference facilities, and waterholes.

Web site: www.safari-hotels.com

Voi Wildlife Lodge is a large tourist class lodge situated just outside Voi (i.e. close to Tsavo East). It has 72 rooms plus tents, all in all accommodating 300 guests. There is a restaurant, two bars, spa, health club, conference facilities, badminton, volleyball, and children's playground.

Web site: www.voiwildlifelodge.com

Tsavo Lodge and Ndololo Safari Camp around the Voi Gate of Tsavo East offer budget accommodation.

Web site: www.tsavocampsandlodges.com

 
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Page updated 25 January 2010