Tsavo West National Park
Considered the largest National Park in Kenya, Tsavo National Park combines to include Tsavo West and Tsavo East National Park found in the south eastern region of Kenya. Tsavo west covers an area of 9,065sq km and is more popular than Tsavo East Kenya Park due to its amazing scenery; bushy vegetation, parched scrubs, Tsavo river, Mzima Springs, varied wildlife, doum palms, baobab trees, acacia woodlands, Tamarind and fig trees.
There is a wide variety of wildlife that lives in Tsavo West including lion, leopard, cheetah, buffalo, giraffe, rhino, elephant, hippo, baboon, waterbuck, Coke's hartebeest, gerenuk, Grant's and Thomson's gazelle, eland, fringe-eared oryx, wildebeest, hyena, warthog, impala, zebra, crocodile, while-tailed mongoose, genet cat, jackal, hyrax, dik dik, porcupine, lesser kudu and oryx. You’ll never be disappointed on any game drive especially for the Big 5 game safari while in Kenya.
Some 300 of Kenya’s birds reside within this park and these include vultures, eagles, falcons, buffalo weaver, golden starling, hornbill, parrots, barbet, rollers, ostrich and the golden pipit among other birds.
Sights in Tsavo West Park Kenya
If hiking and rock climbing is your fascination, Tsavo West National park is the option for your Kenya safari. Much of the park is highlighted with craggy rocky outcrops that offer magnificent views of the park for several miles. Kitchwa Tembo is actually one of the most impressive rocks in Tsavo West rising to 300m. Other interesting climbs are on Elephant rock’s Ivory Tower-it is a challenging climb for many Kenya Tourists.
Mzima springs flows from the neighboring Chyulu Hills bringing a spring of life within the park. The flowing water draws several herds to the spring water especially when the dry season sets in. you’ll find Nile Crocodiles, birds and hippos in the nearby spring pool.
Near the spring is Ngulia hills and escarpment rising to a staggering 1825m above sea level from where you can clearly view the volcanic lava and some of the park’s birds. Chaimu Crater marks part of Tsavo West Park Scenery.
Shetani Caves and Lava flows from volcanic activity of the neighboring hills/mountain are spectacular sights within the park. The eruptions that created the Shetani (Swahili word for satan) caves remains engraved in the minds of all people living in Tsavo Park.
Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary is found within the park providing a home to the highly endangerd Black rhinos that were under danger of poaching. Apart from the rhino, the sanctuary alos has leopards, cheetahs, amphibians, birds and a few snakes. The park is open everyday 16h00 and 18h00.
Tsavo West National park is 490 km along Nairobi-Mombasa highway. There are more than 4 gates to access the park such as Tsavo, Lake Jipe, Mtito Andei (Kamboyo HQ), Chyulu, Maktau and Ziwani. There are also 3 airstrips within the park that handle charter flights from Nairobi or Mombasa airports
Where to stay
Accommodation is superb within the park with more than 4 safari lodges and camps. Some of the luxury Kenya safari Lodges within Tsavo West National Park include Ngulia Safari Lodge, Kilaguni Serena Lodge, Kitani Severin Safari Lodge, Finch Hatton Tented lodge and Voyager Safari Camp.
Self careering Tsavo West Park accommodation includes Kamboyo Guesthouse with 4 bedrooms and bathrooms. Lake Jipe Bandas also offer self catering Tsavo West Park accommodation. Public camps are found at Kamboyo near Mtito Andei gate, Chyulu Gate and Lake Jipe shores.
Tsavo West National Park is comprised of approximately 30 per cent of Kenya’s park area, contains a diversity of wildlife environments and then a mountainous picturesque scenery. The park is a great expanse of savanna stretching out from Mtito Andei, over the Mombasa-Nairobi road and then southwards to the Tanzanian boundary. The north east frontier on the highway adjoins Tsavo East National Park although Tsavo West features a much more diverse scenery and a much more diverse range of habitats. The park’s habitats consist of extensive plains switching into savannah bushland, semi desert scrub and then acacia woodlands; rocky points and outcrops and more extensive ranges and isolated hills; belts of river bank vegetation; palm thickets and the mountain forest around the Chyulu Hills.
In the distant south-western corner around the Kenya Tanzania border is Lake Jipe, an area of it within the park. This incredibly attractive lake is actually fed by streams from Mount Kilimanjaro and the North Pare mountains. From Mzima Springs, to the North of the park, water which has percolated underground in the Chyulu Hills gushes beneath a lava ridge creating a set of crystal clear pools.
Travelers have an opportunity to see animals under water in a glass house, man eaters - caves exactly where 2 lions were gunned down here in Tsavo West by Col. Patterson as well as the railway bridge that forms the boundary.
Temperature happens to be 20-30°C while the rainfall between 200 and 700mm. Two rain seasons having long rains during March and April and small rains around November and December.
Major destinations include Recent volcanoes, lava flows and caves with potential for geological and cave exploration and even hiking. Mzima Springs and underwater hippo and fish viewing, Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Lake Jipe, elephant, different bird and plant species. For wildlife - Leopard, buffalo, rhino, elephant, giraffe, zebra, lion, cheetah, wild dogs , crocodile, lesser kudu, mongoose, hyrax, dik-dik and the porcupine. Prolific birdlife has 600 recorded kinds.
The major connection paths by road are via Chyulu Gate from Amboseli and Mtito Andei Gate from Nairobi (240 kilometres) and Mombasa. Tourists coming from Mombasa also use Tsavo Gate close to Manyani. This park is usually accessed through the Taveta-Voi road from Maktau, Ziwani and Jipe gates. Using air travel, Kamboyo, Jipe, Kasigau, Finch Hattons, Kilaguni, Ziwani, Maktau and Tsavo Gate airstrips are typically in decent state.
Accommodation Lodges have Kilaguni Serena Lodge, Ngulia Lodge, Severin Safari Camp and Lodge, Finch Hattons. KWS self-catering lodging at Kamboyo Guest House.
Adventures include Boat trip and Birding at Lake Jipe; annual bird ringing found at Ngulia lodge; hill and rock climbing at Chaimu and also Ngulia Hills and then caving at Shetani Caves.