Tsavo National Park

Tsavo National Park

Park Overview.

Welcome to Tsavo National Park! Located in southeastern Kenya, Tsavo National Park is one of the oldest and largest wildlife reserves in Africa. Covering an area of approximately 21,000 square kilometers (8,000 square miles), it is split into two separate sections: Tsavo East and Tsavo West. Together, they form a diverse and captivating ecosystem that is home to an incredible array of wildlife and natural wonders.

Tsavo National Park was established in 1948 and is named after the Tsavo River, which flows through the park from west to east. The park’s unique landscape encompasses vast savannas, dense forests, rocky hills, and lava flows, providing a rich and varied habitat for an impressive range of animal and plant species.

One of the main attractions of Tsavo is its wildlife. The park is famous for its large herds of elephants, often referred to as “red elephants” due to the reddish color of the soil they cover themselves with during dust baths. Visitors can also encounter other iconic African animals, including lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, buffalo, zebras, and a multitude of bird species. The diverse terrain of Tsavo makes it an excellent place for both game drives and Birdwatching.


Key Features and Attractions at Tsavo National Park.

Tsavo National Park is one of the largest and most diverse national parks in Kenya, covering an enormous area of over 20,000 square kilometers. It is divided into two separate parks: Tsavo East National Park and Tsavo West National Park. Each of these parks offers unique features and attractions, making them popular destinations for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Here are some key features and attractions of Tsavo National Park:

Diverse Wildlife:

Tsavo is renowned for its diverse wildlife population. Visitors have the chance to spot the famous “Big Five” (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, and rhino), along with numerous other species, such as giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, hyenas, antelopes, and more. The park is also home to a variety of bird species, making it an excellent destination for Birdwatching.

Red Elephants of Tsavo:

Tsavo is particularly famous for its “red elephants.” The elephants in the region often have a reddish-brown appearance due to the red dust and soil they bathe in. Observing these majestic creatures in their natural habitat is a memorable experience.

Mzima Springs:

Located in Tsavo West National Park, Mzima Springs is a series of natural springs that provide a vital water source for the park’s wildlife. Visitors can view underwater life, including hippos and crocodiles, through an underwater observatory.

Shetani Lava Flows:

Tsavo West is home to the Shetani Lava Flows, a vast expanse of black lava rock created by volcanic activity. The unique landscape offers a striking contrast to the lush savannah and is worth exploring.

Yatta Plateau:

Tsavo East is home to the Yatta Plateau, one of the world’s longest lava flows. It stretches over 290 kilometers and offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Lugard Falls:

Located on the Galana River in Tsavo East, Lugard Falls is a series of white-water rapids and a popular spot for picnics and wildlife viewing.

Game Drives:

Both Tsavo East and Tsavo West offer excellent opportunities for game drives. Experienced guides lead safari tours, providing visitors with the chance to see a wide range of animals in their natural habitat.


With its varied habitats, Tsavo National Park attracts an array of bird species. Birdwatchers can spot numerous colorful and exotic birds, making it a paradise for bird enthusiasts.


The park provides various accommodation options, including lodges, campsites, and luxury safari lodges, ensuring visitors can enjoy a comfortable stay while experiencing the wilderness.

Rock Climbing and Hiking:

Tsavo West has rocky outcrops and hills, offering opportunities for rock climbing and hiking. Climbing the rocks provides fantastic views of the surrounding landscape.


Activities to do at Tsavo National Park.

Tsavo National Park is one of Kenya’s premier wildlife reserves and offers a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy. Spanning over 22,000 square kilometers, it is one of the largest national parks in the world. Here are some activities you can do at Tsavo National Park:

Game Drives:

Embark on thrilling game drives to explore the park’s diverse wildlife. Tsavo is home to the “Big Five” (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros), as well as numerous other species, such as giraffes, zebras, antelopes, and more. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times for spotting animals.

Bird Watching:

Tsavo National Park is a paradise for bird enthusiasts, with over 500 bird species, including ostriches, hornbills, eagles, and many others. Bring your binoculars and camera to capture these colorful creatures.

Nature Walks and Hiking:

Some areas of the park are suitable for guided nature walks and short hikes. This allows you to experience the smaller details of the ecosystem, learn about plants and insects, and appreciate the natural beauty of the surroundings.

Visit Mudanda Rock:

This large rock formation is an excellent viewpoint to observe wildlife, especially elephants, as they come to drink from the nearby waterholes. It also offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Aruba Dam:

Visit the Aruba Dam, a man-made water reservoir that attracts a wide variety of animals, particularly during the dry season. You can spot hippos, crocodiles, and various bird species here.

Luggard Falls:

Take a trip to Luggard Falls, a series of rocky rapids on the Galana River. It’s a picturesque spot and a great place for a picnic.

Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary:

Tsavo West National Park is home to the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary, where you have a higher chance of spotting endangered black rhinos. The sanctuary was established to protect and conserve these magnificent creatures.

Visit Shetani Lava Flow:

Explore the Shetani Lava Flow, a unique landscape formed by volcanic activity. The black, rugged terrain creates an otherworldly atmosphere.


Tsavo National Park offers several campsites where you can experience the wilderness up close. Be sure to follow park regulations and safety guidelines while camping.


Whether you’re a professional or an amateur photographer, Tsavo provides breathtaking landscapes and fascinating wildlife to capture on camera.

Remember that some activities, such as walking safaris, may require a guide or ranger for safety reasons, so it’s always a good idea to plan your visit ahead of time and follow the park’s rules and guidelines to ensure a memorable and responsible experience.


Accommodation at Tsavo National Park

Tsavo National Park is one of Kenya’s largest and most famous national parks, divided into Tsavo East and Tsavo West. Both sections offer a variety of accommodation options ranging from luxury lodges to budget-friendly camps. Here are some types of accommodations you can find:


There are several lodges within and around Tsavo National Park that provide comfortable and often luxurious facilities. These lodges often offer en-suite rooms, swimming pools, restaurants, and various amenities. Some popular lodges include Satao Camp, Ashnil Aruba Lodge, and Sarova Salt Lick Game Lodge.

Tented Camps:

For a more authentic safari experience, you can stay in tented camps. These camps offer comfortable tents with en-suite facilities and often provide a more immersive experience with nature. Examples include Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge and Finch Hattons Luxury Tented Camp.


Some accommodations in Tsavo National Park are eco-friendly, promoting sustainable tourism and conservation efforts. These camps are designed to minimize their environmental impact. Examples include Severin Safari Camp and Eco-friendly Voyager Ziwani Camp.

Public Campsites:

If you prefer a more budget-friendly option and have your camping gear, there are public campsites available within the park. These campsites may have basic facilities like toilets and water points.

When planning your trip, consider the location of the accommodation within the park (Tsavo East or Tsavo West) and the specific amenities and experiences you’re looking for. It’s advisable to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure your preferred accommodation.

Always check for recent reviews and updates before making any reservations. Websites and travel platforms like TripAdvisor, Booking.com, and SafariBookings often have helpful reviews and ratings from previous visitors to help you make an informed decision.


When to Visit Tsavo NP.

Tsavo National Park, located in Kenya, is one of the largest and most popular national parks in Africa. The park is divided into two sections: Tsavo East and Tsavo West. The best time to visit Tsavo National Park depends on your preferences and interests.

Dry Season (June to October).

The dry season is generally considered the best time to visit Tsavo National Park. It runs from June to October and provides excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. During this period, the vegetation is thinner, making it easier to spot animals as they gather around waterholes and rivers. The weather is also pleasant, with cooler temperatures and little to no rain, making it more comfortable for exploring the park.

Shoulder Seasons (November to March).

The months of November to March constitute the short rains and are considered the shoulder seasons. While there may be some rainfall, it is usually not excessive and won’t significantly affect your game drives. The park is less crowded during these months compared to the peak dry season, allowing for a more peaceful and intimate safari experience. Additionally, the landscape is lush and green during this time, offering a beautiful backdrop for photography.

Wet Season (April to May).

The wet season, from April to May, experiences heavier rainfall. During this time, some areas of the park may become inaccessible due to flooding, and the vegetation becomes dense and harder to spot wildlife. However, it is worth noting that the wet season can still be a good time for Birdwatching, as many migratory bird species are present.

Overall, the best time to visit Tsavo National Park for wildlife viewing and overall comfort is during the dry season (June to October). If you prefer fewer crowds and don’t mind the possibility of some rain, the shoulder seasons (November to March) can also offer a rewarding safari experience. It’s always a good idea to check the current weather conditions and rainfall patterns before planning your visit


Geography and Geology of Tsavo National Park.

Tsavo National Park is one of the largest and most famous national parks in Kenya, located in the southeastern part of the country. It was established in 1948 and is divided into two separate parks: Tsavo East National Park and Tsavo West National Park. Together, they cover an area of over 21,000 square kilometers (8,000 square miles), making Tsavo National Park one of the largest protected areas in the world.


Geography of Tsavo National Park:


Tsavo National Park is characterized by a diverse and rugged landscape, including vast savannah plains, semi-arid acacia woodlands, rocky outcrops, volcanic hills, and riverine habitats.


The park is crisscrossed by several rivers, with the most notable ones being the Galana and Tsavo rivers. These rivers attract a wide variety of wildlife, especially during the dry season when they serve as vital water sources.

Hills and Mountains.

Within Tsavo West National Park, you’ll find the Chyulu Hills, which are volcanic in origin and offer stunning scenic views. The park is also home to Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, which is located just across the border in Tanzania.

Yatta Plateau.

In Tsavo East National Park, the Yatta Plateau is a remarkable feature. It is the longest lava flow in the world, stretching about 290 kilometers (180 miles) from the Yatta Hills to the Athi River. The plateau is covered in vegetation and provides a unique habitat for various animals.

Taita Hills.

Located on the western side of Tsavo West, the Taita Hills are ancient, eroded mountains, forming a significant part of the park’s topography.


Geology of Tsavo National Park:

Volcanic Activity.

Tsavo’s landscape was shaped by volcanic activity over millions of years. The park lies on the East African Rift, a geological fault line, and the volcanic processes have contributed to the formation of various hills, mountains, and lava flows in the area.

Sedimentary Rock.

In addition to volcanic formations, the park also contains sedimentary rock formations from ancient times when this region was submerged under a vast ocean. Fossils of prehistoric animals and marine life have been found in some areas.

Wildlife and Conservation: Tsavo National Park is renowned for its diverse wildlife. The park is home to the famous “Big Five” – lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros. Additionally, there are numerous other animal species, such as giraffes, zebras, antelopes, crocodiles, and a rich variety of birdlife.

Conservation efforts in Tsavo National Park have been ongoing for many decades, with a focus on protecting the park’s ecosystems, wildlife, and cultural heritage. Poaching, habitat loss, and human-wildlife conflicts have been some of the main challenges faced in conservation efforts.

Visitors to Tsavo National Park can enjoy game drives, guided walks, Birdwatching, and even visits to historical sites like the “Man-eaters of Tsavo” bridge, famous for the lions that terrorized the construction workers during the building of the Kenya-Uganda Railway in the early 20th century.


Getting to Tsavo National Park.

To get to Tsavo National Park, you’ll first need to decide which part of the park you want to visit, as it is divided into two sections: Tsavo East National Park and Tsavo West National Park. Both sections are located in southeastern Kenya and are easily accessible from different starting points. Here’s how to get to each of them:


Getting to Tsavo East National Park.

By Air. The nearest airport is the Moi International Airport in Mombasa. From there, you can book a domestic flight to Tsavo East’s Voi Airstrip. Various local airlines offer flights to Voi, which take about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

By Road. If you prefer road travel, you can take a taxi or hire a private driver from Mombasa, Nairobi, or other major towns nearby. The main entry point to Tsavo East is the Voi Gate, which is about a 4-5 hours’ drive from Mombasa and 6-7 hours from Nairobi. The park can also be accessed from the Bachuma Gate and Sala Gate.


Getting to Tsavo West National Park.

By Air. The nearest airstrip to Tsavo West is the Kilaguni Airstrip, which can be reached via domestic flights from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport. Flight duration is approximately 1 hour.

By Road. Tsavo West is more easily accessible from Nairobi by road. The main gate, Mtito Andei Gate, is about a 4-5 hours’ drive from Nairobi. You can also access the park from the Chyulu Gate and Tsavo Gate.

Please note that road travel times may vary depending on road conditions and traffic. It’s advisable to check the current transportation options and road conditions before planning your trip.

Also, remember to check the entry requirements and park fees as they may change over time. It’s always a good idea to plan your visit in advance and consider hiring a Tour Company for a better safari experience.


Conservation Measures and Challenges at Tsavo National Park.

Tsavo National Park, located in Kenya, is one of the largest and oldest national parks in Africa, covering an area of about 22,000 square kilometers. It is divided into two separate parks, Tsavo East and Tsavo West. Conservation efforts in Tsavo National Park are essential to protect its diverse wildlife and unique ecosystems. Here are some conservation measures and challenges faced by the park:


Conservation Measures:

Anti-Poaching Efforts: Poaching has been a significant threat to wildlife in Tsavo National Park, particularly for iconic species like elephants and rhinos. Conservation organizations and park authorities work together to implement anti-poaching patrols and use technology such as drones to monitor and protect wildlife from poachers.

Community Involvement: Engaging local communities living around the park is crucial for successful conservation. Collaborative efforts are made to raise awareness about the importance of wildlife protection and provide incentives for communities to participate in conservation efforts.

Wildlife Monitoring and Research: Regular monitoring of wildlife populations helps understand their status and behavior, which is crucial for developing effective conservation strategies. Research projects also provide valuable insights into the ecological dynamics of the park.

Habitat Restoration: Ensuring a healthy habitat is essential for sustaining wildlife populations. Restoration efforts include controlling invasive species, reforestation, and managing water resources to maintain a balanced ecosystem.

Tourism Management: Tourism can have both positive and negative impacts on wildlife and their habitats. Proper management and regulation of tourism activities are necessary to minimize disturbances to wildlife and preserve their natural behaviors.



  • Poaching: Despite efforts to combat poaching, it remains a significant challenge in Tsavo National Park. Poachers target elephants and rhinos for their tusks and horns, which are highly valuable on the black market.
  • Human-Wildlife Conflict: As the human population around the park increases, so does the potential for conflicts between people and wildlife. Crop raiding by elephants and attacks on livestock by predators are common issues that need to be addressed to reduce tensions.
  • Habitat Fragmentation: Human activities, including infrastructure development and agriculture, can lead to habitat fragmentation, making it difficult for wildlife to move freely and access resources.
  • Climate Change: Changing weather patterns, prolonged droughts, and other impacts of climate change can affect vegetation and water availability in the park, potentially disrupting the balance of the ecosystem.
  • Illegal Activities: Besides poaching, illegal logging, charcoal burning, and mining can also degrade the park’s natural resources and threaten wildlife.
  • Insufficient Funding: Adequate financial resources are necessary to maintain effective conservation efforts. Limited funding can hinder various conservation programs and lead to inadequate protection for wildlife.

To address these challenges effectively, ongoing collaboration among government authorities, conservation organizations, local communities, and international partners is crucial. Regular monitoring and adaptive management approaches can help ensure the long-term survival and sustainability of Tsavo National Park’s wildlife and ecosystems.


What to Pack for Tsavo NP.

When visiting Tsavo National Park in Kenya, it’s essential to pack wisely to ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here’s a comprehensive packing list for your trip to Tsavo National Park:

  • Passport and Travel Documents: Make sure you have your passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, and any necessary permits.
  • Comfortable Clothing: Pack lightweight, breathable clothing suitable for warm weather. Long-sleeved shirts and pants are useful for protection against the sun and insects during game drives and bush walks. Don’t forget to include a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
  • Sturdy Footwear: Bring comfortable closed-toe shoes or hiking boots for walking safaris and exploring the park on foot.
  • Swimwear: Some lodges and camps in Tsavo have swimming pools, so it’s good to have swimwear handy if you want to take a refreshing dip.
  • Binoculars and Camera: Tsavo National Park offers stunning wildlife viewing opportunities. Binoculars and a good camera with a zoom lens will help you capture those memorable moments.
  • Insect Repellent: The Park is home to various insects, so packing insect repellent with DEET is advisable.
  • Sunscreen and Lip Balm: Protect your skin from the intense African sun with high SPF sunscreen and keep your lips moisturized.
  • Personal Medications and First Aid Kit: Bring any necessary prescription medications and a basic first aid kit for minor injuries.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Stay hydrated by carrying a refillable water bottle. Some lodges and camps have filtered water available.
  • Flashlight or Headlamp: Useful for getting around at night, as some areas may not have sufficient lighting.
  • Toiletries: Bring your toiletries, including biodegradable soap, shampoo, and conditioner, as some lodges practice eco-friendly policies.
  • Personal Items: Don’t forget essentials like a towel, hand sanitizer, tissues, and wet wipes.
  • Cash and Cards: While most lodges and camps accept credit cards, it’s a good idea to have some cash (Kenyan Shillings) for tips and smaller purchases.
  • Travel Adapter: Kenya uses Type G electrical outlets, so bring a suitable travel adapter for your electronics.
  • Notebook and Pen: Jot down your observations and experiences during the trip.
  • Books and Games: For downtime, bring a book, e-reader, or travel games to keep yourself entertained.
  • Prescription Glasses and Contact Lenses: If you wear glasses or contacts, ensure you have spares and cleaning supplies.
  • Daypack or Backpack: Carry a small daypack for game drives and nature walks to keep your essentials close at hand.
  • Responsible Safari Gear: Tsavo National Park, like many others, encourages responsible tourism. Avoid camouflage clothing, which is often worn by poachers, and choose neutral colors instead.
  • Positive Attitude and Open Mind: Finally, bring a positive attitude and an open mind to fully embrace the wildlife and cultural experiences that Tsavo National Park has to offer.

Remember to check with your accommodation provider for any specific packing suggestions or restrictions they may have. Happy travels!


Remarks on Tsavo National Park.

With its wide range of activities, from game drives and guided walks to camping and Birdwatching, Tsavo National Park is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts, wildlife lovers, and adventurers alike. Whether you are seeking a serene escape or an exciting safari experience, Tsavo promises to deliver an unforgettable journey through the heart of wild Africa.