Tsavo East National Park is the largest protected area in Kenya, a land of unparalleled biodiversity and naturally home to Africa’s “Big Five” – black rhino, Cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, and of course, lion.
But on your game drives here you can also come upon eland, gerenuk, impala and Masai giraffe. And the birds! Over 500 species like the black kite, lovebird and sacred ibis await your discovery.
Here, too, the land calls out to be explored. You can traverse the Yatta Plateau, at 300 kilometers, the world’s longest lava flow.
And it’s not all rugged plains that meet the eye – the Galana River flowing through Tsavo East National Park creates a lush line of greenery cutting across the dusty savannah. You’ll find pods of hippos, crocodile and waterbuck adding to the diversity in this unpredictable reserve.
Tsavo East National Park has an undeniable wild and primordial charm and is a terrific wildlife-watching destination. Although one of Kenya’s largest rivers flows through the middle of the park, the landscape here is markedly flatter and drier and lacks the drama of Tsavo West. The flip side is that spotting wildlife is generally easier thanks to the thinly spread foliage.
Despite the size of the Tsavo East National Park, the area of most wildlife activity is actually quite compact – the northern section of the park is largely closed and can only be visited with advance permission due to the threat of banditry and ongoing campaigns against poachers. The demarcation point is the Galana River.
Where is Tsavo East National Park
Tsavo East National Park is situated in a semi-arid area previously known as the Taru Desert. The park is in southwest Kenya between Nairobi and Mombasa. It’s relatively close to the beaches of the Kenya Coast and can easily be a 1-day safari for those who wish a quick getaway. It opened in April 1948, and is located near the town of Voi in the Taita-Taveta County of the former Coast Province. The park is divided into east and west sections by the A109 road and a railway. Named for the Tsavo River, which flows west to east through the national park, it borders the Chyulu Hills National Park, and the Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania.
Inside Tsavo East National Park, the Athi and Tsavo rivers converge to form the Galana River. Most of the park consists of semi-arid grasslands and savanna. It is considered one of the world's biodiversity strongholds, and its popularity is mostly due to the vast amounts of diverse wildlife that can be seen, including the famous 'big five' consisting of lion, black rhino, cape buffalo, elephant and leopard. The park is also home to a great variety of bird life such as the black kite, crowned crane, lovebird and the sacred ibis. Tsavo East National Park is generally flat, with dry plains across which the Galana River flows. Other features include the Yatta Plateau and Lugard Falls.
How to Get to Tsavo East National Park
Tsavo East is in southeast Kenya, 325km/201mi from Nairobi and 250km/ 155mi from Mombasa. You can drive to the reserve from Nairobi, Mombasa or another park depending on your itinerary. There are no scheduled flights to Tsavo East, but there are several airstrips available for chartered flights. The distance from Lake Nakuru NP is 450km/280mi and the driving time is about 7½ hours.
As the area is so vast several of the camps and private lodges have their own private airstrips, namely at Aruba, Satao, Sala, Ithumba, Sangayaya, Mopeo and Bachuma.
When to go to Tsavo East National Park
The park is open throughout the year though best visited during the dry months of the year those are from June to October and December to February. For birders, the best time is during the rainy season when the birds are nesting at the park. The park also receives migratory birds from different parts of the world that come for breeding and later return back to their respective destinations.
The park gates are open from 6:00 am in the morning till 19:00 pm in the evening. The time is East African standard time. Before 6 am the gates are closed and no guests are allowed to enter into the park and beyond 19 the park gates are closed and no more access to the park.
Attraction in Tsavo East National Park
There are several features that are found in Tsavo East National park that contribute a lot to the development of tourism in the park and Kenya as a country. The park lies on the world’s longest lava flow called the Yatta Plateau that attracts a diversity of wildlife and diverse vegetation at the park. The key attractions at Tsavo East National park include the following.
The world’s longest lava flow is one of the key attractions found in Tsavo East National park that is found in the center of the park. The Yatta plateau runs across the park from the Western sector to the East. The plateau is 290 kilometers long that was formed when the lava from Mt Ol Doinyo Sabuk flowed across the park.
This is an inselberg that is found at the park, its unique beauty adds the park more scenic views. It is also home of the big cats who come and relax or trap their prey at the rock. The major contribution of Mudanda Rock is that it’s a water catchment area that supplies the natural dam below the rock where most of the wildlife especially Elephants come and enjoy cooling themselves. This is one of the great viewing points of the park where hundreds of animals can be easily seen especially during the dry season of the year.
This is one of the oldest dams in Kenya built-in 1952along the Voi River. The dam attracts many waterbird species and animals.
The Tsavo East National park has over 500 bird species that have been recorded, these bird species are both permanent residents and migratory birds. The wide range of bird species include Ostriches, Buzzards, weaver birds, hornbills, secretary bird, herons, starlings, lovebirds among others.
Tsavo East National park being of the largest parks in Kenya is home to permanent residents. The park has all the African big five those are Lions, leopards, Buffalo, Elephants, and Rare Black Rhinos. The park has hidden treasure with the undeveloped wilderness that homes a large number of mammals with the famous man-eater lions marking the historical event.
The park has over 675 lions in Amboseli Tsavo ecosystem. Other game at Tsavo East National park include Warthogs, zebras, waterbuck, serval, rats, Mongoose, giraffes, duiker, eland, African hunting dogs, cheetahs, dik-dik, bushbaby, wildcat, foxes and many more.
Named after the first European explorers to reach this waterfalls Frederick Lugard at the Galana River. The guests can combine the visits the falls with nature walks at the same time.
Activities at Tsavo East National park
Full of unique attractions at the park has created good fertile ground for the best activities that guests can enjoy. Below are some of the activities one can enjoy the best true African wilderness experience.
The birders enjoy the best birding experience especially when well-planned and timed. The birding best time is during the rainy season from March to May and November. The Tsavo East National park has over 500 bird species. The migratory birds always come for breeding and later return back.
With all the powerful scenic attractions found at the park, Tsavo East National park size gives an added advantage for wide range game viewing. Home of the big game including the African big 5 can be seen during the game drive. Game viewing can be done throughout the year with both day and night game drives allowed at the park. Red dusty elephants always take the greatest percentage of game viewing.
Visting the Karibu Dam and the waterfall called Lugard Falls with the lead of our trained and experienced guide. We will have the advantage of killing two birds using one stone that is having a scenic view of the falls, birding, and sightseeing.
In nutshell, Tsavo East National park remains one of the unique untapped wilderness in Kenya that gives the guest the secrete details of the African wilderness.
|Languages spoken||English, Kiswahili|
|Currency used||Kenya Shillings (KES)|
|Area (km2)||13,747 SQ. KM|