Fairend Safaris

Tsavo East National Park

Tsavo East National Park is situated in Kenya‘s southeast, near the Tanzanian border and close to the Kenyan coast. It is one of the oldest and largest parks in Kenya named after the river that flows through it. Tsavo East covers an area of 13,747 square kilometres with a 300-kilometre-long yatta plateau which is the longest lava flow in the world.

The park forms the largest protected area in Kenya which is 9 times bigger than Masai Mara. Most larger mammals like vast herds of dust–red elephants, Rhinos, cheetahs, buffalos, lions,  and leopards can be found in this park. Other species that call this area home are hippos, crocodiles, waterbucks, gerenuks, and the prolific bird species.

How to get to Tsavo East National Park

Tsavo East National Park can be accessed using the road, it is 325 km away from Nairobi and 250km from Mombasa. The main routes are through Chyulu Gate from Amboseli and Mtito Andei Gate from Nairobi. Tourists travelling from Mombasa use the gate near Manyani.

Travelers can also use chartered flights to several airstrips like Batumi Airstrip, Aruba Airstrip, Sangayaya airstrip, Voi Airstrip, and Sala. All the flights are from either Wilson Airport or Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Attractions in Tsavo East National Park.

Yatta plateau – is the longest lava flow in the world formed by lava eruption from  Ol Doinyo Sabuk.  It is 290 kilometers long running along the western border of the park lying between river Athi and river Tiva.

Mudanda rock – is an inselberg of stratified rock of 1.6 kilometers. It is a water catchment spot supplying water to the natural dam situated below it near manyani gate. The rock acts as a watering area where animals come to drink water most especially in the dry season. Travelers can see different animals like elephants, wildebeests, buffaloes, and many more as they drink water from this area.

Galana and Tsavo River – Tsavo East National Park is crossed by the Galana river and Tsavo river which are water sources feeding the park and its ecology. These rivers attract animals such as hippopotamuses, crocodiles, and pythons which come to drink water. Some of the species feed on the swampy vegetation around the banks of the rivers. Galana River flows into the Indian Ocean and it is sometimes referred to as Kabaka River.

Lugard falls – is a series of white water rapids formed in the Galana river. The falls were named after a British explorer and colonial administrator Fredrick Lugard. They are situated close to Lugard Falls airstrip and are a thrilling feature to visit for adventurous tourists.

Kanderi swamp –  This is a wetland situated 10 kilometres from Voi gate. It is a great place to see animals during seasons when water is scarce since it lies along the Voi River. This area offers beautiful scenic views of the backdrop of hills seen at a distance.

Wildlife species

Tsavo East National Park is home to a wide range of wildlife species which can be seen during game drives. To be specific, the park is well known for having a large population of Lions however other animals call this area home. The species found in this park are elephants, leopards, cheetahs, buffalos, black rhinos, gazelle, impala, aardwolf, Grevy’s and plain’s zebra. There are other animals and the list includes warthog, waterbucks, warthogs, civet, dik-dik, caracal, African wildcat, African hunting dog, eland, African dormouse to mention but a few. All these can be encountered on a morning or afternoon game drive using a 4WD pop up safari vehicle. Travelers must be in company of a guide or ranger who is well vast with the park.

Bird species

In addition to the animals, Tsavo East National Park is home to over 500 bird speciesmaking it a great birding destination. The birds can be seen in the savannah grasslands, forests, and around River Galana. The species of birds to look out for include kingfisher, secretary birds, Golden pipit, Golden-breasted starling, Lesser kestrel, Martial eagle, Somali bee-eater, Shelley’s starling, African finfoot, Red-bellied parrot, Rufous chatterer and many more. Some are resident bird species while others are migrant species from Europe and  North Africa. The best time to go birding in Tsavo East National Park is from November to April when migrant birds are in the park

Activities to do in Tsavo East National Park

Birding

Tsavo East national park hosts almost half of the bird species of Kenya both migratory and residents.  Birding can be done with the help of trained guides who know where to find the different species of birds. The best time for birding is during the rainy season from November to April when the birds are nesting and breeding. It needs patience if birders are to come up with a successful list of the birds seen and always maintain total silence.  

Game drives and Animal viewing

Game drives in Tsavo East National park are conducted in the open grassland using 4×4 Vehicles. Travelers are able to see different wild species up close though maintaining a safe distance to take videos and photos. These are usually done early in the morning, afternoon and  in the evening / night when nocturnal animals hunt. The animals that can be seen Tsavo East include the big five those are Lions, Rhinos, Elephants, Buffalos and Leopards. Other animals include warthogs, hyenas, cheetahs, zebras, wildebeest, oribi, Dik-dik, Topi, Kudu, impala, gazelles, and baboons among others.

Nature walks and hiking

Travelers who visit Tsavo East National Park can explore some of the parts of the park on foot. Suprisngly there are amazing features to explore like Mudanda Rocks, Aruba dam and Lugard falls. During the nature walks tourists are able to see some animals and always guided by armed rangers. There are camping sites where travelers can set up tents for an overnight stay.

Picnics, Bush breakfasts and Sundowners

Travelers can have a unique experience by having breakfast and picnics at different spots in the park. These can be arranged so as to enjoy company of friends or loved ones. Always have fresh prepared foods, drinks and later watch the sun sink behind the hills.

Camel Riding Safaris

Visitors can explore the park by taking a camel ride where they are able to move to different parts of the park. This enables them see beautiful scenaries of rolling hills, savannah grasslands and wildlife species.  Not forgetting that it is an amazing way of seeing animals up close.  

Where to stay 

There are a range of accommodation facilities where travelers can have an overnight stay when visiting Tsavo East National Park and these are luxury, mid range and budget facilities.

Luxury accommodation facilities are  Kilagunu Serena safari Lodge, Kiboko camp, Satao camp, Kilalinda safari camp,

Midrange accommodation facilities are Impala safari lodge, Kulalu camp, Ithumba camp, Voi safari lodge,

Budget accommodation facilities are Manyatta camp, Man eaters safari camp, Ashnil Aruba lodge, Nguthuni lodge,

When to  visit 

Tsavo East National Park can visited throughout the year however the best time to visit is during the dry season from July to September and from December to February. During these months game viewing is easier since the grass is shorter and animals are usually near water sources.

Travelers should always avoid visiting during rainy seasons because the roads are muddy and becomes difficult to access the park.