Tsavo East National Park


At just over 21,000km sq. Tsavo is the largest National Park in Kenya, and one of the largest in the world. Because of its size the park was split into two, Tsavo West & Tsavo East.

Tsavo East boasts many interesting aspects including the spine of the Yatta Plateau, one of the world’s longest lava flows. An additional attraction is the Athi River flanked by stately doum palms which near the Manyani gate forms the Lugard Falls, a long stretch of rippling white water cataracts and a favorite haunt for sunbathing crocodiles. The falls gush through a small fissure, before dropping to Crocodile Point below, where the river changes its name to the Galana. Droughts are much more common in Tsavo East than West, and Aruba Dam built in 1952 has dried up completely at times although it covers an area of 85.4 hectares.


Mudanda Rock is a massive whale-backed rock, 1.5km long, which erupts from the plains between Manyani Gate and Voi. It is an excellent vantage point from which to survey the waters of the nature dam that lies at its foot and potently draws to it many hundreds of wallowing elephant. This area is a favorite leopard haunt, although daytime sightings are rare.


Lying close to the Voi gate, provides one of only two drinking areas in Tsavo East during the dry months. It therefore attracts large herds of buffalo and impala as well as yellow baboon and lion.


Chief among these must rank the marvels of Mzima Springs, replenished with two hundred and twenty million liters of crystal-clear water every day, from the underground streams stemming from the lava massif known as the Chyulu Hills, 40-50 km away.


These crystal clear pools are a favorite hangout for hippos and crocodiles. The main attraction is a submerged viewing tank which was designed so that people could watch the hippo’s antics underwater, but since it was built the hippos have retreated shyly to the side of the pool. The good news is that you get a great view of the fish. The underground water that feeds the pools filters up through the volcanic rock of the Chyulu hills and it is linked by pipeline to Mombasa, supplying most of the town’s water.

Mzima forms a haven for a rich wildlife pageant with elephant soaking half immersed in the waters, light footed but ponderous looking hippo, apparently weightless, tip-toeing across the bottom, crocodiles basking on the bank or swirling through the water, gazelles, zebra and giraffe wandering around the banks through the think acacias and raffia palms together with hundred of chattering monkeys and birds. Mzima is also the main source of Mombasa’s water supply.

Not far from Mzima Springs, along a well-marked track, lies the precipitous magnificence of the Ngulia escarpment at the foot of Ngulia Hills which rise to 1825 m. Each year from late September to November, Ngulia has become the base of unique phenomenon.

It has become one of the bird wonders of the world and provides vital information on the migratory routes and the habits of many species common to the northern hemisphere.

It is possible to make an excursion to the Chyulu Hills National Park which abuts Tsavo to the North West. The Chyulus are one of the world’s newest mountain ranges; the most recent volcanic peak was formed only 500 years ago. A four hour wheel drive track leads to this peak-shaitani from the Chyulu gates near Kilaguni Lodge and it is simple to walk to the cave on the side of volcano. It is breathtaking landscape of rampant ferocity and the vistas to Kilimanjaro are unbeatable.

At the other end of Tsavo West, in the south west corner, Lies Lake Jipe. Bisected by the border with Tanzania it is a favorite haunt of bird’s watchers in the lake area is a small herd of Grevy’s zebra, translocated from northern Kenya in 1977.