Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks

The Tsavo ecosystem is one of Africa’s untouched wilderness tracts. Because of its aridity and immense size, Tsavo offers the best hope for survival in the wild of large mammals that need space like elephant, lion, cheetah, giraffe, and herds of antelope.

The Yatta Plateau is one of the longest lava flows in the world and dominates the park.

Tsavo West offers a glorious diversity of habitats, but the biggest attraction is Mzima Springs, clear water that gushes out at a rate of 250 million liters of water a day, creating a home for thousands of aquatic animals, especially the hippo.

Tsavo, probably meaning ‘a place of slaughter’ from the Kamba language, was the site of several WWI battles between the British, based in Kenya, which was then a British protectorate, and Germans based on what was then Tanganyika, now Tanzania. Established in 1948, the park was later split into Tsavo East and West.

The parks are home to the largest population of elephants in Kenya, is famous for its lions. Watch out for long-necked gerenuks and fringe-eared oryxes.

The Tsavo River is home to Nile crocodiles and hippos, with blue and vervet monkeys frequenting the surrounding fever trees and Acacia tortillis.

Leopard, cheetah, wild dog (small population), buffalo, giraffe, zebra, and lesser kudu are abundant, with a diverse species of birds.

The parks have over 600 bird species; highlights including the Somali and Masai ostriches, golden pipits and Golden-breasted starlings including the threatened corncrake and the rare Basra reed warbler.

Each November and December, Eurasian birds migrating south at night along the eastern flyway become disoriented in the rainy season mists. 57 Palaearctic species and 197 Afrotropical have been recorded.