Tsavo West National Park, one of Kenya’s largest parks, has a wide range of scenery, including marshes, natural springs, rocky summits, extinct volcanic craters, rolling plains, and steep outcrops draped in vegetation. Tsavo West is close to Kenya’s coast and can easily be combined with a beach vacation.
TSAVO WEST NATIONAL PARK, AT A GLANCE
- Spanning little more than 9,000 square kilometers when coupled with Tsavo East, Kenya’s largest protected territory.
- Kenya’s northern and southern species thrive in its diversified topography of riverine vegetation, wide grasslands, dense acacia trees, rocky outcrops, and semi-arid desert shrubbery.
- The scenery toward the Chyulu Hills is of recent volcanic origin, with some impressive lava flows.
- Tsavo is located in Kenya’s southeast, near the Tanzanian border and close to the Kenyan coast, making it ideal for a beach vacation following your safari.
- Tsavo National Park is divided into two national parks, Tsavo East and Tsavo West, and is separated by the Mombasa-Nairobi highway.
- Tsavo West National Park is located to the south of the route, and Tsavo East is located to the north.
- The northern section of Tsavo West, near the Chyulu Hills, is very beautiful. On a clear day, you may view as far as Mount Kilimanjaro from several spectacular vantage spots, such as Poachers Lookout.
- Visit the Mzima Springs to see crocodiles and hippos at an underground viewpoint, or the Ngulia Rhinoceros Sanctuary, one of the few spots in the country where you may see the majestic black rhino.
TSAVO WEST SAFARI IDEAS
Tsavo West National Park is conveniently placed between Nairobi and Kenya’s seaside resorts. Hence, if you want to combine a beach vacation with a safari, Tsavo is the ideal safari destination either before or after your beach vacation.
Diani Beach, located about 30 kilometers south of Mombasa and about a five-hour journey from Tsavo West, is a gorgeous tropical paradise that has been named Africa’s top beach destination for five years in a row.
Tsavo is frequently combined with Amboseli National Park, which is located in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro in southern Kenya. It is around a six-hour trip from Tsavo, with opportunities for game viewing along the way, and four hours from Nairobi if you start in Amboseli. Combining these two parks is great for elephant enthusiasts, as both are known for their high densities and enormous herds.
THINGS TO DO
Mzima Springs: Mzima Springs is a green oasis located in the park’s west. It is located in the Chyulu Hills and generates approximately 200 million liters of water each day, providing the majority of Mombasa’s freshwater. Going along the coastline, you may witness hippos and crocodiles swimming in the enormous pond’s clean waters.
There is an underground viewing post at the end of the short trek where you can observe Hippos wander around the rocky bottom of the springs, as well as primordial looking fish and crocs courageous enough to penetrate hippo territory.
Game Drives: Tsavo West provides one of Kenya’s most exclusive game drive experiences. When out in the woods, you are unlikely to see any other cars due to its huge vastness. There are lots of animals to see, including all of the Big Five and many uncommon northern Kenya species.
Due to low animal numbers, heavy shrubbery, and extensive woodland, Tsavo West is slightly more difficult than Tsavo East and other Kenyan national parks. Experienced guides and drivers, on the other hand, can boost your chances of seeing wildlife because they know all the finest areas.
Game drives in the early morning and late evening are advised because wildlife is most active at these times. Tsavo West is also an excellent choice if you are visiting on the eve of the rainy season. Rainfall is infrequent in this semi-arid region, thus roads and excursions are unlikely to be disrupted.
Bush Breakfasts, Picnics and Sundowners: You are not limited to the dining room at Tsavo West. Take a break from game viewing with a picnic under the shade of a Baobab tree or have breakfast near a watering well.
Freshly cooked food and drinks are stored refrigerated in the safari vehicle’s cool box, ready for when you are hungry. Afterwards, with an ice-cold drink in hand, watch the peach sun set behind the Chyulu hills from the picturesque Poachers Lookout on the rocky cliff.
WHERE TO STAY
Finch Hatton: With its spectacular ‘out of Africa’ colonial-period styled tented camp, Finch Hatton’s harkens back to a bygone era of discovery. This camp, named after the explorer Denys Finch Hatton, provides guests with only the finest luxuries and comfort.
Finch Hatton’s features 17 magnificent raised canvas tents with wooden floors at the foot of the Chyulu Hills, overlooking a clear spring popular with hippos and other wildlife, which you may enjoy watching from your private deck.
Severin Safari Camp is another wonderful luxury option, nestled amid an acacia bush on the outskirts of the savanna. With 27 suites, it is on the larger side for a lodge, yet it has managed to retain its wild air. Numerous animals are lured to the drinking holes in front of the camp, which may be seen from the open-air lounge.
Kilaguni Serena is a mid-range classic stone-built lodge perfectly positioned in the shadow of Mt Kilimanjaro and surrounded by the volcanic magnificence of the Chyulu Hills. With 56 guest rooms, it is the largest lodge. It has a view of the savanna plains and is conveniently located for visiting all of the park’s main attractions.
WHEN TO VISIT
Tsavo West is best visited during the dry season, which runs from July to September and December to March. These months are ideal for wildlife viewing since the grass is short and animals are driven to water sources, particularly river banks and watering holes in front of lodges.
It is generally recommended to avoid the long rainy season from March to May and the short rainy season from October to November. Tsavo West, on the other hand, has a semi-arid environment and rainfall is more sporadic than in other parks, making it an excellent choice if you are traveling on the eve of the rainy season.
Tsavo West is located in southeast Kenya, 232 kilometers/144 miles from Nairobi and 250 kilometers/155 miles from Mombasa, and it takes approximately 4-6 hours to drive there.
Depending on your itinerary, driving to the reserve from Nairobi, Mombasa, or another park is a viable choice. Many visitors who travel from Nairobi stop at Lake Nakuru National Park for a brief wildlife drive and picnic lunch.
There are scheduled flights from Nairobi Wilson Airport to Tsavo West and numerous other parks, including Maasai Mara and Amboseli. Airstrips are also accessible for chartered flights.