Tsavo West National Park is located in southeastern Kenya and a little southeast of the sister Tsavo East National Park. The national park encompasses an area of 3,500 square miles (9,065 sq km) making it smaller than its sister park. Tsavo West is the Land of Lava, Springs, Man-Eaters & Magical Sunsets. Although the eastern park is renowned for its abundance and diverse wildlife, the West is the more popular of the two parks because of the stunning landscapes.
Tsavo West includes its own diverse and abundant wildlife, the rhino reserve, Mzima Springs, a solid network of roads, and the potential for rock climbing and guided walks. Tsavo West National Park is more mountainous and more diverse in its landscape. Kichwa Tembo is one of the most popular rock faces to climb with an elevation rise of 984 feet (300 m). Other popular climbs include Ivory Tower, Mastodon, and the Great Tsavo Chimney.
Things to do and see in Tsavo West National Park
All the members of the African Big Five (Lion, Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino, and Hippo), vast herds of red-dust elephants, large schools of hippos, and gigantic Nile crocodiles including other smaller species of mammals including the dik-dik, bush babies, and klipspringer are supported by the park and offer one of the most spectacular wildlife viewings in Tsavo West National Park.
Some of the sections of Tsavo West are mountainous offering excellent volcanic hiking opportunities, Kenya volcano hiking safari is a breathtaking and adventurous activity along the Chaimu Volcano. The Crater is a nature trail where you leave the safari vehicle and hike. The 30-minute hike to the summit is best done early in the morning as the heat on the cinder track becomes brutal as the sun rises. When you get to the top, you have superb 360-degree views of the area.
Embark on a walking safari in the park that comprises scenic landscapes with various features such as Shetani flow, Mzima springs, and Lake Jipe. There are numerous trails running through the park, the activity itself is done on foot guided by an armed safari guide for protection purposes in case of any attack from the wild animals. Look out for the Masai giraffes, lions, elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, hartebeests, lesser kudu, and bush babies among others. Also, a variety of beautiful and colorful birds are spotted during Kenya walking safari in Tsavo West and these include secretary birds, Somali Ostrich, Somali bee-eater, Taita falcon, Shelly’s starling, and river warbler among others.
Tsavo West National Park offers some of the best rock-climbing adventures in Kenya. Kichwa Tembo rock which is 300m is a great option, the second option is the impressive Tsavo Chimney. Other hiking and rock climbing areas include the Ngulia Hills, Mastodon, and Ivory Tower. These viewpoints allow you to have a panoramic view of the landscapes, large herds of elephants roaming the vast plains, and flocks of birds in the park. The rock climb usually happens in the morning hours before the heat of the sun becomes intense and for safety purposes, climbers are escorted by an armed ranger.
The Shetani caves, located next to the Shetani lava flows, were formed as a result of volcanic activity. Visitors can visit these caves to learn about their attached history. While at the caves, there is a high possibility of seeing hyenas and other small mammals. Exploring the cave requires one to carry a torch for lighting since it gets dark when in there.
With over 400 bird species, Tsavo West National Park is considered one of the best places to visit for birding. Between October and January, bird lovers flock to Ngulia Hills annually because of its strategic location along one of the world’s busiest bird migration routes to see birds which include the River Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Red-baked Shrike, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Vulturine Guineafowl, Golden-palm weaver among other portfolio species.
Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary
This sanctuary situated on the foot of Ngulia hills spreads over 90 sq km and is surrounded by a 1 metre-high electric fence to protect about 70 of the park’s highly endangered black rhinos from poachers. The best time to see these understandably shy archaic creatures are at night since they are mostly nocturnal and browsers implying, they mostly feed at night and prefer being under thick undergrowth.
Visit the Mzima Springs
The Mzima Springs is a famous water hole for abundant wildlife including the large herds of elephants, buffalos, Zebras, and Gazelles which gather here especially in the heat of the day to quench their thirst and get a cold bath. The spring is also home to a vast number of Nile crocodiles and hippos. The surrounding acacia trees harbor the frolic blue and vervet monkeys.
Experience the Sundowners
Enjoy the beautiful sunset at Poacher’s Lookout while having a glass of sparkling wine. A breathtaking view of the 5.895 meters of Kilimanjaro awaits you.
Community-Based / Cultural Tours
Discover the secrets of the African wilderness on foot! Learn more about the way of life of the Masai, how to make a fire without matches, and which local plants and herbs can be used as medicines.
Where to stay in Tsavo West National Park
Finch Hattons Camp
This private camp allows you to experience the golden colonial era of the safari. Denys Finch Hatton featured in the movie ‘out of Africa’ was renowned for the lavish style of his safaris and now you can experience a stylish safari. The camp consists of 17 luxury tents that are split into 14 Luxury Tented Suites, 2 Luxury Tented Family Suites with two bedrooms, and, for the utmost opulence, 1 Presidential Tented Suite. Other facilities include a spa and wellness center, an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant, a bar, and a fitness center.
Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge
At Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge, the Chyulu Hills, and Mount Kilimanjaro are always in sight on clear days. The lodge comprises 56 ensuite rooms and suites that have large living areas with baths/showers. The rooms have private balconies all with views of either the watering hole or the distant Chyulu Hills. Other facilities include a lounge and bar area, an outdoor swimming pool and a kids pool, a Restaurant, a business center, sundowner experience at Lion Rock
Severin Safari Camp
Severin Safari Camp the camp is located on a semi-arid plain, dotted with acacia and doum palm trees with watering holes frequented by varied traversing animals. It features 27 octagonal guest tents and suites that are cooled by fresh breezes flowing through mesh windows and front openings. Each guest tent has a small private patio, en-suite bathroom, personal safe, and housekeeping services. Other facilities include an open lounge area, dining room, library, Kenbail Spa, and a gift shop. The main restaurant is an out-of-African experience and the Thorn Tree Bar.
Ngulia Safari Lodge
The lodge is a 3* accommodation and stands within the Tsavo West National Park, on the Ndawe Escarpment overlooking the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary. The Lodge has 52 standard rooms, all with baths and showers and a balcony with a view of the wilderness and floodlit water holes. The main buffet restaurant has interior and exterior dining spaces and an open terrace with a view of the water hole, which is visited by a leopard most evenings. There is also an interior and exterior bar and a new Leopard View bar, immediately adjacent to the waterhole. Other facilities include a conference center, an open-air style restaurant, a leopard dining tree area, 2 bars the leopard viewing bar only opens in the evening, and an outdoor swimming pool.
When is the best time to Visit Tsavo West National Park?
The long dry season of Tsavo is ideal to visit the park. The lack of rainfall from July to October means that few water and food sources are available to the animals. As a result, a lot of animals move to locations with permanent water, such as rivers and springs making game viewing easy. The short, hot-dry season in January and February is also great for game viewing. The long rainy season is from March to May and parts of June. makes it a challenge to navigate the game tracks as the tracks are slippery.
The landscape springs to life with dense, lush vegetation, and seasonal watering holes are replenished. Wildlife disperses across the park though. For birding expeditions, October to April is best when migratory species join the resident species. During these months, you not only record local species but also species that relocate to the park during the European winter months.
How to get to Tsavo West National Park
Tsavo West is located in the south Eastern region of Kenya at a distance of 240 km from Nairobi, to get to Tsavo West national park 6 gates are used, Tsavo gate, Lake Jipe Gate, Mtito Andei Gate, Chyulu Gate, Maktau Gate, and Ziwani Gate.
By air, chartered and domestic aircraft are offered from Wilson Airport in Nairobi to the park. The airfields include Kamboyo, Kilaguni, Tsavo, Jipe, Kasigau, Finch Hottons, Ziwani, and Maktau airstrip serving the park.
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