Tsavo West National Park – “Land of Lavas, springs and Man-eaters”

Tsavo West National Park covers an area of about 9,065 sq. km, holding a wide range of habitats, wildlife and spectacular showcase of geological activities. This vast expanse of savannah, lying equidistant between Nairobi and Mombasa and linked with Tsavo East National Park along the Mombasa Road, is a vibrant volcanic arena painted by green hills, lava flows, springs and large permanent rivers.

With Mount Kilimanjaro sitting on its flank, this volcanic area abounds in hills like the Chyulu and Chaimu crater, in terms of lakes, rivers and springs it’s blessed by Lake Jipe, Tsavo River and Mzima springs. Other geological particularities such as Shetani lava flow, Shetani caves and outcrops rock and ridges such as the Roaring rock. All these landmarks and nature treasures erupted millions years after the energetic shake up of the earth of Tsavo. All this offers protection to so many endangered African wildlife. The park has also an important history: first, for its cruel “Man-Eaters of Tsavo” story, secondly, for being a major battle field in World War 1 where British and German troops battled for territory.

A visit to Tsavo West National Park is best combined with excursions to Chyulu hills National Park and Taita Hills Game Reserve.  Other attractions in the vicinity include Lake Jipe and Tsavo East National Park.

Tsavo West National Park is an excellent place for visitors who enjoy walking; it offers a number of nature trails and the opportunity to explore the diverse habitats that the park provides, Chaimu volcanic crater and guides are available.

Attractions in Tsavo West National Park. 

The main attractions in Tsavo West National Park include the diverse wildlife and the physical features like the Shaitani lava flow, Chyulu hills, Lake Jipe, Mzima springs, Mt. Kilimanjaro Chaimu crater, and the Roaring rocks.

Mammals: Besides the lions, the Park has a large concentration of herbivores, predators and other animals. These include the Bush back, dik dik, duikers, eland, gazelles, gerenuk, wildebeest, hartebeest, impala, klipspringer, lesser kudu, fringe eared Oryx, buffalo, elephant, maasai giraffe, hippos, black rhino, cheetah, aardwolf, caracal, hyena, lions, leopard, baboons and a lot more.

Birds: With over 600 recorded species of birds, Tsavo West National Park is a bird watcher’s paradise. Lake Jipe being one of the favored sites of migratory birds, and each year from September to November the Ngulia region becomes the base for a large-scale netting and ringing.

Mzima springs: Is perhaps one of the greatest wonder of Tsavo West National Park.   Water gurgles from the underground and forms large expanse of pools, which provide habitats for colorful fish, hippos and crocodiles. A glass observation tank allows one to view this aquatic undisturbed. The springs are the main source of water for Mombasa municipality.  At its prime Tsavo’s Mzima springs gurgled out 20 million litres of water daily.

The Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary: The Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary is another attraction which is fully fenced covering an area of 62 sq. Km.  It has around 60 Black Rhinos.

Lake Jipe: Lake Jipe is reached from Taveta.  One can go for a boat ride in the lake and it is also popular with migratory birds from Europe between February and May.

Picnic Sites: Poachers look out; Chaimu Crater; Shetani caves; Roaring Rocks

How to get to Tsavo West National Park

By Road: Tsavo West National Park has got good road network and can be accessed comfortably from Amboseli National Park through the Chyulu Gate. From Nairobi, you will enter using the Mtito Andei Gate. From Mombasa, use either the Tsavo Gate near Manyani, or the Mtito Andei Gate. There are also entrances at Maktau, Ziwani and Jipe, depending upon where you want to be within the Tsavo West National Park.

By air: There are several airstrips for chartered aircrafts at Kamboyo, Kilaguni, Finch Hottons, Tsavo, Jipe, Maktau, Kasigau and Ziwani airstrips which are in good conditions. Daily scheduled flights are available from Nairobi and Mombasa.

 

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