The ancient explorers and rail builders in Kenya were the first people to discover the diverse theatrical episodes of what is now Africa’s largest wilderness conservation area – the Tsavos. The recent branding of the two unique national parks has not only described the natural truth of these jewels, but has already given them their ideal identity and distinction from each other.
Tsavo East is branded “theatre of the world” while Tsavo west is known as “the ancient land of lion and lava”. The twin National Parks of Tsavo East and West together form one of Africa’s largest wilderness reserves. This single National Park is larger than the island of Jamaica. Tsavo as a whole consists of 10 million acres of pure wilderness, incorporating savannah, ranges and hills, acacia and montane forest, and an extensive river system.
The vast plains of Tsavo are crossed by the main Nairobi-Mombasa railroad. This historic railway was, in 1899, the scene of one of Africa’s greatest Adventure stories. Two large lions actively preyed on the railway workers as they built a bridge over the Tsavo River, claiming over 120 victims. They evaded hunters for well over a year, and the legend of the Man-eaters of Tsavo was born. The sheer scale of Tsavo gives you a chance to really get away from it all, and to explore the wild in total solitude. On safari here you will see large herds of Elephant, their hides often a luminous red with dust, as well as Lion, Buffalo, Eland, Giraffe Impala, Kudu and possibly Rhinoceros.
The relative proximity of Tsavo East to the coast makes it an ideal safari destination for those staying on the coast, or wishing to combine a safari and beach holiday. Many coast based visitors combine a safari to Tsavo with visits to the Shimba Hills and Taita game sanctuaries, Amboseli National Park, or the Chyulu Hills.
The Joint mass of Tsavo West and Tsavo East National covers a massive 4% of Kenya’s total land area. Tsavo East the larger of the two, lies to the east of the Nairobi –Mombasa road, equidistant between Nairobi and Mombasa, and offers a vast and untapped arena of arid bush which is washed by azure and emerald meandering of Galana River. Guarded by the limitless lava reaches of Yatta plateau and patrolled by some of the largest elephant herds in Kenya.
Tsavo east is characterized by the famous ‘Elephant in Eden’ experience – the sight of dust-red elephant wallowing, rolling and spraying each other with the midnight blue waters of palm-shaded Galana River is one of the most evocative images of Africa. The beautiful Aruba dam located on the north bank of the seasonal Voi River is visited by thousands of animals and a great game viewing destination. There is also Mudanda Rock – this whale –backed Rock towers above a natural dam and acts as a draw to thousands of Elephants.
The longest lava flow in the world- at 300 kilometers in length, the heat shimmering edge of Yatta plateau is the longest lava flow in the world and an ornithological paradise that attract migrating birds from all over the world. Lugards Falls – Named after Captain Lugard, the first proconsul to East Africa, the falls feature bizarrely eroded rocks through which the waters of the Galana River plunge into foaming rapids and crocodile –infested pools.
The slightly larger Tsavo East is generally flat, with dry plains across which the Galana River flows. Other features include the Yatta Plateau and Lugards Falls.
Tsavo West National Park is more mountainous and wetter than its counterpart, with swamps, Lake Jipe and the Mzima Springs. It is known for birdlife and for its large mammals. It is also home to a black rhino sanctuary.
Of all the point of attraction in this majestic reserve, Mzima springs are not to be missed. These natural springs produce 50 million gallons of fresh sparkling water daily. These waters are alive with shoals of barbell, Hippopotamus and waterfowls. A unique underwater observatory has been built that gives you an incredible view of this crystal clear underwater world, where massive hippos glide silently through swirling shoals of barbell. The springs have created a sprawling wetland paradise of giant Raphia palms and oases alive with water birds.
Both Tsavo East and West are ideal for those who enjoy solitude and a chance to explore wilderness without encountering other people. Lodges and Camps tend to be remote and accessible by long drives or air transfer. Of the two Parks, Tsavo East is the more remote and less visited. Many of these can organize game walks and other activities.