Tsavo East National Park

Tsavo East National Park is situated in Kenya’s southeast, near the Tanzanian border and is close to the Kenyan coast, near the Town of Voi in the Taita-Taveta District of Coast Province, inland from the Coast. The park is named after the river that flows through the two parks, Tsavo is split into two national parks, Tsavo East and Tsavo West, and is divided by the Mombasa-Nairobi highway and the railway going from Mombasa to the interior of Kenya, Nairobi.

Tsavo East National Park alone covers 13,747 square kilometers of pristine wilderness, it is also one of the most extensively protected areas in Kenya and has more biodiversity than any other park globally, as it marks the meeting point between northern and southern wildlife. Tsavo East is one of the oldest, and is the largest national park in Kenya, and together combined with Tsavo West, covers over 20,000 square kilometers, or 4% of Kenya.

Its unique wildlife species makes the park one of the favorite for wildlife viewing in the whole country. From the big game animals, to the unique big herds of red dust-covered elephants. The park is 9 times bigger than the Maasai Mara and is well known for its mane-less lions and the cheetahs.

Tsavo East National Park has a flat and dry topography unlike Tsavo West National Park, and this makes it easy to spot wildlife because the vegetation is sparse. The Yatta Plateau that is approximately 290km (180 miles) long, is the world’s longest lava flow and also the oldest fossilized lava flow on Earth adds on the attractiveness of the park. The park’s salvation is the dense vegetation along its permanent and seasonal rivers. The Tsavo, Galana and Athi rivers are a vital part of the Tsavo ecosystem and are great spots to watch wildlife.

Activities in Tsavo East National Park

Game Drives & wildlife viewing

The park is home to numerous animals, including The Big Five: lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and Cape buffalo. The park has other animals like Zebras, Giraffes, Dik-Dik, Red Duiker, Bush baby, Yellow Baboons, Cheetahs, African Hunting Dogs, Eland, Gazelles, Gerenuk, Springhare, Hyenas, Jackals, Impala, Tree Hyrax, Hartebeest, Foxes and many others. The rivers around the park are also home to most of this wildlife, and crocodiles eagerly hide within the dark depths, waiting to pounce on anything brave enough to approach the shores. Game drives are best when done in the early morning or evening before it gets too hot and will often include a stop at the Luggard Falls, a series of white rapids on the Galana River and the Yatta Plateau, for a picnic lunch.

Bird Watching

Tsavo East has an astounding number of bird species (500+). It includes many dry-country specials which are easy to spot, including starlings, storks, pied kingfishers, hornbills, secretary bird, lovebirds, herons, weaver birds, vulturine guinea fowl, African fin foot, reed warbler, corncrakes, buzzards, lesser kestrel, martial eagles, northern brownbul, and red backed shrikes, black faced sand grouse, the majestic Golden-breasted starling, golden pipit and vulturine guinea fowl among others. The park is also the southernmost stronghold for the Somali ostriches and is a significant wintering ground for migrant species from Europe. There are also migrant birds that are present from November to April. Mzima springs are a good birding location in Tsavo west national park where tourists can also enjoy amazing views and also see monkeys in the trees near the springs, as well as hippos and crocodiles.

Nature walks

Another unique way of exploring the beauty is a nature walk which involves moving around Tsavo national park on foot. This wildlife viewing activity gives the tourists a close interaction with nature around their surroundings. These nature walks take place in the company of a ranger guide who shares information about the different attractions which can be seen at the destination as they follow different routes in Tsavo national park.


Tourists can also engage in hiking adventures as they enjoy the beautiful scenery at the destination from a higher view point. The hilly and rugged nature of Tsavo west national park makes it possible to carry out the activity. During hiking, the climbers can also enjoy seeing wildlife species such as elephants roaming in the plains. The different rocks which are climbed give the tourists a unique climbing experience due to the nature of the climbs that can sometimes be difficult and strenuous and at times requiring less effort.

Yatta Plateau viewing

The yatta plateau is the key attraction of Tsavo East National park and it’s the world’s longest lava flow that runs along the boundary of the park on the Western side.  The 300 kilometers long plateau was formed by the hot running lava from the Ol Doinyo Sabuk mountain.

Aruba Dam visit

Aruba dam is one of the dams that is found in Tsavo East national park and it was constructed in 1952 across the Voi River. The main purpose of creating the dam was to create a reservoir of water for the wildlife during the dry season. This is another attraction to the park and visitors drive to view the dam on addition to the animals that around.

Mudanda Rock visit 

The inselberg of Mudanda is 1.6kilometers and is a great water catchment area that supplies all the lower dams with water. It offers great vantage point for hundreds of wildlife that always comes and drink water from this area. This is a game viewing destination especially during the dry season when all animals come here to quench their thirst. Visitors enjoy viewing these animals as they station at the point of water.

Lugard Falls visit

It is named after the first European explorer Frederick Lugard who was the first European to step at the white waterfalls. Located along the Galana river, the falls is great sightseeing area at the park.

Bush Breakfasts, Picnics and Sundowners

At Tsavo East, you’re not limited to the dining room. Set up breakfast overlooking the Yatta Plateau or take a break from game driving with a picnic under the shade of a tamarind tree. Freshly prepared food and drinks are kept cold in the cool box in the back of the safari vehicle, ready for when you get peckish. Later, watch the coral sun sink behind the hills from a scenic rocky escarpment, ice-cold drink in hand. In Africa, we call these sundowners.

Tsavo East National Park is perfectly situated halfway between Nairobi and the Kenyan coastal resorts and beaches, and this makes it a perfect place to connect to the beach for relaxation or a holiday. Some of the breath taking resorts are at Diani Beach, located just 30km south of Mombasa and approximately a four-hour drive from Tsavo East. A stunning tropical paradise and has been awarded the best beach destination in Africa for five years running.

Accommodation in Tsavo East National Park

There are several accommodation facilities ranging from budget, mid-range and luxury, and these are some of the accommodation centers in the park.

Galdessa Camp overlooking the Yatta Plateau is a luxurious and intimate eco-lodge. The Camp accommodates 10 people across 5 raised tents, each positioned facing the Galana River, allowing you to watch the hippos, crocodiles, and other wildlife drawn to its Doum Palm-lined banks from your private shaded deck.

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust run 4 other luxury eco-lodges in Tsavo, the profits of which goes towards saving orphaned elephants. These are Galdessa Little, Umani Springs, Ithumba Camp, and Ithumba Private.

Satao Camp is popular with both guests and wildlife. This mid-range lodge offers 20 en-suite safari tents with private verandas and is all tastefully decorated to fit an ‘out of Africa’ theme, reminiscent of the first explorers.

Ashnil Aruba is one of the largest and most established camps in Tsavo East. Set on the banks of the Aruba Dam, which attracts plenty of wildlife looking to quench their thirst. There are 20 luxury suites in total at Ashnil Aruba – eight with interconnecting rooms, four triples, six lovely tented rooms, and two adapted for guests with special needs. All are en-suite and have a private veranda overlooking the dam, and slate or polished concrete floors help the rooms stay cool.

When to Visit

The best time to visit Tsavo East is in the dry season from July to September and December to March.

These months provide the best wildlife viewing opportunities as the grass is short and the animals are drawn to water sources, especially to the river banks.

It is generally advised to avoid March to May, the long rainy season and October to November, the short rains. Access becomes more difficult due to muddy roads, wildlife viewing is more challenging and planned excursions might be affected by torrential rains during these months.

 Gates to Tsavo East national park

The park can be accessed through various gates that include;

Sala Gate, is located in the North Eastern part of the park.

Voi Gate, is located in the southern part of the park.

Manyani Gate, is located in the Southwestern park of the park.

Buchuma Gate, is located in the Southeastern part of the park.

Mtito Andei gate, is located in the western part of the park.

Getting to Tsavo East National park

Tsavo East National park is very easy from either the Kenya capital Nairobi or from Mombasa and it’s the only park in Kenya where a traveler can reach while using the railway line. The park is found along the good tarmac road of A109 highway that passes in the middle of the park. The park can be accessed by road, air and also a railway line.

By Road: The park can easily be accessed by road from Nairobi entering through the different gates of the park like Sala gate, Buchuma gate, Manyani gate and Voi gate.

The most common roads used by travelers include the main road from Nairobi to Mombasa that covers about 250 kilometers and when your entering through the Mtito Andei gate, it takes you about 233 kilometers.

If in Mombasa through Voi gate, its only 96 kilometers and you can also use the Western road (C103) which enters into the park through Sala gate which covers a total distance of 153 kilometers.

By Air: There are several domestic flights that operate daily from Nairobi Wilson Airport and Mombasa. The park has a good number of airstrips that are located inside and some outside but near the park gates and these airstrips include, Satao airstrip, Bachuma airstrip, Cottars airstrip, Ithumba airstrip, Sangayaya airstrip, Mopeo airstrip, Aruba airstrip, Voi airstrip and Sala airstrip

By Railway: Tsavo East National park is among the few protected areas in Africa that can be accessed by railway. The Railway line passes through the middle of the park together with the highway.

When planning a trip to Kenya, consider going through a tour company or a tour operator to do the parking and managing the safari.

If you have plans of traveling to any East African country, for activities like mountain hiking, wildlife viewing, game viewing, wildebeest migration viewing, cultural experience Gorilla tracking, lion tracking, chimpanzee tracking, golden monkey tracking, volcanic exploration, , heritage sites visit plus your bucket list, consider https://africasafaritravellers.com/


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