TSAVO WEST NATIONAL PARK
Tsavo West National Park is a twin to Tsava East national park and its located in the Coast Province of Kenya. It was officially opened or established in April 1948 and it is the second largest national park in Kenya covering an area of 9,065 square kilometers
Tsavo West national park together combined with Tsavo east National park form the great Tsavo National park. It is known as the “Land of Man-eaters, Springs, Magical Sunsets and Lava”. History tells about the man eating lions that killed hundreds of people during the construction of the Railway line and the highway during the colonial era. This A109 highway and railway separating the two parks was connecting Nairobi and Mombasa. The park is also a home of over fifty million gallons of crystal clear water that comes from under parched lava rock. The park is more scenic than Tsavo East national park with rouged mountainous areas. The Mazima springs and the Shetani lava flows are unique attractions found at the park.
The park is one of the oldest in Kenya and it was named after the magnificent Tsavo river which is the main river that drains the park. It’s one of the strongholds of biodiversity across the world. From Mombasa, its a few hours’ driver covering a distance of 250 kilometers. The park is found in the former Taru Desert which is dominated by semi-arid climatic conditions and this climate has scared away human population in the area hence giving the animals a wide space of vacant land to occupy and live free without human intervention.
Wildlife and landscape
Tsavo West National Park is more mountainous and wetter than its counterpart, with swamps, Lake Jipe and the Mzima Springs. The park is covered with a scenic beauty that is characterized by a wide range of vegetation including the open savannah grassland dotted with Acacia woodlands, Scrublands, Rocky ridges and the Riverine vegetation.
The park is known for hosting the big 5 animals (black rhino, Cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, hippo and Masai lion). There are also other animals that can be spotted in the park, such as the bush baby, hartebeests, Maasai Giraffes, Zebras, hyenas, cheetahs, hippos, crocodiles, Gerenuk, Lesser Kudu, Waterbucks, wildebeests and others. The parks also housing a number of bird species especially the rare Corncrake, Basra reed warbler, secretary bird and many others. The park is adjoining the great wildlife ranches where the Black and White Rhinos are found.
Attractions in Tsavo West national park
Game drive & wildlife viewing
This large park is gifted with several attractions where travelers go to experience the abundant wildlife and the African wilderness. The park is known for the thousands of mammals which makes it a true wilderness of Africa, and the land of the historical Man-eaters (Tsavo lions). It’s a home of large herds of African big game animals namely, the lions, leopards, Elephants, buffalo, black and white Rhinos, plus the Giraffes, wildebeests, cheetahs, yellow baboons, gazelles, hyenas, impala, jackals, foxes, African wild dogs and others.
The Mazima Springs visit, this is a miracle place as you see white crystal water coming from underground. This is one of the unmissable attractions in Tsavo West national park and its where the park got its nick name “Land of Lava, Springs, Man-eaters and Magical Sunsets”. These springs are known for holding over fifty million gallons of crystal water that originates from underground of the parched lava rocks. This is the great place of sightseeing not only in Kenya but entire Africa.
Birding, the park has a record of hosting over 400 bird species including the rare birds in the country and the famous spot for viewing the birds is along the Ngulia hills. The park is also a bird migratory route for birds passing through to other destinations, and the bird ringers always come to the park around October and January each year. Some of the bird species in the park include the African finfoot, red-backed Shrike, starlins, River warbler, Marsh warbler, Eastern black-headed oriole, Corncrake, Golden pipit and many others.
Rhino tracking at Ngulia Sanctuary, this is a unique sanctuary where travelers go to visit the rare and endangered black rhinos that are found in Tsavo west national park. This sanctuary hosts the overwhelming growing population of black rhinos in Kenya. These are very unique species that are highly protected because they are endangered.
Poachers lookout view point. The poacher’s lookout is a hill found at the center of the park which gives you 360 degrees view of the park and you can spot animals at this point. It was named after its popular use by the poachers who used to view the wildlife at the park. From the time poaching was eradicated at the park, the hill has retained its name and popularity.
Lake Jipe visit, the lake is one of the water bodies in the park that prove water to both animals and plant life. The lake is a catchment area for aquatic animals like the crocodiles, hippos and water birds that make the place worth a visit.
The park has moved through stages of development and it has plenty of places to stay in while enjoying your visit to the parks. The accommodation ranges greatly and most of them have a waterholes close to the property making game viewing easier. These accommodation facilities include, Satao camp, Lions Bluff lodge, Leopards Lair Cottages, among many other spacious lodges.
Gates to enter the park.
Tsavo West can be accessed through Mtito Gate, Man Eaters Gate, Chyulu Gate and one other near Maktau.
How to get to the park
Tsavo West national park can easily be accessed by road or by air through the nearby airstrips. By road, the A109 highway passes directly in the middle of the park and for this case it is always advisable to use local tour operator or a tour company when planning to visit the park so that you have good experience on your way to the park. There are also public means with buses operating daily from Nairobi to Mombasa passing through the park.
You can enter the park through any of its gates that include Tsavo gate, Mtito Andei gate, Chyulu gate, Ziwani gate and Maktau gate. If coming from Mombasa the main gate which is the park head gate is your entry point and that’s Mtito Andei gate or use the near Tsavo Gate near Manyani. If your Kenya safari includes or start from Amboseli national park then proceed to Tsavo West national park, you will enter to the park through Chyulu gate. Traveler can also use an alternative route that is Taveta-Voi road where you will enter the park through Jipe gate, Maktau gate or Ziwani gate.
By air, planes can land at any of the airstrips found at the park like Tsavo gate airstrip, Ziwani airstrip, Finch Hottons airstrip, Jipe airstrip, Kilaguni airstrip, Kamboyo airstrip and Maktau airstrip. You can book our Tsavo West national park flight safaris that start from Nairobi in Wilson airport in Nairobi.
When planning a trip to Kenya, consider going through a tour company or a tour operator to do the parking and managing the safari.
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