Tsavo West National Park
Tsavo West National Park is a national park in Kenya located in southeastern Kenya in the central province, Tsavo West national park is one of the popular Kenya wildlife safari destinations famous for maneless lions “the man eating lions”, large-sized red elephants and the remaining population of Hirola antelopes in Kenya.
Tsavo West national park is one of the two parks making up the great Tsavo Conservation area also known as Tsavo national parks with Tsavo East national park as another, these two national parks are separated by a railway line and Mombasa – Nairobi route.
Tsavo West covers an area of 9,065 square kilometers and it was established in 1948, the park landscape is dominated by savannah ecosystem including open grasslands, scrublands, riverine and acacia woodlands. The landscape of Tsavo West national park encompasses of Mzima springs, Shetani lava flow, Lake Jipe and Chaimu Volcano.
Tsavo West is rich with wildlife and birdlife inhabiting in the savannah plains of the park, the park is recognized for being a home to Man eaters, large sized red elephants and the few remaining population of Hirola antelopes in Kenya. Animals living in Tsavo West national park include lion, elephants, cheetah, wild dogs, antelopes, buffalo, black rhinos, hippos, zebra, hyenas, lesser kudu, klipspringers, gerenuk, mongoose, nocturnal porcupine, fringe-eared Oryx, giraffe, crocodiles, hippos among others.
Tsavo West national park is among the important birding area in Kenya and a great destination for Kenya birding safaris boosting a recorded 600 bird species, birds inhabited in Tsavo West include thrush nightingale, Taita falcon, Taita fiscal, Somali bunting, Somali Ostrich, Somali bee-eater, Rufous chatterer, river warbler, Shelley’s starling, slender-tailed nightjar, red billed parrot, red backed shrike, Narina trogon, marsh warbler, Northern brownbul, pangani long claw, lesser kestrel, common white throat, Basra reed warbler, African finfoot among others.
Activities of Tsavo West National Park
Tsavo west national park is a great tourist destination offering a range of adventurous and memorable safari activities, these safari activities include
Tsavo West is one of the popular destinations best for Kenya wildlife safaris, game viewing in Tsavo West national park is offered in sessions that is morning game drive, afternoon game drive and evening game drive. During game viewing you get to watch many animals from the widow of your car, animals seen include lions, elephants, cheetah, wild dogs, klipspringers, gerenuk, mongoose, Oryx, giraffe, black rhinos, cape buffaloes, antelopes, hyenas, hippos, crocodiles among others.
Game viewing in Tsavo West can be done all year round but the best Kenya wildlife safari is done in the dry season when a large number of animals are spotted congregating at water holes to drink water.
Viewing wildlife in Tsavo West national park can also be done on rhino tracking and visiting the beautiful Mzima springs.
Rhino tracking in Tsavo West is a thrilling experience to take part during a Kenya wildlife safari, this activity offers an excellent opportunity to watch black rhinos by visiting the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary. Rhino Ngulia Sanctuary is a fenced sanctuary of 90 square kilometers and a home to about 80 black rhinos, rhino tracking in Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary offer an encounter with black rhinos in their natural habitat.
Visiting the Mzima Springs
Visiting the Mzima Springs is another activity to do in Tsavo West during Kenya wildlife safari, Mzima Springs is a great site in the park for watching large number of hippos and Nile crocodiles. Mzima springs are a pool of over 50 gallons of clear water beneath the lava rocks found in the northern region of Tsavo West near Chyulu hills. Mzima springs are a home to a large number of hippos and crocodiles living in the crystal clear waters of the pool and they can be seen during your visit. Also vervet monkeys are seen while picking fruits on the trees.
The national park is one of the important birding areas in Kenya and a paradise for birders anyone should visit on a Kenya bird watching safari, the park is a home to over 600 bird species encountered during bird watching experience. Birds watched during bird watching safari in Tsavo West National Park include African fin foot, Basra reed warbler, Black-faced sand grouse, Common whitethroat, Corncrake, Fischer’s starling, Golden pipit, Golden-breasted starling, Lesser kestrel, Marsh warbler, Martial eagle, Narina trogon, Northern brownbul, Somali Ostrich, Pangani longclaw, Red-backed shrike, Red-bellied parrot, River warbler, Rufous chatterer, Shelley’s starling, Slender-tailed nightjar, Somali bee-eater, Somali bunting, Somali ostrich, Taita falcon, Taita fiscal, Thrush nightingale among others.
Kenya bird watching safaris in Tsavo West can be done throughout the year but the best and excellent bird watching experience is done from October to November and November to April when migratory bird species are present in Tsavo West.
Some of the sections of Tsavo West are mountainous offering excellent volcanic hiking opportunity, Kenya volcano hiking safari is a breathtaking and adventurous activity and in Tsavo West Chaimu Volcano is hiked. Chaimu Volcano is a spectacular feature with a crater lake on its top which is aimed at during hiking experience, hiking Chaimu volcano takes about 15 – 20 kilometers.
Walking safaris is one of the best way to explore Tsavo west, the park is composed of a scenic landscape consisting various features worth visiting such as Shetani flow, Mzima springs and Lake Jipe. Walking safaris in Tsavo West national park are facilitated by numerous trails running through the park, the activity itself is done on foot and the walk is headed by an armed safari guide for protection purposes in case of any attack from the wild animals. During your walk in the park you will have a chance to watch many animals such as Masai giraffes, lions, elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, hartebeests, lesser kudu, bush baby 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, river warbler among others.
WHERE TO STAY IN TSAVO WEST NATIONAL PARK
Accommodation in Tsavo West is offered is many beautiful accommodation establishments categorized as luxury, midrange and budget. Accommodation in Tsavo West is got from Taita Hill safari Resort and Lodge, Taita Lick Safari lodge, Lavender garden hotel, Rhino valley lodge, Voyager Safari camp, River Lumi Resort, Kilaguni Serena safari lodge, Teen Ranch Kenya, Paran Resort among others.
HOW TO GET TO TSAVO WEST NATIONAL PARK
Tsavo west is located in the south Eastern region of Kenya in a distance of 240 kilometers from Nairobi, to get to Tsavo West national park 6 gates are used that are Tsavo gate, Lake Jipe gate, Mtito Andei gate, Chyulu gate, Maktau gate and Ziwani gate. Getting to Tsavo West is done using both road and air means of transport. By road, a 200 kilometers route from Nairobi is used and a 4X4 wheel vehicle is recommended. By air, chartered and domestic are offered from Wilson airport in Nairobi to airstrips serving the park such as Kamboyo, Kilaguni, Tsavo, Jipe, Kasigau, Finch Hottons, Ziwani and Maktau airstrips serving the park.