How to choose between Tsavo West and Tsavo East : Tsavo West and Tsavo East national parks form the largest protected area in Kenya and one of the largest parks in the world covering an area of 22,000 square kilometers, Tsavo national park is also one of the oldest national parks in Kenya.
Tsavo national park is split into Tsavo East and Tsavo West by a railway going from Mombasa to the interior of Kenya, the park gets its name from the Tsavo River which runs across the park and is one of the major sources of water.
Tsavo is popularly known for the notorious Man Eaters which were depicted in The Man- Eaters of Tsavo and The Ghost and the Darkness movies, The Man Eaters of Tsavo referred to a pair of Maneless male lions attacked and killed over 35 railway construction workers at Tsavo National park back in 1898. The horrific attacks almost brought a halt the construction works of the Mombasa – Lake Victoria railway, Lt. Col Patterson who was in charge of the Bridge Building project at the Tsavo River killed the pair of man – eating lions which provided some sort of relief to the construction workers.
Tsavo East National park
Tsavo East National park is one of the biggest parks in Kenya with size of 13,747 Square kilometers, the park is located in South East of Kenya near the Town of Voi in the Taita – Taveta District of Coast Province, inland from the Coast.
Tsavo East National park offers great wildlife viewing, with all the big Five “lion, leopards, elephants, cape buffaloes and rhinos”, elephants in the park are known as the red elephants as they have the red coating. There are also Masai giraffes, waterbucks, lesser kudu, hippos and over 500 recorded species of birds such as black – headed lapwing, eastern chanting goshawk, red-winged lark, vulturine guinea fowl, rosy-patched bush shrike among others.
Highlights of Tsavo East National Park
- Dust red elephants around the Galana River
- Aruba Dam – the site is a great wildlife viewing point as lots of animals gather around the dam to drink water
- Mudanda Rock – the rock is a 1.6 kilometers inselberg of stratified rock acting as a water catchment that supplies a natural dam below, the dam offers an excellent vantage point for the hundreds and other wildlife in the park to come and drink water most especially during dry season.
- Yatta Plateau – this is the world’s longest lava flow of approximately 290 kilometers and it was formed from Ol Doinyo Sabuk Mountain.
- Lugard Falls – these magnificent falls were named after Fredrick Lugard, they are a series of white water rapids on the Galana River.
Getting to Tsavo East National park
Tsavo East National park can be accessed by road and by air
Tsavo East national park can be accessed by 3 gates that are Mtito Andei gate which is 233km south of Nairobi, 250km north of Mombasa on the main Nairobi-Mombasa highway and from Mombasa, there is Voi main gate 153km of Mombasa-Nairobi highway.
Driving from Malindi takes the western road -103 and enter the park via Sala Gate.
Tsavo East national park is served by several airstrips, however currently there are no scheduled flights but chartered flight can be arranged to and from international Jomo Kenyatta Airport (NBO), it is approximately 15 kilometers southeast of Nairobi and Moi International airport which is 10 kilometers west of Mombasa. These airstrips include Vio, Aruba, Satao, Sala, Ithumba, Sangayaya, Mopeo, Bachuma, and Sattar.
Best time to go for a safari in Tsavo East national park
Tsavo East national park can be visited all year round, however the best time to visit is during the dry season from June through October and January to February, in this period it is easier to spot the wildlife as the vegetation is lesser. For bird lovers, November to April is the best time to visit the park as lots of migratory birds can be seen during these months.
Tsavo East National Park is characterized by a moderate climate which is due to the park’s close proximity to the equator, the temperatures in the park ranges between 20 and 30 °C. The park experiences two wet seasons that is the long rains between March and April and the short rains between November and December.
Activities in Tsavo East National Park
Activities to do in Tsavo East national park include
- Bird watching
- Game viewing
- Guided Nature walks and hiking
Where to stay in Tsavo East National Park
There is several of accommodation facilities in the park ranging from Budget, midrange and luxury including
- Sentrim Tsavo East Lodge
- Ashnil Aruba Lodge
- Oldonyo Lodge.
Tsavo West National Park
Tsavo West national park is the second half of Tsavo national park located in the Coastal Province of Kenya covering an area of 9,065 square kilometers, the park is a treasure of nature sights and is characterized with magnificent attractions including the Mzima natural springs, extinct volcanoes and the famous shetani (the Devil in Swahili) Lava Flow,How to choose between Tsavo West and Tsavo East
Highlights of Tsavo West national park
- Mzima Springs – the name Mzima means a live in Swahili, the springs are an oasis on the North West end of the park producing about 250 million liters of crystal clear water.
- Rhino Sanctuary – The sanctuary is 90 square kilometers and is a home to the endangered species of black rhinos.
- Common Wildlife in the park include Lions, Elephants, Leopard, lesser kudu, Cheetah, Buffalo, Rhino, Giraffe, Zebra, Crocodile, Mongoose, Hyrax, Dik-dik. And over 600 bird species.
Getting to Tsavo West National Park
Mtito Andei is the main access to the park that is if you are coming via the highway from either Nairobi (240 kilometers) or Mombasa and Chyulu Gate if one is coming from Amboseli. Tsavo Gate is near Manyani which is an option if approaching from Mombasa.
You can also board a train from Nairbi/Mombasa and get dropped at the Voi Station from Nairobi / Mombasa and get dropped at Voi Station from where you can be picked up and transfer to the park’s respective entrance gates.
Best time to go to Tsavo West National Park
Tsavo West national park can be visited all year- round, however the best time of the year to visit the park is during the dry months from June to October and January to February. Wet months in Tsavo West national park include November, April and May. During the dry months spotting wildlife is challenging since there is an abundance of water and long vegetation.
The climate at Tsavo West National Park
Tsavo West national park is characterized by hot and dry conditions during the day with temperatures around 29°C/84°F with nights getting up to 18°C/64°F. in the park, expect cool morning so remember to pack warm clothing for early game drives.
Activities in Tsavo west
Activities in the park include
- Visit to the Shetani Caves
- Visiting the Mzima Springs
- Bush walks
- Game viewing and bird watching
Where to stay in Tsavo West National park
Accommodation options in the park include
- Severin Safari Camp
- Kilaguni Serena Hotel
- Sarova salt lake game Lodge
It is hard to decide whether to choose Tsavo West or Tsavo East, however, these points can help you out
- Tsavo East is frequently visited by more visitors and easier to spot wildlife as it is less dense, Tsavo West requires harder work in finding wildlife as it is has more dense vegetation.
- The landscape in Tsavo West is more appealing and dramatic which is one of the most diverse landscapes in East Africa.
if you are looking for a less crowded destination, Tsavo West is the best place to visit.