Tsavo National Park is one of the largest conservation areas in the World, covering about 4% of Kenya's total land area. The park is named after the Tsavo River that flows from west to east. For administrative purposes it was divided into two national parks, namely, Tsavo East and Tsavo West. The park is located in south eastern Kenya about 240km (150 miles) from Nairobi on the highway to Mombasa. Tsavo West National Park is 9,065 sq.km. in size, characterized by a rugged arid landscape. It ranges from 200-1000 metres in altitude.
The most iconic attraction in the park is the Mzima springs with its underwater observation chamber for close-up views of hippos and crocodiles. The other park highlights include; Shetani lava flow, Chaimu volcanic crater and lava field, Five sister’s hills, It's magnificent wildife viewing and the outstanding birdlife. The park is also well known for its Red-coloured Elephants, which love to dust bath in the red coloured soil. The parks can be accessed through Mtito Andei Gate, Man Eaters Gate, Chyulu Gate and one other near Maktau. There are three main airstrips in the park at Kilaguni, Finch Hattons and Ol Donyo Wuas. However many of the lodges have their own private airstrips.
Tsavo West offers magnificent game viewing. Thick vegetation makes it more difficult compared to more open parks, for example, the Masai Mara, but with some patience, visitors can see some of the big five along with a wide range of antelope species, plain zebras, hippos, bush baby, Maasai giraffe and spectacular birdlife. Large elephant herds can be found gathering at the waterholes. Click here to read more about Kenya Safari Animals and Wildlife.
The Tsavo West National Park has a moderate climate as it is located close to the equator. The temperatures range between 20 and 30 °C. There are two wet seasons, the long rains between March and April and the short rains between November and December.
Tsavo West National Park can be visited any time of the year, but the most popular time for wildlife viewing is usually the dry season from June to October and January to February, as the wildlife is easier to spot, since they tend to congregate around the waterholes and local rivers. If you prefer your vegetation green instead of brown, and want a clear view of Kilimanjaro, then the Wet season (November to May) is when you’ll want to visit. Migratory birds also offer a great spectacle at this time.
There are plenty of places to stay in Tsavo West National Park, specifically tented camps and lodges, located in distinct areas of the park to suit every budget. Most of them have a water hole close to the property making game viewing easier. Below is a simple list of some of the more outstanding accommodation inside and outside the park.
Typical tent interior at Ziwani Voyager Camp, Tsavo West.
Typical room interior at Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge, Tsavo west.