Tsavo East National Park Tanzania, Attractions and Activities
Referred to as “Theatre of the Wild” by the Kenya Wildlife Services, Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks combined, cover an area of about 22,000 square kilometers (about 4% of Kenya) and form one of the oldest and the largest game sanctuaries in Kenya (about 9 times the size of Maasai Mara National Park).
Tsavo East alone surrounds an area of about 13,747 square kilometers and is separated from Tsavo West by the A109 road (Nairobi-Mombasa highway) and railway which cross the park. Tsavo East National Park was opened in April 1948 and gets its name from the Tsavo River which rolls from the West to the East of the park. Inside the park is also the Athi River which connects with the Tsavo river to form the Galana River.
Tsavo East National park is bordered by the Chyulu Hills National Park and Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania. The park is situated near Voi town in Taita-Taveta County. The biggest part of the park comprises semi-arid heaths and savannah making it most popular as one of the hotspots for large numbers of varied wildlife including the African Big Five. The park is also home to a large variety of bird species including the crowned crane and black kite. Tsavo East is also known for its Rhino Sanctuary.
Tsavo National Park was also made famous by the Yatta Plateau, which is the world’s longest lava flow covering about 300km.
Major attractions and activities in Tsavo East National Park
Tsavo National Park has a diversity of attractions and activities which visitors can participate in. These attractions range from flora and Fauna to the other naturally built aspects in the park.
These attractions include:
With over 500 bird species, Tsavo East National Park offers a truly distinctive and unbelievable birding experience. These include many of the dry-country specials easily spotted such as the Vulturine Guineafowl, Golden-breasted Starling, and the Golden Pipit. The park is also the Southern hotspot of the Somali Ostrich and migrant species from Europe. Other species include Black-headed Lapwing, red-winged lark, Rosy-patched BushShrike, and the Eastern chanting Goshawk.
Camping in Tsavo National Park can be done either at the community camping sites or private camping sites. These sites are located in good animal viewing areas and are protected by rangers. From your tent balcony, you can easily view animals at your comfort and the most exciting moments about camping are being awoken by the birds singing or the roar of the king of the jungle patrolling its territory.
Tsavo National Park is rich in wildlife much as it is less visited. This makes it one of the best-protected areas to visit especially by visitors who do not love crowds. Its popularity comes from the large red-dusty elephants
Game viewing in Tsavo National Park is so rewarding due to the rich wildlife variety. Most notable are the Big Five, especially the red-dusty elephants, lions, Cape buffalos, leopards, and the Rhino. These game drives are done following tracks which usually lead to the water holes where these animals gather. Other animals you are likely to encounter include Giraffes, Impalas, Zebras, Cheetahs, Dik Dik among others.
Hanging over a natural dam close to the Manyani dam, this massive 1.5km long rocky outcrop attracts herds of elephants and other wildlife to drink water especially in the dry season. The inselberg acts as a water catchment, supplying the natural dam below it. The outcrop also gives a vantage point for the varied wildlife that freely roam the park and spectacular views of the park.
This prehistoric lava flow located to the North of Galana river stretches about 300km and is considered one of the oldest lava flows in the world. Visitors can enjoy refreshing scenery accompanied by the history of its formation.
The dam was built in 1952 and acts as a water reservoir, attracting different wildlife species This offers another opportunity for visitors to come across these animals while engaging in other activities in the park. Buffalos, elephants, dik-diks among other animals are often spotted here.
Best time to visit Tsavo East National Park
For the best wildlife encounter in Tsavo East National Park, it is recommended to come during the dry season in the months of July to September and December when the grasses are short and wildlife can easily be spotted in the water holes especially on the river banks.
During the long wet season between March and May and the shorter wet season, visits are not recommended as the park becomes less accessible due to the torrential rains. This makes the roads muddy and slippery and therefore difficult to maneuver.
How to get to Tsavo East National Park
Chyulu gate from Amboseli and Mtito Andei gate from Nairobi are the main access routes. Tsavo gate near Manyani provides access to visitors from Mombasa.
Tsavo East National Park cannot be accessed using scheduled flights. However, several airstrips within the park allow access by chartered planes.
Where to stay at Tsavo East National Park
Tsavo East National Park offers different accommodation options which serve different visitor tastes. These options range from camping tents, lodges and hotels both within and nearby. These facilities include:
- Galdesa Camp
- Satao tented Camp
- Ashnil Aruba
- Kilaguni Serena Safari lodge
- Man-Eaters Camp
- Sentrini Tsavo East
- Voi Safari lodge