Elephant look red from the dust in Tsavo

Tsavo National Park has a beautiful landscape and its proximity to the coast make it a popular safari destination. It is made up of two separate parks; Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks; in between Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya.

Tsavo is nearly 22,000km2, being the largest national park in Kenya and one of the largest in the world. The park was split in two due to the railway going from Mombasa; to the interior of Kenya.

Tsavo features prominently in the world-famous book and film, Out of Africa. In the film, Robert Redford plays Denys Finch Hatton, and Meryl Streep his lover, Baroness Karen Blixen. Denys Finch Hatton loved Tsavo, and lived and died here. A luxury lodge; Finch Hattons is in Tsavo National Park; filled with the same ideals and passion he lived by.

Tsavo National Park giraffe
Tsavo National Park giraffe

Tsavo East Features

The slightly larger Tsavo East is generally flat, with dry plains across which the Galana River flows. Other features include the Yatta Plateau and Lugard Falls.

Accredited as one of the world’s leading biodiversity strongholds; bushy grassland, and open plains alternate with semi-arid acacia scrub and woodlands. Green swathes cross the park where the river banks give rise to lush vegetation. North of Galana is a true wilderness. Several leading tour guides offer private safaris across this area, camel safaris are a feature.

Tsavo East National Park is highly recommended for photographers due to its fabulous light and unbelievable views; in particular; the Mudanda Rock and the Yatta Plateau.

Wildlife found here includes elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, crocodile, waterbuck, kudu, gerenuk, zebra, and Hunter’s Hartebeest can be seen; with its lyre-shaped horns. Home to some of the largest herds of elephants in Kenya, they seem to glow red after dust baths, blowing the vivid red dust through their trunks over their bodies.

Some 500 bird species have been recorded in the area; including ostrich and some migratory kestrels; while buzzards stop at Tsavo East during their long flight south.

Tsavo West Features

Tsavo West National Park is more mountainous and wetter than its counterpart, with swamps, Lake Jipe, and the Mzima Springs. Great birdlife and large mammals e.g. black rhino, Cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, hippo, and Masai lion. There are also other smaller animals; such as the bushbaby, hartebeest, lesser kudu, and Maasai giraffe.

When to visit Tsavo National Park’s

We would recommend the long dry season from July to October to travel to Tsavo because water is scarce and therefore it is easier to find the wildlife; who congregate at any water source. This also coincides with the wildebeest migration. The short rainy season is in November and December followed by a short hot and dry season in January and February. Then more rains begin; lasting from March until May and even June. Birding is best at this time of year and when animals give birth to calves. It is also greener so slightly different to experience compared to the dry season.