Tsavo-East is one of Kenya’s oldest and largest National Parks. It’s beautiful landscape and proximity to the coast makes it a popular safari destination. Highlights include camel safaris and the world's largest lava flow
Tsavo National Park was established on 1st April, 1948 with an area of 21,812 Km2 It is the largest Park in Kenya. In May 1948 Tsavo National Park was divided into East and West for administrative purposes. The two Parks are divided by Nairobi–Mombasa railway /road.
- The Waliangulu and Kamba tribes used it as a hunting ground prior to gazettement.
- Dr. Krapf journeyed on foot through this area in 1848 crossing the Tsavo river on his way to Kitui – first European to see Mt. Kenya.
- Construction of the railway reached Tsavo river in 1898. During the construction of the bridge Lions (Man eaters of Tsavo) terrorized the workers, killing
- over 130 people before being killed by Col. Patterson.
- During the World War I (1914-1918) British forces built fortresses along Tsavo river to counter threats from invading German forces from Tanganyika (present Tanzania) – whose intention was to blow up the Tsavo river bridge that was vital to British Communication.
- Captain Lugards a European explorer passed through the area on his way to Uganda and had a drop over at the Lugards falls area.
Tsavo East is a very popular Park as is indicated by the high number of tourists. Some of the attractive scenic features include:
- large herds of elephants and other wildlife.
- it is easily accessible by road, air (light aircraft) and railway.
- the Park is a “catchments” for coast resorts’ visitors.
- popular legend of Tsavo “The Man-eaters of Tsavo”.
- Yatta plateau – It is about 290Km long and is one of the worlds longest lava flows.
- Lugards Falls on the Galana river – This is not a true falls but a series of rapids. Visitors can walk down to the river to view the rapids.
- Mudanda rock – This is a long rock outcrop that is about 1.6Km long. There is a dam at the base. Animals can be seen drinking. Visitors can walk along the rock and enjoy a cool breeze as well as view wildlife at the base.
- Aruba Dam - was built in 1952 across the Voi River. The dam attracts many animals and water birds can be seen at this dam.
- Tsavo/Athi rivers confluence – when the two rivers join they form the Galana river.Elephants, Rhinos, Hirola (Hunters Hartebeest).
How to get to Tsavo East National Park
From Nairobi via Voi through the Voi gate or Manyani gate.
Similarly, from Mombasa via Bachuma gate.
From Malindi, via Sala gate. This road was recently graded and is attracting many visitors from North Coast.
Note: The road network in the Northern area is being worked on at the moment. The road when completed will expand tourism activities in the area.
There are six airstrips in the southern part of the park and thirteen in the Northern part.
There are no scheduled flights to the Park but chartered light planes can be used.
The Park opens at 6.30 a.m. and closes at 6.30 p.m.
3. Public Campsites
Ndololo, Kandri, Main gate campsites. All these campsites have no facilities. Visitors bring their own camping gear.
Ongoing Tourist Activities
- Game viewing.
- Walking Safaris along the Galana.
- Bird watching.
Tourist guidance while in Tsavo
The weather in Tsavo is pleasant most of the year. There are two rain seasons. The long rains generally come in March – May and the short rains from October – December.
- It is forbidden to travel in an open vehicle while in the Park.
- Stay in your vehicle all the time. Get out only at designated areas.
- Off road driving is not allowed. View the wildlife from a distance with binoculars.
- Off road driving destroys vegetation, might kill wildlife and could interfere with the daily routine of animals. The tracks formed become an eyesore.
- Animals have a right of way. Do not harass them or make loud sounds – this might scare then and make them nervous. Patience pays!
- Remember not to litter.
- Remember: Do not take away anything, but photographs and leave nothing behind but footprints.