Tsavo East National Park
Tsavo East National Park is one of the oldest and largest national parks in Kenya covering an area of 13,747 square kilometers. The park was established in 1948 April, nicknamed as the “Theatre of the wild” as it’s a home of red dusty Elephants that color themselves by rolling and spraying themselves with termite molds. Located in the Southern part of Kenya on the South-West of Kenya between two big cities of Kenya those are Nairobi and Mombasa. Tsavo East National park is not far from the iconic Coastal life of Kenya hence making it a great combination of guests enjoying both coastal or beach experience with wildlife. This one of the Other National Parks in Kenya where you will enjoy you Kenya Wildlife Safaris.
The park is found near Voi town in Taita-Taveta County the former province of the coast. Tsavo East National park is divided from the Tsavo West National park by the large road of A109 Road and the railway line that cuts across the two parks in the middle. The park was named after the main river that crosses the park flowing from West to East of the parks called Tsavo River. The national park is bordered by Chyulu Hills national park, Tsavo West national park and Mkomazi Game reserve of Tanzania.
The park has two main rivers those are Athi river and Tsavo River which are the source of water for the wildlife at the park. The two rivers at the later stage converge together to form one large river called Galana River. Tsavo East National park is covered by the Semi-arid open grassland that is characterised by open savannahs. The park has one of the oldest biodiversity in the world and this has attracted more diverse wildlife that includes all the African big 5 those are Black Rhinos, Buffalo, Leopards, Elephants, and Lions.
The national park is also a home of the great variety of rare bird species like a Black kite, crowned crane and others. The park is generally flat with dry plains that are cut by the network of the two rivers. The most important features are the Lugard falls and the longest plateau that is Yatta Plateau.
Tsavo East National park is among the few parks that have unique night game drives that give the guest to enjoy all the nocturnal wildlife. This adds the advantage of the double true African wildlife experience. The size of the park is large enough that it can give guests to enjoy for a long time more than one day yet in different sectors of the park. The park is an ideal tourist destination for the guests who like remixing the safari and beach tours. It’s a proper point for the private safaris who wish to be away from crowd areas like Masai Mara.
The park has a historical story about man-eating lions, this was during the construction of the Kenya Uganda railway line that cut across the park. The railway construction was a way back in the 1800s where the film entitled “The Ghost and the Darkness” was produced.
When to go to Tsavo East National Park
The park is open throughout the year though best visited during the dry months of the year those are from June to October and December to February. For birders, the best time is during the rainy season when the birds are nesting at the park. The park also receives migratory birds from different parts of the world that come for breeding and later return back to their respective destinations.
The park gates are open from 6:00 am in the morning till 19:00 pm in the evening. The time is East African standard time. Before 6 am the gates are closed and no guests are allowed to enter into the park and beyond 19 the park gates are closed and no more access to the park.
Getting to Tsavo East National park
One can access the park by air, road or Railway. It’s the only park that can be accessed by Railway as the railway line passes through the park. You only need to book your trip with a reputable tour operator that will guide you depending on your budget. One can start a trip from Nairobi and drive to the Park which takes 7 to 8 hours’ drive covering 233 kilometers to the Mtito Andei gate which is found in the South. This gate can be accessed through Nairobi Mombasa road, one can also enter the park through Sala Gate. Other gates that can be used to access Tsavo East National park are Voi gate, Buchuma Gate and Manyani gate. Alternatively, one can be picked from Mombasa which takes only 5 to 6 hours’ drive that covers a total of 330 kilometers.
Its also much easy to access the park using the daily departing flights from Wilson airport or at the coastal airport in Mombasa. There are many flights that land to different airstrips at the park-like Satao airstrip, Voi airstrip and many more.
Attractions in Tsavo East National park
There are several features that are found in Tsavo East National park that contribute a lot to the development of tourism in the park and Kenya as a country. The park lies on the world’s longest lava flow called the Yatta Plateau that attracts a diversity of wildlife and diverse vegetation at the park. The key attractions at Tsavo East National park include the following.
Yatta Plateau: The world’s longest lava flow is one of the key attractions found in Tsavo East National park that is found in the center of the park. The Yatta plateau runs across the park from the Western sector to the East. The plateau is 290 kilometers long that was formed when the lava from Mt Ol Doinyo Sabuk flowed across the park.
Mudanda Rock: This is an inselberg that is found at the park, its unique beauty adds the park more scenic views. It is also home of the big cats who come and relax or trap their prey at the rock. The major contribution of Mudanda Rock is that it’s a water catchment area that supplies the natural dam below the rock where most of the wildlife especially Elephants come and enjoy cooling themselves. This is one of the great viewing points of the park where hundreds of animals can be easily seen especially during the dry season of the year.
Aruba Dam: This is one of the oldest dams in Kenya built-in 1952along the Voi River. The dam attracts many waterbird species and animals.
Bird Species: The Tsavo East National park has over 500 bird species that have been recorded, these bird species are both permanent residents and migratory birds. The wide range of bird species include Ostriches, Buzzards, weaver birds, hornbills, secretary bird, herons, starlings, lovebirds among others.
Mammals: Tsavo East National park being of the largest parks in Kenya is home to permanent residents. The park has all the African big five those are Lions, leopards, Buffalo, Elephants, and Rare Black Rhinos. The park has hidden treasure with the undeveloped wilderness that homes a large number of mammals with the famous man-eater lions marking the historical event. The park has over 675 lions in Amboseli Tsavo ecosystem. Other game at Tsavo East National park include Warthogs, zebras, waterbuck, serval, rats, Mongoose, giraffes, duiker, eland, African hunting dogs, cheetahs, dik-dik, bushbaby, wildcat, foxes and many more.
Lugard Falls: Named after the first European explorers to reach this waterfalls Frederick Lugard at the Galana River. The guests can combine the visits the falls with nature walks at the same time.
Activities at Tsavo East National park
Full of unique attractions at the park has created good fertile ground for the best activities that guests can enjoy. Below are some of the activities one can enjoy the best true African wilderness experience.
Birding Safaris: The birders enjoy the best birding experience especially when well-planned and timed. The birding best time is during the rainy season from March to May and November. The Tsavo East National park has over 500 bird species. The migratory birds always come for breeding and later return back.
Game Viewing: With all the powerful scenic attractions found at the park, Tsavo East National park size gives an added advantage for wide range game viewing. Home of the big game including the African big 5 can be seen during the game drive. Game viewing can be done throughout the year with both day and night game drives allowed at the park. Red dusty elephants always take the greatest percentage of game viewing.
Nature walks: Visting the Karibu Dam and the waterfall called Lugard Falls with the lead of our trained and experienced guide. We will have the advantage of killing two birds using one stone that is having a scenic view of the falls, birding, and sightseeing.
In nutshell, Tsavo East National park remains one of the unique untapped wilderness in Kenya that gives the guest the secrete details of the African wilderness.