Tsavo is a region in Kenya located at the crossing of the Uganda Railway over the Tsavo River, close to where it meets the Athi River. It is derived from a Maasai word 'sabuk' which means river. The Maasai called the Tsavo River 'Engare Sabuk' meaning a big river. Until the British put an end to slave trade in the 19th century, Tsavo was continually crossed by caravans of Arab slavers and their captives. Many of the victims dropped dead by the way side and were eaten by lions. In this manner some lions at Tsavo acquired taste for human flesh. An interesting history it has. The park has a diversity of habitats and in this place real fun and adventure meets with natural phenomena head on.
Split into two parks covering the East and the West, the combined area of Tsavo National Park represents one of Africa's most vast tracts of wilderness and at a gargantuan of 2100 square kilometers is Kenya's biggest national park. Such a large area is inevitably characterized by huge contrasts in its topography, with soaring volcanic hills, open savannah plains, rolling grassgrassland and shrub land offering a vast and ragged area of exploration, but surprisingly this is not a place to come and search for the 'Big Five', nor savor the thrill of an active Kenya safari. It’s somewhere you can enjoy seeing wildlife in its most pure and unhurried and in relative solitude.
Sitting midway between Nairobi and Mombasa, the parks are dissected by the main road that connects these central hubs. To the north of the road lies Tsavo East and to the south, Tsavo West, and both have marked differences.
Welcome to Tsavo West, which covers 9000 square kilometers. It bears the scars of volcanic activity such as outcrops and lava flows of which Shaitana meaning 'devil' in swahili is the most significant. Despite being the smaller of the two parks, it is visited more and is most famous for its Mzima Springs; a network of four unfeasibly clear natural springs that take the Chyulu Hills as their source. Providing more of Kenya's water source, Mzima is also famous for underwater hippo observation as well as crocodiles and barbells. The Chaimu volcanic crater is another area of interest, particularly for birders who can witness eagle, buzzards, and falcons and it may be explored on foot through some excellent hiking trails. Wildlife you might encounter in the Tsavo West includes elephants, buffalo, lion, rhino, cheetah, leopard, giraffe, zebra and many more. You can never have enough of the West.
The sight of dust-red elephants wallowing, rolling and spraying each other with the midnight blue waters of palm-shaped Galana River is one of the most evocative dramas that happen in Tsavo East. This, along with the 300 kilometer long Yatta Plateau, the longest lava flow in the world, make for an adventure unlike any other in the Tsavo East. As the much quieter of the two parks, Tsavo East forms the largest protected area in Kenya and is home to the larger mammals.
You cannot miss vast herds of dust-red elephants, buffalo, lions, pods of hippo, crocodile, waterbucks, lesser kudu, gerenuk, and the prolific bird life which features 500 recorded species. It is a heaven for bird enthusiasts and a haven for different mammals. A beautiful scenery with a touch of wild nature, makes the park very unique. The park offers a sense of adventure because of its many animals, which are the center of attraction as they stage drama during hunting.
A feeling of undiscovery and wilderness is felt in the Tsavo East National Park as its vast open spaces are mesmerizing. The huge semi-arid wilderness is home to most safari animals, and although wildlife densities aren't that large, spotting animals is always possible here due to lack of foliage. Tsavo East offers miles of open plains, bushy grassland and semi-arid shrub. A scenic highlight is the Mudanda Rock, a towering, quarzite formation.
Tsavo is home to the Big Five. It is a stronghold for elephants. Tsavo East is also famous for its maneless lions. Conditions stay hot and dry during the year at Tsavo, with the exception of the park's attitude where it gets progressively cooler as you head up the hills. Tsavo East is cool for the youngstars and fun for the other older age groups.
Enjoy a unique setting of campsites which delivers the ultimate safari experience. Campsites in the Tsavo make the place a heaven for tourists. One can find affordable campsites which can be booked online. From Severin Safari Camp, one of the most expensive campsites in the park to Kitani Safari Lodge which is among the cheapest campsites in the park. Satao camp is a true oasis which attracts thousands of animals for their drink and bathing.
There are public camping sites like the Ndolo Campsite which is a nice basic camp which may be convenient for a low budget. Camping is only USD 25 per person and USD 7 to get a tent. Food and other essentials maybe an added cost. For an upgraded rooming and private safari experience it is around USD 750. Entrance fee in the Tsavo is USD 11 for non-residents adults and USD for non-residents children. For a trip to Tsavo from Nairobi, Tsavo Tour Operators, Trip advisors and Travelocity offer the best services as one can book a trip online, for the number of days you want. The prices of the tour generally ranges from USD 468 to USD 3496.
Get to experience a breathtaking sheer abundance of wildlife. Enjoy a game view from the open game viewing vehicles or watch heard of elephants bathe. From private dining to bus dinners, Tsavo remains the place which is a must visit. Tsavo national park is an amazing place to relax and spend time with the wildlife. East or west, Tsavo remains the best!