Tsavo west national park
Tsavo west national park is a popular national park in Kenya situated in the coastal province of Kenya , the park is part of the great Tsavo conservation area together with Tsavo East national park with just a railway and Mombasa – Nairobi A109 route dividing the two national parks. Tsavo west national park covers a large expanse of 9,065 square kilometers, the park is one of the popular tourist destinations in Kenya because of the magnificent scenery created by Mzima springs which is a great site for game viewing volcanoes, lava features and a huge population of birds.
Tsavo West national park was established in 1948 and it is under the governance of Kenya Wildlife services, as a remarkable national park and a safari destination for many tourists Tsavo west national park is land of numerous tourist attractions and these include
Tsavo west national park is a remarkable national park and a resident to a reasonable population of wildlife species, the park is famous for the man eaters and large size elephants. Tsavo West national park is the only place to spot red elephants and a few remaining individuals of hirola antelopes, animals found in Tsavo East national park include lion, elephants, cheetah, wild dogs, antelopes, buffalo, black rhinos, hippos, zebra, hyenas, lesser kudu, klipspringers, gerenuk, mongoose, nocturnal porcupine, fringe-eared Oryx, giraffe, crocodiles and many more living in the savannah ecosystem comprising of open grasslands, scrublands, riverine vegetation and acacia woodlands.
Tsavo West national park is a bird haven for birds and one of the recognized important birding Areas in Kenya, the park is a habitat to over 600 record bird species with migrant and resident birds which live in the series of vegetation species of the park. Birds found in Tsavo East national park include thrush nightingale, Taita falcon, Taita fiscal, Somali bunting, Somali Ostrich, Somali bee-eater, Rufous chatterer, river warbler, Shelley’s starling, slender-tailed nightjar, red billed parrot, red backed shrike, Narina trogon, marsh warbler, Northern brownbul, pangani long claw, lesser kestrel, common white throat, Basra reed warbler, African finfoot and many more. The Migratory bird species in Tsavo West national park are available in the period of November to April.
Mzima springs are a group of four groups situated in the western region of Tsavo East national park, the springs are natural reservoir of water to the park and a great site for wildlife seeing as it is a resident to a huge number of hippos and crocodiles. Mzima springs also referred to as Mzima pools are situated in a distance of 48 kilometers from Mtito Andei and it is surrounded by a thicket vegetation cover with fruit bearing trees, these trees attract vervet monkeys and a variety of birds which are also spotted.
Chaimu volcanic crater
Chaimu crater is a volcanic feature and a tall rising hill situated in Tsavo West national park, the volcano creates beautiful scenery as it features bright black color of lava stones. Chaimu Volcanic crater gets its name from a local Kamba tribe language which means the devil’s crater, the volcano is climbed while in Tsavo East national park which is an amazing experience.
Shetani lava flow
Shetani lava flow is a 4 kilometers lava flow believed to have been created 200 years ago by eruption process, this spectacular lava flow is apparently only remaining feature in existence where magma can be seen on earth’s surface. Shetani lava flow is adjust to Shetani caves and it runs for approximately 4 kilometers west of Chyulu gate and it features folded black lave that spreads for about 50 square kilometers crossing through savannah plains adjacent Chyulu hills.
The name Shetani is a Kiswahili word meaning devil, the lava flow was named so because the locals believed the devil himself emerged to earth through the lava flow.
Lake Jipe is a 30 square kilometers surface area inter-territorial lake lieing along the border of Kenya and Tanzania, in Kenya part of the lake lies in Tsavo west national park and it is a great site for bird watching and spotting water animals. The lake hosts many bird species such as storks, egrets, lesser jacana, African swamp hen, Madagascar squacco heron, black heron, African skimmers, Egyptian geese and many more which are easily spotted. Water animals spotted at the lake include hippopotamus, crocodiles and many other animals such as hartebeests, lesser kadu, elephants which come to drink water.
First World War site- East African campaign
Tsavo west national park is more than animals and birds as it hosts the First World War site – East African campaign, this site commemorates the most bizarre campaign of the world war which was fought in the bush (thorny scrub and dense forest of Tsavo west) the local people. This campaigned is referred to as the last gentleman war waged under the code of honor and sometimes the local fighter used guerilla tactics they adopted from African tribal fighters. This site is visited while on a guided nature walk safari experience.
SAFARI ACTIVITIES TO DO IN TSAVO WEST NATIONAL PARK
Tsavo west national park is a great tourist destination offering a range of adventurous and memorable safari activities, these safari activities include
Tsavo west national park is one of the national parks in Kenya best known for offering adventurous game drives, the park is a habitat to many wildlife species such as lion, elephants, cheetah, wild dogs, antelopes, buffalo, black rhinos, hippos, zebra, hyenas, lesser kudu, klipspringers, gerenuk, mongoose, nocturnal porcupine, fringe-eared Oryx, giraffe, crocodiles etc. The best sites to spot animals in Tsavo west national park is the savannah grasslands of the park, lake Jipe for water animals and Mzima springs for sights of crocodiles and hippos.
Tsavo west national park is an excellent bird watching site as it is a habitat to a huge population of bird species with over 600 bird species, bird watching experience is a chance for spotting many bird species such as thrush nightingale, Taita falcon, Taita fiscal, Somali bunting, Somali Ostrich, Somali bee-eater, Rufous chatterer, river warbler, Shelley’s starling, slender-tailed nightjar, red billed parrot, red backed shrike, Narina trogon, marsh warbler, Northern brownbul, pangani long claw, lesser kestrel, common white throat etc. The best site for spotting birds in the park is on the shores of Lake Jipe and the vegetation cover around Mzima springs.
Bird watching in Tsavo west national park is great throughout the year and resident bird species are easy to spot, for tourists interested in migratory bird species they are easily spotted in the period of November to April and the peak months are October and November.
Tsavo west national park is a perfect destination for volcano hiking experience, the park consists of Chaimu volcano with a crater lake on its summit which is reached during hiking. Hiking Chaimu crater takes approximately 15 minutes under the guidance of a tour guide.
Tsavo west national park is a scenic national park with beautiful landscape and physical features such as the Shetani lava flow, nature walks in the park is best experience to enjoy the park and it is done on foot with guidance of a safari guide. On your walk enjoy sights of many animals and visiting Shetani lava flow will make the experience more memorable and worth participating in.
WHERE TO STAY IN TSAVO WEST NATIONAL PARK
Tsavo west national park is a popular tourist destination receiving a high population of tourists per year and because the park has a variety of facilities offering accommodation to tourists while on their safari in the park, these accommodation facilities are in categorizes that is
KWS (Kenya Wildlife Services) self catering accommodation
- Kamboyo guest house
- Lake Jipe cottages
- Kamboyo campsite
- Chyulu campsite
- Lake Jipe campsite
- Simba campsite
- Royal Little campsite
- Kudu campsite
- Kenge campsite
- Palm tree campsite
- Professional campsite
Privately owned accommodation facilities
- Ngulia safari lodge
- Kilaguni safari Serena lodge
- Kitani Severin safari camp/lodge
- Finch Hatton’s Tented lodge
- Voyager Safari camp
HOW TO GET TO TSAVO WEST NATIONAL PARK
Tsavo west national park is situated in the southern eastern region of Kenya in a distance of 240 kilometers from Nairobi and 250 kilometers from Mombasa and it is accessed using gates such as Tsavo, Lake Jipe, Mtito Andei, Chyulu, Maktau and Ziwani. The park is easily from most prominent towns of Kenya that is Mombasa and Nairobi using both road and air transport, there is well maintained routes used by both public and private vehicles to connect Nairobi and Mombasa to Tsavo west national park.
By air transport domestic flights are offered from Wilson airport in Nairobi to numerous airstrips serving the park and these include Kamboyo, Kilaguni, Tsavo, Jipe, Kasigau, Finch Hottons, Ziwani and Maktau airstrips.