national park
Africa > East Africa > Kenya > Southern Rift Valley > Tsavo West National Park

Tsavo West National Park is in the Southern Rift Valley of Kenya. Tsavo West hosts fewer visitors than its slightly larger brother, Tsavo East National Park, because its hilly landscape and thicker vegetation makes animals harder to see. Don't count Tsavo West out, however – it is considered the better looking of the two.

Understand edit

Tsavo West has the looks

The best time to see wildlife in Tsavo East is from August through September, when the vegetation is thinner and the viewing distances longer.

History edit

Tsavo was the hunting ground of the infamous Tsavo Man-Easters, two lions that were responsible for the deaths of many construction workers on the Kenya-Uganda Railway during 1898. (This saga was dramatised in the 1997 Hollywood film The Ghost and the Darkness.) The national park was established on 1 April 1948 with an area of 21,812 km2 (8,422 sq mi). It was the largest park in Kenya for just a month, as the park was then divided in two in order to ease its administration. The dividing line for the parks is today's Nairobi–Mombassa railroad.

Landscape edit

Tsavo River

Tsavo West has an arid, hilly landscape, dotted with volcanic cones, dark lava flows and a number of rocky outcrops. It is bisected the the park's namesake, the Tsavo River.

Flora and fauna edit

The park host leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, buffaloes, rhinos, elephants, giraffes, zebras, lions, crocodiles, mongooses, hyraxes, dik-diks, lesser kudus and nocturnal porcupines, among others. Over 600 different bird species have been spotted in the park.

Climate edit

Generally the temperature ranges from 27–31 °C (81–88 °F) during the day and 22–24 °C (72–75 °F) during the night, year round. Humidity is high from December to April. There are two rainy seasons at Tsavo West: a long one from March to May, and a short one from October to December. You probably want to skip the long rainy season, while the short rainy season is quite tolerable with just afternoon showers.

Get in edit

Fees and permits edit

For non-residents, the entrance fee is US$60.

Get around edit

See edit

  • Mzima Springs – A series of four natural springs

Do edit

Below Kitchwa Tembo cliffs at dawn
  • Rock climbing – The most impressive site is the Kitchwa Tembo cliffs

Buy edit

Eat edit

Your safari operator should, in most cases, provide catered food. Otherwise there is food at the lodges.

Drink edit

In the lodges the prices for soft drinks are about Ksh 150ksh, while beer is roughly Ksh 350 and wine Ksh 400. Water is free in most camps. Prices for drinks in the safari vehicles should be about the same.

Sleep edit

Lodging edit

Most accommodations are set near watering holes where game can be sighted.

Camping edit

Backcountry edit

Stay safe edit

Go next edit

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