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Tsavo West National Park

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Sitting on 7065 square km, the once Tsavo National Park combined with the East boasts of the best terrain compared to its sister Tsavo East, ranging from 200 to 1000m above sea level.


Evidence of volcanic activity can be seen everywhere in the park. Rainfall is easily absorbed in the lava flows, streaming underground from the Chyulu for a stretch of about 40km to form the magical Mzima Springs located north of the park. The springs are replenished with 220 million litres of crystal clear fresh water everyday which provide a source of drinking water for the animals in the park. An underwater viewing chamber by a pier, provides a better view of the gliding crocodile and offers a better view to the swimming-walking style of the hippo.


Named after the Swahili word for devil or malevolent ghost, it is the largest of all the lava flows in the park. It boasts a series of lava caves below the surface which were in earlier times notorious for trapping prey animals that had tripped in search of water and in turn trapping their predators that had followed them. Nowadays, the presence of visitors touring the caves have spooked the wild animals. Bones of the animals can still be seen on the floor of the caves.


Chaimu crater, a recent volcano cone, has a nature trail with a 30 minute hike to the summit best trailed in the morning, as later in the day the track gets unbearable due to the scorching sun rays on the earth.


On the edge of the park to the east bank of the Tsavo River is the Ziwani swamp.


The black rhino population in the park is protected and fenced on 70 square km property, the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary. Elephants busk and enjoy themselves in the water holes near some lodges and camps around the park attracting other wildlife such as the impala and antelopes that hang around to the safety of the floodlights.

Tsavo West is home to the largest and only population of red-skinned elephants in the world. The elephants’ colour is pretty much the same as other elephants just that they appear red due to constant dust bathing on the park’s fine red volcanic soil.

Other wildlife include; African lions, cheetahs, hippos, cape buffalos, maasai giraffe and crocodiles. Smaller animals include; bush baby, hartebeest, lesser kudu, mongoose, hyrax, dik-dik, nocturnal porcupine, that can be spotted in the dark.

Tsavo west animals unlike those in other national parks and reserves in the rest of the country are not as accustomed to vehicles thus chances for fully-open vehicle game drives are non-existent.


Lake Jipe, located on the southwest corner of the park, is rich in birdlife including; pied kingfisher, palm nut vultures, black herons and African skimmers, purple gallinule, pygmy goose and the lesser jacana.


This can be arranged at the rising Ngulia hill based on the weather conditions.


The renown tagline is derived from the gruesome story of the two lions that hunted, terrorized and killed 140 labourers in 1898 railway construction. They were eventually shot and killed by the then supervisor of the railway line construction, Lt. Colonel Patterson.

This line is the current landmark splitting Tsavo West from Tsavo East National Parks. It was named ‘the lunatic line’ after skeptics during the end of the 19th century laughed at the idea of stretching the line from Mombasa through the Great Rift Valley to Uganda following earlier setbacks including the chilling killings by the man eaters.

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