As Kenyans it’s surprising how little of the country we tend to know about, or haven’t seen even if we know about it. It becomes more and more the case that one who is a foreign tourist to our country will have seen more that our land has to offer than our own people!
We have been blessed with a gorgeous nation. It would be a shame to live a whole life and not take advantage of that.
The Tsavo ecosystem – comprising of Tsavo East and West National Parks, Chyulu Hills National Park and surrounding community ranches – is an expansive 43,000 square kilometres (16,602 square miles). At three per cent of Kenya’s land surface, it is one of the largest protected conservation areas in Africa, with the highest population of elephants in Kenya. A tourist haven, Tsavo is among Kenya’s top five destinations, the main water reservoir for the coastal area from Voi to Mombasa (Mzima Springs), and a bulwark of the country’s economy.
This park that forms the largest protected area in Kenya is home to most of the larger mammals, vast herds of dust –red elephant, Rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard, pods of hippo, crocodile, waterbucks, lesser Kudu, gerenuk and the prolific bird life features 500 recorded species.
Tsavo, is sliced in two; Tsavo West and Tsavo East. Together these parks comprise four percent of the country’s total area and encompass rivers, waterfalls, savannah, volcanic hills, a massive lava-rock plateau, and an impressive diversity of wildlife.
Midway between Nairobi and Mombasa, Tsavo East is famous for photo-worthy sightings of large elephant herds rolling and bathing in red dust. The palm-fringed Galana River twists through the park providing excellent game viewing and a lush counterpoint to the arid plains.
Elephant in Eden – Apparently elephants love to roll and play in the red dust in Tsavo. This has given them the name Red elephants. The sight of dust-red elephant wallowing, rolling and spraying each other in the midnight blue waters of palm-shaded Galana River is one of the most evocative images of Africa.
Aruba Dam – The beautiful Aruba dam located on the north bank of the seasonal Voi River, is visited by thousands of animals and a great game viewing destination
Mudanda Rock – This whale –backed Rock towers above a natural dam, which acts as a draw to thousands of Elephants.
Yatta Plateau– At 300 kilometres in length, the heat shimmering edge of Yatta plateau is the longest lava flow in the world and an ornithological paradise that attracts migrating birds from all over the world
Lugards Falls – Named after Captain Lugard, the first proconsul to East Africa, the falls feature bizarrely eroded rocks through which the waters of the Galana River plunge into foaming rapids and crocodile –infested pools
Tsavo West is wetter and topographically more varied with some of the most beautiful scenery in the northern reaches of the park. Highlights here are a series of natural springs with large populations of hippos and crocodiles, Chaimu Crater, a great spot for spotting birds of prey, and Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary. Wildlife is not as easy to see in Tsavo West because of the denser vegetation, but the beautiful scenery more than compensates.
• The spectacle Mzima Springs is the sight of fifty million gallons of crystal clear water gushing out of from the under parched lava rocks, forming the most welcoming and lovely scene in Africa. There is alot to see at the Mzima Springs including fish, crocodiles and Hippos.
Ancient lands of Lions, in 1898 the Uganda railway construction was abruptly halted by the two of the most voracious and insatiable man-eating lions appeared upon the scene, and for over nine month waged intermittent warfare against the railway and all those connected with it in the vicinity of Tsavo.
Lake Jipe, lies astride Kenya and Tanzania boarder and is teeming with aquatic life, Bird watching I also major activity around the lake.
First World War Site-East African Campaign, Perhaps the most bizarre campaign of the world war was fought in the “Bundu” (Bush) – the barely explored wilderness of thorny scrub and dense forest of Tsavo west. This last ‘gentleman war’ was waged under the code of honour-sometimes; or under guerrilla tactics adopted from African tribal fighters. The Guided tours of the Crater, Kichwa Tembo and Mzima fort will enable you trail the real footsteps of the world war veterans.
The entrance fee for citizens into the park is Ksh 600 only for adults and Ksh 250 for children. For residents it is Ksh 1200 for adults and Ksh 600 for children.
There are several options for accommodation from roughing out and camping in the savannah to beautiful, quaint lodges for a more serene holiday. Trip Advisor and KWS list more than a few places you can stay and Planetware.com gives more detailed information for one keenly interested on traveling Tsavo.
Shingai is an upcoming writer with a passion for words and expression through writing. She lived in Zimbabwe as a child and has traveled to over ten countries. She craves adventure and hopes to be an inspirational writer. She is currently pursuing a degree in English Literature with a minor in Psychology at Daystar University.