Tsavo West National Park is a park located in the Coast Province of Kenya with the A109 Nairobi-Mombasa road and a railway dividing it from the adjoining Tsavo East National Park and together with the neighbouring ranches and protected areas, they comprise the Tsavo Conservation Area. The Park covers an area of 9,065 km².
Tsavo West is one of Kenya’s larger National Parks, spreading over a huge range of topographies from dry hilly areas, rocky outcrops, swamps, rolling plains, Shetani lava flows and natural Mzima Springs gushing from underneath a dried lava rock, to extinct volcanic cones. The savannah area of the Park is made up of sweeping grasslands, Acacia woodlands, scrublands, stretches of riverine flora and rocky ridges.
Tsavo West National Park offers some of the most outstanding wildlife viewing and its attractions include the Cape Buffalo, the Eastern Black Rhinoceros, the Lion, the Hippopotamus, the Elephant, the Cheetah, Leopard, the Masaai Giraffe, the Zebra, the Wild Dog, the Bushbaby, the Hartebeest, the Lesser Kudu, the Mongooe, the Hyrax, Dik-dik, nocturnal Porcupine and more. The waters also hold the Crocodile.
The Park is home to an abundant bird life which features 600 species including the endangered Corncrake and almost endangered Basra Reed Warbler.
Tsavo West National Park is accessible by road and air. By road, one could use their own vehicle, get onto public transport or order a tour minibus tour with a tour guide. From Nairobi, the trip is 240 km long and goes via Mtito Andei Gate, from Mombasa, it is 250 km long and goes via Tsavo Gate near Manyani. The Park can also be accessed via the Taveta – Voi road through the Maktau, Ziwani and Jipe Gates.
By air, visitors have access to chartered light aircrafts that may land at either Finch Hottons, Kamboyo, Kasigau, Kilaguni, Jipe, Maktau Tsavo Gate, or Ziwani airstrips.
There is a wide variety of accommodation options for visitors to the Tsavo West National Park. One of these is the Severin Safari Camp offering 27 tents, junior suites and suites that present a stunning view of the bush landscape and water holes. The tents, junior suites and suites are furnished with traditional African-style wooden furniture with the warm colours creating a welcoming, personal ambience.
Another option is the tranquil Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge enclosed by Mount Kilimanjaro and the undulating Chyulu Hills. On offer is the magnificent Kilaguni Suite with stunning views over the water hole and the Chyulu Hills, a lantern-lit bush dinner in the grove of Acacia trees located immediately adjacent to the Lodge, a central dining room and rock-built bar overlooking the water hole, a garden swimming pool and sundeck, a gift shop and a business centre as well as three game drives daily with dedicated wilderness guides.
Visitors can also choose the secluded Lions Bluff Lodge built suspended upon an ancient elephant migratory passage, with striking views stretching across the Lumo Community Sanctuary and the Tsavo eco-system to the grand Mt Kilimanjaro. The Lodge offers three types of rooms, eleven of these constructed from the hill on wooded stilts with wooden floors, hessian walls and coconut-palm thatching whilst one is constructed in a similar way but with cement walls. On offer is a bar and restaurant, a small shop with necessary toiletries and local handicrafts
Other options include the self catering Kamboyo Guest House and Lake Jipe Cottages, campsites including Kamboyo, Lake Jipe, Chyulu, Royal Little, Simba, Kenge, Kudu, Professional and Palm Tree Campsites as well as privately-owned campsites and lodges including Ngulia Safari Lodge, Finch Hatton’s Tented Lodge and Voyager Safari Camp.
Best Time to Visit
For keen game watchers, the best time to visit Tsavo West National Park is during the dry season from August to September where the vegetation is thinner and the grass is shorter, making game spotting easier. During the period from May to June, just after the rains, the grass is high and game spotting is harder except for elephants and giraffes. However, this is also a good time to visit the Park as vegetation is lush and the scenery is beautiful. This is also a low season and the safaris are cheaper.
Weather and Climate
The temperature in the Park is fairly uniform throughout the year. However, rainfall varies. Daytime temperatures range from 27 to 31°C whilst night time temperatures vary from 22 to 24°C. March to May are the long rain season months where rainfall is heavy whilst October to December is the short rain season where the weather is good enough to go on safari. From December to April, humidity is high in Tsavo East.
Other Safety Considerations
Inoculation against yellow fever and cholera as well as against Hepatitis, Typhoid and Tetanus is a pre-requisite when visiting Kenya. Visitors to Tsavo are also reminded to take the necessary precautionary measures against Malaria. These include use of mosquito repellent sprays, sleeping under treated nets, covering bare skin at dusk and taking malaria prophylactics.