Tsavo Conservation Area, a Vast Kenyan Wilderness
Sprawling over 10,000 square miles in southern Kenya, Tsavo Conservation Area accounts for half the nation’s protected lands. It includes the neighboring Tsavo East and Tsavo West national parks, Chyulu Hills National Park, and South Kitui National Reserve.
Tsavo Conservation Area is home to all of the Big 5, including 40 percent of Kenya’s elephants and about one-fifth of its black rhinos. Here, you can also see the rare Grevy’s zebra and Masai giraffe, as well as the hirola antelope with its lyre-shaped horns.
Game drives are the most popular way to view wildlife in the Tsavo Conservation Area, but more intimate experiences are also possible. Feel the soft breeze against your face and enjoy the scents of equatorial plants on a guided nature walk or even a camel safari.
For heartpounding thrills, try whitewater rafting on Tsavo’s Athi River.
Tsavo is a photographer’s paradise. Those looking to get the best wildlife shots may want to stay at a lodge with a photographic hide, such as Ol Donyo in the Chyulu Hills or Lion’s Bluff in Lumo Wildlife Conservancy between Tsavo East and Tsavo West.
A bull elephant stands in Tsavo East. Photo by AP.
Tsavo East National Park
Near Kenya’s coast, Tsavo East is one of Kenya’s oldest and largest national parks. Photographers flock to Tsavo East for its fabulous light and unbelievable views, especially of Mudanda Rock and the Yatta Plateau, made of 160+ miles of hardened lava. Lugard Falls, a series of whitewater rapids on the Galana River, is remarkable for the intricate, flowing shapes of its water-worn rocks.
The animal life is even more outstanding. Watch elephants bathe by using their trunks to blow vivid red dust over their bodies. Other animals at Tsavo East include rhinos, lions, leopards, crocodiles, waterbucks, kudus, Grevy’s zebras, and long-necked gerenuk antelopes. This diversity is enabled by an alternating landscape of savanna, semi-arid acacia scrub, woodlands, and lush green riverbanks.
Tsavo East boasts more than 500 bird species, including ostriches and migratory kestrels and buzzards.
Night view of Tsavo West National Park by Vishva Patel.
Tsavo West National Park
Tsavo West is an excellent park for visitors who enjoy walking. It offers nature trails, cave hikes, and the opportunity to explore the Chaimu Volcanic Crater. Boardwalks at Mzima Springs provide plenty of spots for watching bathing hippos. The scenery here is incredibly varied, ranging from mountains to river forests, plains, lakes, and wooded grasslands.
Animals of Tsavo West include leopards, cheetahs, buffalos, rhinos, elephants, giraffes, plains zebras, lions, crocodiles, and small mammals such as mongooses, hyraxes, tiny dik-dik antelopes, and porcupines.
Tsavo Conservation Area is a great place to see Masai giraffes, a type of giraffe noted for pretty spots that have blotchy edges. Photo by Damian Patkowski.
Visit Tsavo Conservation Area
Tsavo Conservation Area is enormous, with many options for where to stay and what to do. Need help planning your trip? That’s what Ujuzi African Travel is for. We help people like you plan safaris for themselves, their families, and groups of friends and colleagues. We’ll talk with you about what you want to see on safari and the types of places you’d like to stay, then make suggestions tailored to your tastes.