Are you looking for fun things to do in Kenya? How about you visit the Kenyan Coast—home to some of the world's best beaches. Better yet, how about combining a Kenyan beach holiday with a Kenyan safari? Yes, this is possible if you add one of the best safari parks in Africa—the Tsavo East National park to your itinerary.
The park is a biodiversity stronghold, teeming with wildlife and bird species. The scenery is vast, beautiful, and filled with great sites. You'll remember your trip for years to come.
Here's everything you need to know about this scenic Kenyan park. You'll see why this park made it to the popular Our Great National Parks, a Netflix documentary series presented by former president of the United States Barack Obama,
Tsavo East National Park is considered one of Africa's best safari parks. The park is located in southeastern Kenya in Taita-Taveta County. Named after the Tsavo River, which flows through the park.
Tsavo East is situated in an area formerly known as the Taru Desert. The park was opened in 1948 and covers 13,747 square kilometres making it one of the largest national parks in Africa.
Like other safari parks in Africa, Tsavo East has an incredible landscape. Most of the park is made up of semi-arid grassland and savannah. The land is generally flat and covered beautifully in red soil. Athi River converges with Tsavo River inside the park to form Galana River. The sometimes harsh beauty of the terrain, coupled with the open vastness of the park, will leave you feeling awestruck.
Tsavo East earned the nickname "Theatre of the Wild" thanks to the vast amount of diverse wildlife roaming the park. If you're looking for a big five safari adventure, you'll find it in Tsavo East National Park. All members of the big five African game animals, consisting of lions, cape buffalos, leopards, white and black rhinos, and elephants, can be found in the park. They're not all you will find in the park. During the safari, you will also see bushbabies, yellow baboons, dik-diks, zebras, gazelles, springhares, jackals, hyenas, and more.
Tsavo Conservancy covers about 100,000 hectares of land. It acts as a migration corridor to allow wildlife to travel freely throughout the greater Tsavo Conservation Area. The Tsavo Conservation Area comprises two parks—the Tsavo East National Park and the Tsavo West National Park.
Tsavo Conservancy is covered in acacia woodland, which acts as a habitat for elephants, giraffes, zebras, and many more. This makes it a tourist attraction within the Tsavo ecosystem.
The biggest attraction at Tsavo Conservancy has got to be the elephant. As Obama states, it's the land where Elephants are king, and everyone knows it. Kenya’s largest national park. Over 14,000 elephants roam the conservancy. If you're lucky, you might meet Luka, a 50-year-old super tusker and one of Kenya’s national treasures. You'll be mesmerized by Luka's tusks which weigh almost 50 kgs each. There are only 30 super tuskers remaining in Africa, and Tsavo is home to a third of them.
The Tsavo East national park entry fee is $60 for adults and $20 for children during the high season (July - February) and $35 for adults and $20 for children during the low season (March - June).
For tour planning assistance for Tsavo East National Park, Please Contact Us.
Top Attractions at Tsavo East National Park
1. The African wildlife
Wildlife is the top attraction of Tsavo East National Park, making it one of the best safari parks in Africa. The biodiversity is thrilling, from red dust-covered herds of elephants to the Tsavo lions whose males don't always have manes. You'll see rhinos roaming, giraffes feasting on tall trees, and leopards hunting food.
The African wild dogs, bat-eared foxes, gerenuks, spotted or striped hyenas, mongeese, servals, elephant shrews, squirrels, warthogs, zebras, otters, and more animals live inside the park. The park has over 500 bird species, including ostriches, lovebirds, kingfishers, secretary birds, buzzards, and kestrels. Bird watching is possible throughout the year.
2. The world's longest lava flow
Yatta Plateau is the world's longest lava flow at 290 kilometres. It sits in the northwestern part of Tsavo East above the Athi River. The lava comes from Ol Doinyo Sabuk Mountain. To say that Yatta Plateau has eye-catching scenery would be an understatement.
The plateau is characterised by broad plain valleys and shallow-spaced valleys. The landscape is covered by dense bushland, Baobab trees, seasonal pools, swamps and dams. The western part of the plateau has volcanic mountains, hills, and outcrops of rocks.
3. Mudanda rock
Mudanda Rock is another reason the park is considered one of the best safari parks in Africa. Mudanda is located in the southwestern shrubland of Tsavo East. It is a 1.6 km inselberg of stratified rock. The pinkish-red rock is between 570 and 4,550 million years old.
Thousands of years ago, the rock was used by hunter-gatherer people known as the Waliangulu to dry their meat. During the dry season, it's a water catchment area that attracts hundreds of animals. Mudanda Rock is an excellent vantage point for tourists to see wildlife and the rest of the park.
4. Lugard Falls
Lugard Falls is named after the European explorer Frederick Lugard who was the first European to see the waterfalls. The waterfall is a series of white water rapids on the Galana River due to rocks that block the river's flow. Water from the fall makes a loud sound as it falls into the pool below.
You'll find a habitat for crocodiles and hippos some distance from the falls. The beauty of the falls can be found in the multi-coloured rocks with strips of pink, grey and white. Lugard Falls makes for a spectacular sight for visitors.
Interesting Facts about Tsavo East National Park
Tsavo East has a sister park named Tsavo West National Park, and the two parks make up the Tsavo Conservation Area. The conservation area covers about 42,000 square kilometres making it the biggest conservancy in Kenya. It's world-renowned for its incredible wildlife, including the largest population of elephants in Kenya.
Founded in 1948, Tsavo East is one of the oldest national parks in Kenya. It is also the largest park in the country, with Tsavo West National Park coming in second.
Tsavo East is known for its lions, dubbed the man-eater lions. In 1898, two lions attacked workers building a railroad bridge over the Tsavo River. The lions were cunning, stalking their victims and outsmarting their hunters. Some estimates put the total number killed by the lions at 135 people. Yikes! The lions were killed and are now on display at the Field Museum of National History today.
Going on a Tsavo East National Park Safari
Before you embark on a journey to one of the best safari parks in Africa, there are a few things you need to know. First, what to pack in your suitcase. If packing is a hassle for you (I can relate!), don't worry. Below is a list of essentials you must bring when embarking on Kenya safari tours.
- Passport (must be valid for at least the next 6 months)
- Health and Travel Insurance
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Prescription Medication
- Check with your GP what medication you need while travelling
- Anti-malaria medication
- Antihistamine for allergies and insect bites
- Insect repellent
- 2/3 pair of neutral–coloured cotton trousers or chinos (no jeans, remember temperatures can hit 28°C)
- 2 pairs of shorts
For a complete list of what to bring, including the proper documentation and clothes, you can check out our complete Safari Packing Guide.
Secondly, the best time to visit Tsavo East National Park is during the dry months of June to October and January to February, as the wildlife is most visible then. If you're a hiker or a bird watcher, it's best to avoid the wet seasons because the rain makes the terrain difficult to navigate.
So there you go. We hope you won't stay in a hotel throughout your trip to the Kenyan Coast. Instead, you'll go on a once-in-a-lifetime Kenya safari tour to Tsavo East national park!
Talk to us today for a Tsavo East National Park tour from Mombasa, Watamu or Malindi.