TSAVO EAST NATIONAL PARK
It is part of Tsavo National Park Kenya’s largest covering at 13,747 square kilometers and oldest national park which was established in 1948. The park derives its name from the Tsavo River, which flows west to east through the national park, it borders the Chyulu Hills National Park and the Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania. Tsavo National park was divided into east and west sections by the A109 road and the railway line from Mombasa to Nairobi.
Tsavo East National park is perched in the eastern part of Kenya a semi-arid area previously known as the Taru Desert near the town of Voi in the Taita-Taveta County of the former Coast Province.
The park’s average temperature fluctuates between 31°C/88°F during the day and 20°C/68°F at nighttime. Rainfall peaks in April and November during the long and short rains, respectively. Rain tends to fall as short heavy showers. Most of the park consists of semi-arid grasslands and savanna. Halfway between Nairobi and the coast, this is a beautiful, wild and hot place that retains a lot of its original splendor. The slightly larger Tsavo East is generally flat, with dry plains across which the Galana River flows.
After Kenya attaining its independence in 1963, hunting was banned in the park, the current Kenya Wildlife Service took over the management of Tsavo. The park attracts photo-tourists from all over the world interested in experiencing the vastness of the wilderness and incredible terrain. It is also considered one of the world’s biodiversity strongholds, and its popularity is mostly due to the vast amounts of diverse wildlife that can be seen. It is historically known as a home to Man-Eating Lions which attacked and killed the Indian Coolies during the construction of the East African Railway.
The best time of the year to spot wildlife is during the arid months from June to September. The lack of verdant vegetation during this season makes spotting animals easier, and the waterholes become popular meeting points for mammals.
ATTRACTIONS WITHIN TSAVO EAST NATIONAL PARK.
Tsavo East wilderness is home to many animals, it boasts about a high population of lions whose adult males often lack manes entirely. The famous ‘big five’ consisting of the lion, black rhino, Cape buffalo, elephant, and leopard. Other animal species include the aardwolf, yellow baboon, bat, bush baby, bushbuck, African hare, springhare, Coke’s hartebeest, East African hedgehog, spotted hyena, striped hyena, rock hyrax, tree hyrax, impala, black-backed jackal, side-striped jackal, klipspringer, lesser kudu, banded mongoose, dwarf mongoose, Egyptian mongoose, marsh mongoose, slender mongoose, white-tailed mongoose, vervet monkey, Sykes’ monkey, fringe-eared oryx, clawless otter, ground pangolin, crested porcupine caracal, African wildcat, cheetah, civet, dik-dik, African hunting dog, African dormouse, blue duiker, bush duiker, red duiker, eland, African bush elephant, bat-eared fox, greater galago, gazelle, large-spotted genet, small-spotted genet, gerenuk, giraffe, cane rat, giant rat, naked mole-rat, ratel, bohor reedbuck, black rhinoceros, serval, spectacled elephant shrew, bush squirrel, East African red squirrel, striped ground squirrel, unstriped ground squirrel, suni, warthog, waterbuck, plains zebra, and Grevy’s zebra.
There is no doubt Tsavo East is also a birders’ haven with over 500 bird species have been recorded in the area, including ostriches, kestrels, buzzards, starlings, weaver birds, the black kite, crowned crane, lovebird, and the sacred ibis. Kingfishers, hornbills, secretary birds, herons. Black-headed Lapwing, Eastern chanting goshawk, Red-winged lark, Rosy-patched bush shrike, vulturine guinea fowl.
The park has 3 rivers: River Tsavo is located in the Coast Province in Kenya. It runs east from the western end of the Tsavo West National Park of Kenya, near the border of Tanzania, until it joins with the Athi River, forming the Galana River near the center of the park. The river flows on the flat surface with dry plains.
It is a dominating feature in the eastern Tsavo renowned for its huge expanse of the flat thorn bush. This plateau is the world’s longest lava flowed formed from the neighboring Ol Doinyo Sabuk Mountain. Running along the western boundary of the Tsavo East National Park above the Athi River. This fascinating geological feature always held an air of mystery.
The falls are one of the prettiest stretches with a series of a white water rapid along the Galana River. The River is carved and sculpted its way through, leaving some beautiful smooth rocks where the water flows to form the falls. Varieties of wildlife can be seen below the falls such as crocodiles, hippopotamus, and buffalos.
Aruba Dam was constructed in 1952 across the Voi River. Situated approximately 30km east of Voi gate. The dam also attracts vast wildlife; pride of lions is usually spotted, cheetahs and the water birds.
It is an ancient rock composed of weathered Precambrian basement rocks, aged 570-4,550 million years old. The Mudanda Rock is a 1.6 km inselberg that acts as a water catchment that supplies a natural dam below. It attracts elephants, Leopards which come to drink water during the dry season.
It is a wetland in Tsavo east national park found near Voi Gate and is fed by the waters of Voi river. The lovely area is home to a pride of lions, elephants, impala, and antelopes, as well as yellow baboons, also congregate near here during the dry months to provide drinking water areas in Tsavo.
ACTIVITIES DONE IN TSAVO EAST NATIONAL PARK
This activity takes you close to the wildlife-rich spots in the park. A drive through this true wilderness gives you an opportunity to view wild animals in their natural habitat as they go about their daily activities. Game drives are done during the day or night time. You will have an opportunity to see majestic and intelligent elephants. King of the animal kingdom, the lion, Cheeky and playful monkeys, Gazelles and impalas with their powerful horns. Elegant, peaceful and protective zebras. Big-hearted giraffes munching away. As we were driving deeper into the park, we encountered wild boar sand ostriches. The spiral-horned lesser kudus, the long-necked gerenuks, and the tiny and skittish dik-diks spotted a cheetah under the bone-dry tree, leopards.
Tsavo East National park has an impressive checklist of over 500 bird species. This activity can be done throughout the year, a lot of unusual dry country specials are residents, making it easier to spot. These include the magnificent Golden-breasted starling, African finfoot, Black-faced sand grouse, Fischer’s starling, Golden-breasted starling, Lesser kestrel, Martial eagle, Northern brown bull, Pangani longclaw, Red-bellied Parrot, Rufous chatterer, Shelley’s starling, Slender-tailed nightjar, Somali bee-eater Somali ostrich, golden pipit and vulturine guinea fowl. The park’s huge area is a significant wintering ground for migrant species from Europe. Migrant birds are present from November to April.
GUIDED WALKING SAFARI
It is a guided walking between the wonderful landscapes and the plentiful wildlife, you will feel as though you have stepped onto another planet as you explore Tsavo National Park on foot. The guide will take you through these dry grasslands while explaining how the animals, plants, and birds thrive in this challenging environment. You can also walk on the world’s longest lava flow at the Yatta Plateau, hike the volcanic cones and marvel at the crystal clear waters of the Mzima Springs, which emanate from beneath the Chyulu Hills.
By road: The park can be accessed through Manyani Gate, Voi Gate, Buchuma Gate, and Sala Gate. It is 65 miles from Mombasa – Nairobi using (A109) Buchuma Gate. 180miles from Nairobi using Manyani Gate. 66 miles from Malindi through Buchuma Gate
By air: Chartered aircraft can land at any of the park’s multiple airstrips. These include Vio, Aruba, Satao, Sala, Ithumba, Sangayaya, Mopeo, Bachuma and Cattar.
The park has a wide range of accommodation facilities in and outside the park with qualified personnel who provide quality service, the premises are built in an attractive way to give you the feel of nature with comfortable rooms and delicious local and international meals. They are classified into luxury, moderate and budget facilities to help suit in everyone’s pocket. Some of the facilities include Voi wildlife Lodge, Ashnil Aruba Lodge, Nguntuni Lodge, Sentrim Tsavo east Camp, Galana Crocodile camp and Epita Chapeyu tented safari Camp.