Tsavo East & West National Parks


Tsavo East & West National Parks 

Tsavo West covers an area of 8,500 sq km and Tsavo East which covers an area of 11,000 sq km. Both sections of the park contain a variety of habitats, geologic/soil types, animals, birds, and plants. The northern area of Tsavo West is the most developed and has some beautiful scenery. Tsavo East features vast rolling plains with scrubby vegetation and is much less visited. The general public is prohibited north of the Galana River in an effort to protect the area from a poachers. This protected area constitutes the majority of the overall park area and the efforts seem to be working as elephant and rhino populations are slowly increasing. Four wheel drive is a necessity in both sections of the park.

  

Tsavo East comprises the southern, more accessible section of the park. Tsavo was home to the largest herds of elephants only 20 years ago. Up to 20,000 elephants roamed the lands which quickly led to a degradation of Tsvao's capacity to support such numbers. The landscape surrounding Tsavo East was fundamentally changed from a forested savannah into deserts and plains as the great animals foraged for food. With the vegetation depleted, drought followed and many of the great herds died off. Poachers have decimated the survivors, although the Kenyan government has made a concerted effort to prosecute the killers. This region of the park also includes the Kanderi Swamp and the Aruba Dam, a man-made dam on the Voi River. Both areas attract an abundance of wildlife without the usual horde of tourists. Although Tsavo East features some dramatic settings, it is generally less traveled than the other southern parks.

 

The watering holes near Kilaguni and Ngulia Lodges attract the most abundant wildlife in the area. When water is scarce during the dry season, Kilaguni is an especially active animal sanctuary. The Shetani Lava Flow, a massive 50 sq km lava bed, is located in close proximity to the Kilaguni Lodge. The name means "devil" in Swahili and the barren expanse of black rock was formed by an eruption in the nearby Chyulu Hills. There are also caves near the lava flow that can be explored with the right gear.. Also in the area is the Chaimu Crater which features extensive walking and climbing trails.

  

One of the most spectacular sights in Tsavo West may be the Mzima Springs. The underground river that feeds the springs is part of the Kilimanjaro water system. This powerful freshwater source pumps 282,000 liters per minute (50 million gallons a day) into a pool and stream of crocs and hippos. The springs are also the primary source of Mombasa's freshwater supply and there is a direct pipeline from here to the coast. Since 1969, and underwater viewing tank allows visitors to watch animals as they swim by.