Tsavo East National Park
Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks together make up the biggest national park in Kenya at just under 22 000 sq km. In May 1948, a month after the park’s conception, Tsavo National Park was divided into east and west for administrative purposes. Named after the Tsavo River which flows from west to east, the park is considered one of the world’s biodiversity strongholds.
Tsavo East is the only Kenyan park that permits night drives. It is a vast park and guests will often have to be patient during game viewing activities, but the reward is great. The experienced safari guides are familiar with the game movements and season migration paths and times of Tsavo’s wildlife. Some of Tsavo East’s popular attractions are Mudanda Rock, Yatta Plateau and Lugard Falls.
Galana River: Running through the heart of the park and marking the northernmost point in the park that most visitors are allowed to visit, the Galana River, which combines the waters of the Tsavo and Athi Rivers, cuts a green gash across the dusty plains. Surprisingly few visitors make it even this far and sightings of crocs, hippos, lesser kudus, waterbucks, dik-diks and, to a lesser extent, lions and leopards are relatively common. Watch out also for the distinctive Somali ostrich.
Kanderi Swamp: Around 10km from Voi Gate, the lovely area of green known as Kanderi Swamp is home to a resident pride of lions, and elephants also congregate near here; this is one of only two water sources in the park during the dry season. The landscape here has a lovely backdrop of distant hills. A number of vehicle tracks also follow the contours of the Voi River; keep an eye on the overhanging branches for leopards.
Wildlife: Tsavo East has a good range of unusual antelope. This is one of the few places to see the fringed-eared oryx. The lesser kudu is very shy, but can sometimes be seen darting off into the bushes. The long-necked gerenuk can be found standing on its hind-legs to reach the sparse foliage of trees and bushes in the arid environment. With some luck, you might spot the critically endangered hirola or Hunter’s hartebeest.
Getting there: Tsavo East is in southeast Kenya, 325km/201mi from Nairobi and 250km/ 155mi from Mombasa. You can drive to the reserve from Nairobi, Mombasa or another park depending on your itinerary. There are no scheduled flights to Tsavo East, but there are several airstrips available for chartered flights. The distance from Lake Nakuru NP is 450km/280mi and the driving time is about seven and a half hours.
There are no scheduled flights to Tsavo East, but there are several airstrips available for chartered flights.
Where To Stay: Satao Camp is nestled within a stand of tamarind trees, and the camp structures are strategically arranged in a semi-circle around a watering hole. Gazelles, elephants, zebras, baboons, impalas and many other animals come to the water each day and wander the unfenced property in search of food. Lions have been seen too many times at the waterhole.
The camp features sixteen standard tents and four suites, giving every guest a perfectly comfortable East African bush vacation “home away from home”. If you prefer to stay in a Tier 2 brick and mortar accommodation, the alternate Ashnil Aruba Lodge next to the Aruba Dam on the Voi River is a fitting option but expect double the number of guests when compared to Satao Camp.