Tsavo is one of the oldest and largest African safari parks in Kenya. It was established in 1948 and covers 11,747 km², although not the entire park is open to the public.
Some areas are designated as “remote animal wilderness” for the Kenyan animals, but there is still a massive area for visitors to tour around and enjoy viewing the Kenyan wildlife.
Key attractions include the Galana River and the Yatta plateau, as well as several pools and dams used as watering holes by both birds and animals.
What to see & do at Tsavo East National Park
The main purpose of a wildlife safari is to see Kenyan animals in their natural state. It never ceases to surprise people when they see birds perched near crocodiles, or gazelles grazing near big cats; however, the truth is that predators generally only kill to eat and, otherwise, the animals live together in harmony.
These are the most common Kenyan animals you may see during your visit to Tsavo East National Park: Cape buffalo, cheetahs, duikers, African elephants, gazelles, gerenuks, giraffes, hares, hartebeests, hyenas, impalas, leopards, lions, mongoose, black faced vervet monkeys, Sykes’s monkeys, crested porcupines, giant rats, black rhinoceros, squirrels, warthogs, water bucks, and zebras.
Lugard’s Falls is a series of rapids on the Galana River where crocodiles love to bathe.
Yatta Plateau is the world’s longest lava flow at 290km long.
Mudanda Rock is a 1.6km outcrop of rock, with a dam at its base. This is a popular drinking place for animals.
Aruba Dam also attracts animals and birds looking for a place to drink.
Walking safaris are offered by several guides along the Galana River.
Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary is saving the black rhino from extinction due to hunting by poachers.
Bird watching is best between October and January, with many migratory birds including: African skimmers, red and yellow bishops, goshawks, buffalo weavers and palm nut vultures, to name but a few.
Over 500 bird species have been recorded in the park, including ostriches, kestrels, buzzards, starlings, weaver birds, kingfishers, horn bills, secretary birds and herons.
Best time to visit Tsavo East National Park
January and February are good months to visit, as well as June to September. Avoid visiting between March and May as this is the heavy rainy season. There may also be some rain from October to December. Temperatures year round are 27-31°C (81-88°F) during the day and 22-24°C (72-75°F) at night.
For birdwatchers, the best months to see Kenya’s migratory birds are October to January. The best times to view wildlife are early and late in the day, as animals tend to sleep in the hot midday sun.
Accommodations – Safari lodges in and around Tsavo East
Since Tsavo East National Park is only 156km (97 miles) from Malindi and 173km (108 miles) from Mombasa, most people stay in the Mombasa beach resorts and hotels along the coast, visiting Tsavo East for a wildlife safari during the day and returning to their hotels in the evening.
For those wanting to stay overnight in the park, there are several accommodation options available. Moderately priced Kenyan lodges near the park include Voi Safari Lodge and Voi Wildlife Lodge. Both lodges are popular with travelers due to their close proximity to the Nairobi-Mombasa highway.
Tented camps: Galdessa Camp (8 rooms), Epiya Chapeyu Camp (11 rooms), Tsavo Safari Camp/Cottars (20 rooms), Satao Camp (10 rooms), and Sobo and Patterson Safari Camp.
Public campsites do not have any facilities, and you must provide all of your own camping gear. These include Ndololo, Kandri and Main Gate campsites.