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Tsavo West National Park

The park is only 156km from Malindi and 173km from Mombasa so most people stay in the beach resorts along the coast as they visit Tsavo East National park for a wild Safari during the day and return to their hotels in the evening.

Tsavo West and Tsavo East National Parks was once a single park, but are now separated. Tsavo West National Park is situated west of its sister Tsavo East National Park and is approximately 188km west of Mombasa in South East Kenya. The park covers an area of 7065km² but the terrain is much more varied than that of Tsavo East National Park. It ranges from 200-1000m in altitude. The northern sector is bush land with scattered native baobab trees..

Tsavo West stretches from the northeastern Athi River to the southwestern Tanzania border. With rocky outcrops in its northern parts, most of the park is a vast tangled bush land savannah, laced with volcanic ridges and lava beds. With its hills reaching 1,800 metres high, the Ngulia range offers dramatic vistas, while Chyulu Hills, adjacent to Tsavo West, feed the remarkable Mzima Springs where thousands of gallons of crystal-clear freshwater gushes into palm fringed pools, filled with hippos and crocodiles.

Ancient and recent volcanic activity is evident within and around the park. Visit Devils Lava Flow formed a few hundred years ago when a fiery molten fury spewed from the earth or climb to Chaimu Crater and stop by the eerie “Roaring Rocks”, named after the buzz of the cicadas that inhabit them and the howl of the wind as it rushes past the sheer face of the scarp. Enormous herds of red elephants, hippos, crocodiles, plus various herds of savannah animals, birds and flora are found here.

The Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary protects Tsavo’s growing population of endangered black rhino, successfully inching their way back from the brink of extinction caused by rampant poaching in the 1960’s. Beautiful Lake Jipe, straddling the Kenya/Tanzania border, offers memorable experiences of abundant aquatic and bird life viewing.

The park is home to all the “Big Five” including elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards and rhinos, at Mzima Springs there are Nile crocodile and hippos. Herds of giraffe, gerenuk, Oryx, zebra and impala are also found here, plus hartebeest, lesser kudu, eland, water buck, Stein buck, Kirk’s Dik Dik and king Springer, yellow baboons and vervet monkeys are a must see as they dance boisterously around acacia trees. The best time to visit is January to February as well as June to September. For the bird watchers, you can catch the migratory birds around October and January.

Access

By road, enter through Mtito Andei Gate 272km from Nairobi or use the Chyulu Gate 52km from Amboseli, another option is the Tsavo Gate near Manyani or the Mtito Andei Gate 188km from Mombasa. The other entrances are at Maktau, Ziwani and Jipe. By Air, there are various Airstrips for Chartered Aircrafts at Chyulu, Mito Andei, Kasigau, Tsavo, Jipe, Maktau and Ziwani gates.

Accommodation

There are various lodges, Hotels and campsites in Tsavo west National park catering for everyone from budget to luxury visitors.

Lodges and Guest houses: Kilaguni lodge, Ngulia safari lodge, Finch Hutton’s Tented Camp, Kitani Safari lodge and Voyager Safari camp a popular honeymoon destination in Kenya due to its spectacular view of mount Kilimamjaro and high level of privacy. Others are kilaguni Serena lodge, Severin Safari Camp, Ngulia lodge and Tsavo West information Visitor center.

Campsites

There are 3 public campsite including Kamboya Campsite (8 kms from Mtito Andei gate), Chyulu Campsite (1 km from Chyulu gate) and Lake Jipe Campsite (on the lakeshore). Others are the Royal Little, Simba, Kenge and Kudud Camps.

Tented Camps;

Sweetwater’s Tented Camp; Located in the heart of privately owned 22,000 acres of Sweetwater’s Game Reserve, the luxury Sweetwater’s Tented Camp is a collection of 39 tents set on a 90,000-acre private reserve; the lodge has the largest rhino-breeding colony in East Africa. Sweetwater’s is the name adopted by the local people of this area for the fresh, sweet, water tapped from the ground.

Abounding with wildlife, and unfettered by the more inflexible structures of the Kenyan National Parks and designed to offer a charming mix of under canvas ambiance and uncompromised luxury, it has long been the preferred retreat of wilderness and safari goers alike. The chimp sanctuary is the only one of its kind in Kenya. Visitors can enjoy the unique opportunity of observing the chimps by boat on the Uwasi Nyiro River. The riverine forest and the savannah grassland of the sanctuary are home to 26-orphaned chimps. Here one has the opportunity to meet with Poco, who spent six years of his life imprisoned in a small birdcage suspended from a roof, a garage. Now Poco is a handsome, contented chimp, able to explore his habitat.

Located in typical savannah grasslands interrupted by the whistling thorn shrubs and Acacia trees, Sweetwaters is truly an oasis. It offers guests the indulgence of a swimming pool, some of the finest tented accommodation in Kenya and a personalized service and attention. Due to its private status night game drives are a definite must for guests also guided bush walks and camel riding across its plains.

Accommodation is provided in 30 luxuriously appointed tents ( 8 doubles, 14 twins and 8 triples). Each tent has a thatched roof, an en suite bathroom and its own verandah with views over the water hole. Full room service is provided. There is a television in the lounge area, where guests can catch up on the latest news or watch films. A children’s channel is also available for children to watch cartoons and other kids’ films. Sweetwater’s Tented Camp prides itself on the quality of its cuisine offering a 5 – course “table d’hote” dining experience every night, and a selection of African, Asian, and international dishes.

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