If you think about places to visit in Kenya, make sure to include Tsavo West National park on your list. Tsavo West and Tsavo East National Parks together form one of the largest national parks in the world, covering 4% of Kenya's total land area. It’s about the same size as Jamaica, Michigan, Wales or Israel. The park is named after the Tsavo River that flows from west to east. For administrative purposes, it has been divided into Tsavo East and West with a division line going by the Nairobi to Mombasa road. Tsavo West is 9000 km2 in size, characterized by a rugged arid landscape. It ranges from 200-1000 metres in altitude. This park is marked with a number of rocky outcrops and volcanic hills. It’s lesser known due to its large size and a smaller concentration of wildlife compared with other parks. A great advantage of Tsavo West National Park is more than 2,000 kilometres of well-maintained roads. 47 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 1500918

Good signposting leads the visitor from one natural wonder to another.11 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 1500794I find Tsavo West a great combination of seeing wildlife and admiring stunning landscapes. Tsavo West National Park is operated by the Kenya Wildlife Service. So here’s what you can see in Tsavo West:

1) Beautiful scenery

Tsavo West is marked by a number of rocky outcrops and volcanic hills. Tsavo West National Park's landscape is dominated by giant baobabs reputed to live a thousand years. After the rain, Tsavo West National Park is showered with white and pink ipomea and acacia trees of white and pink blossom. The desert rose, somewhat like a miniature baobab, has pink flowers of striking beauty at almost any time of the year. On a clear day, the park offers lovely views of the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro.12 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 150079013 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 151001414 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 150098815 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 151000317 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 150091918 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 1500923

2) Shetani lava flow

When entering Tsavo West through Chyulu gate, one of the first things you see in the park is Shetani lava flow. Shetani means ‘devil’ in Kiswahili. When the locals first saw ‘fire’ erupting and ‘flowing’ on the ground some 500 years ago, they believed that it was the devil himself emerging from the earth. The Shetani black lava flow is 8 km long, 1.6 km wide and 5 meters deep. The sight is quite special and spectacular.21 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 150078221 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 1500784

3) Chaimu volcanic crater and lava field

Notice how the road color changes from red to black as you get closer to Chaimu. Chaimu crater, or “the devil's crater” in Kamba tribe language, is a tall rising hill clad in the bright black colour of the lava stones. You can climb this recent volcano as there is a path leading to the top. Climbing the hill is not easy as it is not stable and can be slippery.25serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 150093426serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 150093927serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 150094128serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 150094429serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 1500945

4) Five sister’s hills

One more volcanic feature of Tsavo West is ‘Five Sisters,’ the five almost identical cone-shaped hills located in one area and resembling one another. The scenery is stunning – a low ridge of black lava outcrop, long luscious grass and conical hills that make the Five Sisters.30 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 1510174

5) Mzima springs

Mzima Springs are replenished with two hundred and twenty million litres of crystal-clear water every day. It comes from the underground streams flowing from the nearby Chyulu Hills. Mzima in Swahili means ‘Life’. It attracts rich wildlife including elephants, hippos, crocodiles, gazelles, zebras and giraffes wandering around the banks through the thick acacias and raffia palms together with a large number of monkeys and birds. Mzima is also the main source of Mombasa's city water supply. There are well-marked nature trails, an observation platform and an underwater glass tank. You can take a walk guided by a ranger there.31 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 151011231 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 151012632 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 151016834 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 151016635 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 151012936 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 151015937 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 1510155

6) Animal viewing

Tsavo West offers magnificent game viewing. Thick vegetation makes it more difficult compared to more open parks, for example, the Masai Mara, but with some patience, visitors can see some of the big five along with a wide range of antelope species, hippos, and spectacular birdlife. The species I saw for the first time just in Tsavo after visiting Masai Mara and Amboseli were large African Eland antelopes, a family of the dick-dicks, the smallest antelopes in Africa and funny warthogs. Giraffes on the Tsavo hilly background looked especially attractive.40 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 150093340serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 151009941serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 151010142 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 150080143 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 150098545 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 150099346 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 150079953serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 151018154serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 1510193

7) Serena Kilaguni lodge

If there is just one reason to go to Tsavo West, it’s Serena Kilaguni lodge. Kilaguni was the first lodge inside Tsavo West National Park, opened by Britain's Duke of Gloucester in 1962. It is located at the centre of the park and has an excellent game viewing in all directions. The lodge and its waterhole have an almost permanent population of ground squirrels, warthogs, hyraxes, mongooses and other birds. The traditionally decorated dining room overlooks the Lodge's waterhole where herds of elephants, buffaloes and graceful antelopes collect to drink while guests enjoy dishes of ethnic cuisine, internationally-themed dishes, and traditional safari favourites. 60serena kilaguni thesanetravel.com 150083160 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 150080362 serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 150086363 serena kilaguni thesanetravel.com 1500866It seemed like a corner of paradise to me. I guess there are not so many places where you get a phone call from reception in the evening saying: "We were thinking you might want to see a leopard. It's currently at the waterhole. Be quick!" And I was running and managed to see it. It was just too dark for taking pictures.

Practical information

Distance: Mtito Andei gate is located 240 km from Nairobi and 250km from Mombasa.
Other gates: Tsavo, Lake Jipe, Chyulu, Maktau, and Ziwani.
Getting there by air: There are several good airstrips for chartered aircraft at Chyulu, Mtito Andei, Tsavo, Jipe, Maktau, Kasigau and Ziwani gates.
Roads: The main access routes are through Chyulu Gate from Amboseli and Mtito Andei Gate from Nairobi.
The best time to visit: it is usually from May to October when the humidity and temperatures are relatively low. This time is also the tourist peak season in Tsavo and is ideal for game viewing. I visited the place in June and it was great.71serena tsavo west kenya thesanetravel.com 1510233

Like it? Pin it!If you think about places to visit in Kenya, make sure to include Tsavo West National park on your list. Tsavo West and Tsavo East together form one of the largest national parks in the world. It’s lesser known due to its large size and a smaller concentration of wildlife. I find Tsavo West a great combination of seeing wildlife and admiring stunning volcanic landscapes. So check yourself! #travel #travelAfrica #Kenyasafari #TsavoWest #KenyaNationalParks #travelblog #travelphotography

You may also enjoy 7 reasons to visit the Amboseli National Park.

What did you think? Have you been to Tsavo West National park? Or perhaps you’re thinking of visiting there in the near future? Either way, I’d love to hear from you so please add your comments below.

  • Published by Anita on July 07, 2018
  •  

    Author: Anita Sāne

    Anita 03 18

    About the author
    Anita is a part-time traveler, passionate photographer and a mature career woman from Latvia, 
    traveling mostly solo for more than 10 years. She is a skilled travel planner planning and executing her travels by herself. Anita wants to show you how to travel the world and open your mind to new experiences. Follow her also on InstagramPinterestTwitter and Bloglovin.

     

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    What an incredible trip! I just had a friend who just came back from a safari in South Africa.. so jealous! i would love to just take photos of widlife all day! The scenery is stunning ! I've always wanted to go just need to make it a priority !
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    Wow.. Stunning photographs and such a great travel idea! Makes me wanna go to Kenya.
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    Great photos. Missed Tsavo when I was in Kenya.
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    LOL when the reception desk calls you and is like GO LOOK OUTSIDE AND SEE THE LEOPARD!! Amazing. Absolutely amazing lol.
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    These pictures are absolutely stunning! I visited Kenya two years ago, and this makes me want to go back!
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    This looks like it was an amazing trip! The photos are beautiful
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    I know the animals are amazing but oh my goodness! How orange is the soil in this part of the world? I heard if they're in the orange or reddish shade, they're super fertile. Amazing!
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    I love the look of those bright orange/yellow roads! I realize they must be a muddy nightmare after rain, but they look amaaazing in your photos!
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    I can't believe how big the park is compared to those other countries/states! Thanks for sharing. I especially liked reading about the springs, the word for "life" is such a powerful name for them.
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    The Chaimu volcanic crater looks amazing. Really everything. Can't wait for my next visit here.

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